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Admission FAQ

Economics PhD Admissions FAQ

I am graduating in December.  Is admission for the spring semester possible?

No.  Due to the structure of the first-year doctoral courses in economics, admission for the spring semester is not possible.

My undergraduate studies were in a country besides the US, UK, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand and were entirely in English.  Do I need to take the TOEFL or an equivalent exam?

Yes.  This is a University requirement.  WVU's current minimum score requirements on tests of English Language Proficiency can be found on WVU's Graduate Admissions webpage.

My undergraduate studies were in a country besides the US, UK, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand but I have a Masters degree from the US/UK/Australia/Canada/New Zealand.  Do I need to take the TOEFL or an equivalent exam?

Yes.  WVU's policy on English Language Proficiency applies to anyone who does not have a bachelor's degree from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand.

I am interested in working with a particular faculty member.  Should I contact them to inquire about funding?

No.  All of our incoming students are funded through departmental graduate assistantships or university fellowships.  Individual faculty, in general, do not fund graduate students.  In the rare cases where they do so, it will be an advanced graduate student.

I am interested in working with a particular faculty member.  Should I mention this in my statement of purpose?

Yes.  You should mention your desire to work with a particular faculty member in your statement of purpose and on the application form.  This information is helpful to the admissions committee.  Should you be offered funding, the opportunity to interact with faculty and current graduate students in your desired field will be provided in order to help you with your decision.

I have funding from an external source.  Should I let the admissions committee know?

Yes.  As we only admit students that we are sure can be funded for at least four years, external funding is important to disclose.

Do I need to apply for graduate assistantships/fellowships?

No.  The department evaluates admissions and funding simultaneously as we do not admit students without a guaranteed funding source.  The department submits qualified students for consideration for University fellowships such as the Du  Bois and Swiger fellowships.

I am interested in transferring from another U.S. PhD program in Economics.  Will I need to start over at the beginning?

We welcome transfer applicants.  However, due to differences across doctoral programs in first-year courses, we generally require individuals to take core micro and macro theory courses at West Virginia University.  Other courses may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

My undergraduate G.P.A. was under 2.75 but I have a very high masters GPA.  Am I eligible for admission?

No.  It is a university requirement that the minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA for admission to graduate studies at WVU is 2.75.  A higher graduate GPA cannot supersede this requirement.

Do I need a masters degree to apply?

No.  We admit a large number of students directly from their undergraduate studies.

Can you tell me the qualifications (GPA, GRE scores, etc.) of admitted students in recent years?

No.  As we employ a holistic approach to admissions to round out each incoming class, a presentation of averages without access to an entire application would provide a misleading indication of the likelihood of one's admission to our program.  In addition, admission in any given year depends on a wide variety of factors that are outside the control of students such as the overall depth of the pool, student field interest, available funding, etc.  We encourage students to talk to their advisors/mentors/faculty for help in developing an acceptable list of schools to apply to.

My GRE quantitative score is [number].  Is that high enough for admission?

Our admission process is holistic, meaning we look at all aspects of the application.  Other than the requirement of a combined 300 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE, we do not have a hard GRE cutoff.  While higher scores are better, ceteris paribus, we are primarily concerned with students being able to succeed in our program and beyond and believe that a focus on the entire application is appropriate in this regard.

I am not familiar with what should be in a statement of purpose.  Can I send you my statement of purpose to review before I submit?

No.  Not all students will ask for assistance and it would be unfair to provide assistance only to those that ask.  The statement of purpose is the student's opportunity to tell the department more about themselves that cannot be determined elsewhere in the application.  It is also a good place to explain to the admissions committee why they want to earn a PhD in Economics and why at West Virginia University.

What is the size of your incoming cohort?

We typically make 20 funded offers with the goal of having an entering class of ten to twelve students.

When should I apply?

Typically, the graduate admissions portal system opens in September.  We generally start evaluating candidates in late January.  For full consideration for funding, you should strive to have your full application (including letters of recommendation) completed before February 1st.

It is after February 1st and I have yet to apply.  Should I?

Yes.  In any given year, three or four students are admitted from the waitlist later in the spring semester.  Late applications will be slotted into the wait list based on their qualifications, but not on the application submission date.

I am a domestic underrepresented minority.  Do you have waivers or special fellowships?

Yes.  We waive University application fees.  Please contact Dr. Joshua Hall for more information.  The University offers the W.E.B Du Bois Fellowship to African-American students who are citizens or permanent residents.  This fellowship can be supplemented with departmental funds.

I only have the calculus sequence.  Should I still apply?

The calculus sequence is the minimum necessary mathematics sequence to be considered by the department.  In general, we recommend that students have a least two other proof-based math courses beyond calculus such as differential equations, linear algebra, or real analysis.  If you plan on taking one or more of those courses in the spring or summer, please put that in your statement of purpose.  Admissions conditional on successfully completing those courses may be possible.