FAQs

Have a question about our graduate program? Please view the list of frequently asked questions below. If you still have questions, please contact us.

  1. Is financial aid available?
    The department offers a limited number of assistantships to outstanding applicants.  All assistantships are awarded to Ph.D. students.  MA students are not eligible for financial support.  An assistantship provides tuition remission, health insurance and a stipend.  In 2012-13, the stipend is approximately $16,500.  Assistants must provide up to 20 hours of teaching or research assistance.  Non-native English speakers might have to pass an examination in spoken English. 
  2. What are the application deadlines?
    Students may apply until April 30, but preference for admission and financial aid is given to students who apply by January 15. 
  3. What is the application process?

    Students must fill out the on-line application (available at http://

    They must also submit the following:

    Transcripts: Applicants should arrange for each university they attended (whether or not it was a degree program) to send an official transcript. This transcript must be sent directly by the university or sent by the student in a sealed envelope that she or he has received from the university.

    Letters of Reference: Applicants should obtain three letters of recommendation from instructors or other individuals who are familiar with their potential for work at the graduate level.

    Statement of Goals: The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500 words in length.  It should include a clear statement of one’s interest in Temple University’s Master’s or Doctoral Program in Economics and how the program will help the student achieve her career goals.

    Standardized Tests: The GRE is required.  Temple University requires a combined GRE score of at least 1100.  Students with GRE scores below 1200 will have difficulty being admitted to the Economics Department.  The Department pays particular attention to the quantitative section of the exam.

    TOEFL: All students who were not raised in an English-speaking country or who did not receive an undergraduate or graduate degree in an English-speaking institution must submit a TOEFL score.  Temple requires a score of at least 80 on the TOEFL.

    Students wishing to submit their materials directly should send them to Ms Linda Wyatt, the Department’s Graduate Coordinator:

    Ms Linda Wyatt
    Graduate Coordinator
    Department of Economics
    Temple University
    Ritter Hall Annex 822
    1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19122  USA
    e-mail: ldwyatt@temple.edu 

  4. Can I apply for admission for the Spring term?
    The spring admissions program is intended for students who have already taken classes as non-matriculated students in the fall.  Most of the spring classes have prerequisites from the fall term. 
  5. What is a “non-matriculated student”?
    Students may take up to 3 classes without formally enrolling at Temple. This is a good option for students who decide they want to pursue graduate study after the application deadline has passed.  All courses non-matriculated students take transfer to their records once they formally enroll. 
  6. What are the standards for admission?
    Applicants must demonstrate that they have the skills to succeed in graduate study.  We look for students who do well in upper-level economics courses (especially Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, and Econometrics) and in mathematics (especially multivariate calculus and linear algebra).  We expect students to have strong GRE scores, particularly in the quantitative section, where they should score no lower than the mid-150s. 
  7. Where do students come from?
    Temple students come from all over the world.  This year’s entering class had six students from China eight from the US, and one student each from Bangladesh, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Zimbabwe. 
  8. I want to get a Ph.D. Should I get a Masters degree first?
    You may, but you do not have to do so.  Students may enter directly into the Ph.D. program and pick up a Masters along the way.  This has two big advantages.  First, it ensures that you will take the right classes immediately.  Second, only Ph.D. students are eligible for assistantships. 
  9. What must one do to complete the MA and Ph.D. programs?

    An MA is designed to produce practitioners who understand complex economic concepts and can apply them to the real world.  A Ph.D. is designed to produce scholars who can use complex economic concepts to create knowledge by performing research.  These differences are reflected in three sets of differences in the requirements of the two programs.

    MA students must take six core courses and four elective courses.  Ph.D. students must take eight core courses and six elective courses.  Ph.D. students must also pass four comprehensive examinations and write and defend a dissertation. 

  10. What are the core courses?

    The six core courses for the MA Program are:

    • Microeconomic Analysis
    • Microeconomic Theory I
    • Macroeconomic Analysis
    • Macroeconomic Theory I
    • Mathematics for Economists
    • Econometrics I (Applied Econometrics)

    They then take four elective courses from either more advanced theory courses or from applied “fields”.

    The Ph.D. requires all the above courses plus Macroeconomic Theory II and Econometrics II (Econometric Theory).   MA students may take these courses as electives.  In addition to the 8-course core, Ph.D. students must take six elective courses.  These courses may be in advanced theory or in an applied field. 

  11. What are the comprehensive examinations?

    In addition to passing their courses, Ph.D. students must demonstrate mastery of four subject areas by passing four comprehensive exams.  All Ph.D. students must take the two preliminary exams in Microeconomic Theory and Macroeconomic Theory.  Full-time students must take the Micreconomics exam at the end of their first year.  Part-time students must take it within one year of completing the relevant coursework.   Full-time students must take the Macroeconomics exam at the end of their second year or within one year of completing the relevant coursework

    Preliminary exams are given every June.  Students who fail the exams must take a re-test in August.  Students who fail an exam twice will not be allowed to continue in the Ph.D. Program.

    Ph.D. students must also pass two field exams.  These exams are based on coursework in the elective courses.  Again, students have two chances to pass their field exams.  Most full-time students should complete their exams by the summer after their third year in the program.  Full-time students must pass all their exams by the end of their fourth year to maintain adequate academic progress.  Part-time students must complete their exams within one year of completing the relevant coursework.

    In contrast, the MA Program is strictly course-based.  MA students do not have to take comprehensive examinations.  Students receive their MA after successfully completing 10 courses, including the six core courses.

  12. What is the dissertation?
     All doctoral students must complete and defend a dissertation.  A dissertation makes an original contribution to the knowledge of economics.  Doctoral students should begin thinking about their dissertation from the time they enter the program, but formal work on it does not begin until after completing one’s comprehensive examinations.  To make adequate progress on one’s dissertation, a student should meet the following milestones:

    • Within one year of completing exams the student should have:
      • Constituted a dissertation committee consisting of three faculty members. Created an outline of his/her dissertation that clearly states the question(s) to be answered and sketches out an approach to answering the question(s).  Most dissertations now consist of three separate essays, though they do not have to do so.  The remaining segments assume a 3-essay dissertation
    • The chair of the committee is typically the faculty member most deeply involved in advising the student.  The chair must be a member of the economics department and must be designated “graduate faculty”.
      • A student may include a member from outside the department or Temple University, subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate School.
    • Within two years of completing exams, the student should have largely completed one essay (the “job market paper”) and made a good start at the remaining two.  At this point, the student is ready to submit his/her proposal to the Graduate Affairs Committee for approval.
    • Within three years of completing exams, the student should be ready to defend his/her dissertation.  
  13. What constitutes full-time study?
     For students who have yet to complete their coursework, full-time study means three 3-credit courses.  Students with an assistantship may be considered full-time if they take only two courses, but this will put them behind in their studies and endanger their academic progress.

    Once Ph.D. students have completed their required coursework, they need to take only the one-credit dissertation seminar to maintain full-time status. 

  14. When and where are classes offered?
    To accommodate part-time students with “day jobs” and full-time students with teaching responsibilities, classes are offered once a week, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm.  Unless otherwise noted, all classes are offered on the Main Campus.