Graduate Admission Guidelines

The criteria below were developed based on our experiences with successful applicants. Applicants are not automatically disqualified if they fall short in one or two areas. Likewise, applicants are not guaranteed admission even if they meet all of the criteria. Refer to our statistics on class profiles for general information regarding previous incoming class averages.  


M.S. program

  • ISU undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher are not required to submit GRE scores. For all other applicants, we recommend:
    • GRE-Verbal>152*
    • GRE-Quantitative>155
    • Analytical Writing 4.0*
  • High grades in math/statistics courses including calculus, linear algebra, and statistics are preferred.
  • High grades in undergraduate economics courses including principles of economics, intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics, and econometrics.

Note: The Department of Economics does not track the average GPA of incoming students. Rather than focus purely on an applicant's overall GPA, the admissions committee will review grades/marks of  coursework to ensure standards are met prior to admission.

International Applicants

In addition to the guidelines listed above, successful international applicants generally meet the following requirements:

  • TOEFL > 88 (Internet-based) OR IELTS: 6.5

*We understand that some international applicants may struggle in the verbal and analytical writing portions of the GRE. The admissions committee will take into consideration if English is not an applicant's first language.


Ph.D. program

  • Master's Degree in economics, mathematics or statistics from a well-known university preferred
  • GRE-Verbal > 152*
  • GRE-Quantitative > 155
  • Analytical Writing 4.0*
  • High grades in math/statistics courses including calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, and statistics with a calculus emphasis. Preferred: One or more math courses emphasizing logic and proofs (e.g. real analysis, abstract algebra, topology, etc.)
  • High grades in economics courses including economic principles, intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics, econometrics, and economics field courses (e.g. international economics, public finance, industrial organization, etc.)

The Department of Economics does not track average GPA of incoming students. Rather than focus purely on an applicant's overall GPA, the admissions committee will review grades/marks of quantitative coursework to ensure standards are met prior to admission. 

International Applicants

In addition to the requirements listed above, successful international applicants generally meet the following requirements:

  • TOEFL > 88 (Internet-based) OR IELTS: 6.5

*We understand that some international applicants may struggle in the verbal and analytical writing portions of the GRE. The admissions committee will take into consideration if English is not an applicant's first language.