Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have advice for how I can best prepare my application and improve my odds of admission?
Please see the American Economic Association's website, Preparing for graduate school: What you need to do to get in, as well as Stanford’s website, Guide on Getting Into Grad School.

Can I tour the department or meet with faculty prior to admission?
No, due to the volume of applicants to our program, we do not schedule tours, interviews or meetings with prospective applicants.  There will be a scheduled flyout visit day for students who are admitted to our program.

When can I expect to be notified about an admission decision?
The exact timeline for admission notifications varies from year to year, but usually happens in mid-to-late February.  Stanford abides by the April 15 Resolution, and we ask you to inform us of your decision by 12pm (noon) Pacific Time on 15 April.

Is an accepted student allowed to defer?
The department will consider proposals for deferral of admission (with guaranteed funding) on a case-by-case basis.

Can I apply to receive a Master's degree in Economics?
No, we do not offer a terminal MA degree in Economics. You can only apply to the PhD program and then add the MA as an additional degree once enrolled in the PhD program.

May I transfer credits from another Master's or PhD program I have attended?
No, we do not transfer previous graduate work toward Stanford degree requirements.  However, students with previous graduate work may be able to count some of their previous course credits toward the university residency (unit) requirement, thus reducing the time required for the PhD degree.

Does my foreign degree qualify me for the PhD program?
Stanford's assessment (at the university level, not at the department level) of a foreign degree is based on the characteristics of your national educational system, the type of institution you attended and the level of studies completed. A guide to the minimum requirements can be found on the International Applicants page.

What is the last date I can take the GRE or TOEFL?
Applicants should complete all required exams no later than November in order for score reports to be received by our application deadline.  The department will consider unofficial score reports while waiting for official score reports to arrive from ETS.

I have taken the GRE more than once. Which score will be considered for my application?
We will consider your highest score on each section of the exam as long as the exam was taken no more than five years prior to our application deadline.

Will you accept GMAT scores instead of GRE for my application?
No, we only accept the GRE. There are no substitutions.

Will you accept the IELTS score instead of the TOEFL score?
No, we only accept the TOEFL.

Do you have a minimum GRE score?
No.  While GRE scores tend to be quite strong among admitted students, we carefully review candidates' full application files and individually assess each applicant.

Do you require a writing sample?
We will accept writing samples, but we do not require a writing sample.  

Is there a department code for ETS to use in order to send my test scores?
No, an individual department code is not needed.  Please submit scores to the Stanford University score code, 4704.

Can letters of recommendation and official transcripts arrive after the deadline?
Yes, as long as your application and scanned (unofficial) transcripts are submitted by the application deadline, letters of recommendation and official transcripts submitted by university registrars can arrive later (but no later than the first week in January).

I submitted my application with uploaded transcripts and asked ETS to send my test scores.  Why does my application status still say "incomplete"?
We receive 700-800 applications each year, and it is time consuming to carefully process application materials, such as hard-copy transcripts.  Please do not contact the department to check the status of your application.  Your application will be updated as soon as possible, and if you are missing any required documents, you will be contacted directly.

I confirmed that ETS sent my test scores to Stanford, so why are my test scores are still listed as not having been received on my application status page?
If you requested that ETS send your scores prior to submission of your application, it can take up to one week from the time you submit your graduate application for scores to be electronically matched.  If there is any discrepancy with the name used for your exams and the name on your application, then scores might not match correctly.  Please notify the department if there is a discrepancy between the name used for ETS score reporting and the name on your graduate school application as we may have to match your scores to your application manually.