Doctoral Program Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions from students interested in our doctoral program. Questions are grouped by topic with links to answers below.


Do you have spring admission?

Applicants are admitted exclusively for the fall semester when the initial core courses of the doctoral program are offered.

Do you offer a terminal Master’s degree?

No. We do not admit students into a terminal Master’s track. Ph.D. students can earn a Master’s degree incidental to the Ph.D.

Is there a form for letters of recommendation?

No. The format of letters of recommendation is left to the discretion of the author.

Can I apply to the doctoral program directly from my undergraduate degree?

Yes. When evaluating applicants the Graduate Admissions Committee looks at the whole picture:

  • Past academic performance and previous coursework
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Your statement of purpose
  • A strong mathematics background including three semesters of calculus and a course in linear algebra. A course in mathematical analysis is recommended, as well.

Strong applicants have performed well in all of those areas. We admit students from many backgrounds including recent college graduates, applicants with advanced degrees, and applicants from the workforce.

What is the duration of the doctoral program?

The doctoral program is designed to take 4 to 5 years to complete. The typical student has finished coursework and begun dissertation work during the third year of the program.

How many applications do you usually receive? How many applicants do you admit?

We receive about 250 applications per year, of which we admit roughly 20-30.

What percentage of your students are international students?

It varies from year to year, but generally between 40% and 60% of our students in residence are international students.

Do you admit Chinese students?

Yes. Nationality is not a factor in our admission decisions, just the strength of the overall application.


What is the cost of the program?

Doctoral Program financial information can be found here. For additional information on tuition costs please reference the Bursar's Office Web page.

What funding options are available?

Assistantship stipends are awarded to applicants on a competitive basis. Stipend amounts average $15,632 per year and waive the tuition and the registration fees and surcharges.

A limited number of tuition waivers are available to students who do not receive assistantships.

What percentage of entering, new students receives departmental funding?

Typically 70–80 percent of our new, first-year students receive some level of financial support. Plus we fund all continuing students making good progress up through the 5th year of the program.

What are the requirements to apply for an assistantship?

There are no specific requirements; however, assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis.

Can the application fee be waived under special circumstances?

The University of Arizona does not grant waivers of the $75 application fee. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

Doctoral Program Requirements

What are the math prerequisites for the program?

Due to the rigorous nature of our program, we expect applicants to have a strong background in math. Below are the courses that make-up a sound preparation for our program. For ease of reference, courses are listed by number and name as they appear in the UA schedule of classes.

MATH 124 – Calculus I with Apps
MATH 129 – Calculus II
MATH 215 – Intro to Linear Algebra
MATH 223 – Vector Calculus

Is there are a minimum GRE score requirement?

There is not a minimum score requirement for the GRE, although we do expect applicants to perform well. A competitive score on the quantitative section usually falls above the 80th percentile. That said, we assess applicants in the context of their overall qualifications and within the context of the applicant pool as a whole. The Economics Department code for the GRE is 1801.

Is the GRE Economics Subject test required?

No. We don’t require the Economics subject test.

What were the mean GRE scores of last year’s admitted students?

The mean GRE scores of our last incoming class were Verbal: 150 and Quant: 163.  The Education Testing Service (ETS) recently changed its scaling for GRE scores. Current ETS concordance tables for verbal and quantitative are at

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

A minimum grade-point average of 3.00, based on a 4.00 scale, is required for admission to the Graduate College. Calculation of the grade-point average is based on the final portion of an applicant's undergraduate record, the graduate record, or a combination of both. The Department can ask the Graduate College to make an exception in cases where all other aspects of the application are very strong.

I’ve taken the GRE, how long will my scores be accepted?

Educational Testing Service (ETS) will report scores for up to 5 years. Because that’s as long as we are able to receive official score reports, your GRE scores are accepted for 5 years.

Is there a minimum TOEFL score requirement?

The minimum TOEFL score required by the Graduate College of the University of Arizona is 550 (paper version), 213 (computer-based test) or 79 (iBT test). The University of Arizona Institution code for the TOEFL is 4832.

I’ve taken the TOEFL exam, how long will my scores be accepted?

The official UA policy on TOEFL scores is that the exam date must be within 2 calendar years of the term of enrollment.

Can IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores be used to fulfill the TOEFL requirement?

IELTS scores can be used to satisfy the university's English Proficiency requirement in lieu of TOEFL scores. Applicants must submit a minimum IELTS (International English Language Testing System) composite score of 7 (no subject area below a 6).

Is the TSE (Test of Spoken English) Required?

No, you do not need to submit a TSE score for admission. However, students on assistantship are not allowed to teach until they have met an English speaking proficiency requirement. That requirement can be satisfied with a score of 50 or higher on the TSE, a sub-score of 26 or higher on the speaking portion of the iBT TOEFL, or a score of 7 or higher on the T-BEST exam. The T-BEST exam is administered at the University of Arizona.


If you don’t find the answer to your question, please e-mail