The Harvard Economics Department typically receives over 600 applications and admits between 40-44 students each year. Although the number of well-qualified candidates greatly exceeds the number of offers, we invite all who would like to study Economics at Harvard to apply for admission.

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Student Qualifications

An understanding of economics: At a minimum, we expect some economics courses beyond the principles level. However, the ultimate objective of the Harvard Economics PhD program is to produce successful economic researchers, so demonstrating the ability to do research is an important criterion. This could be accomplished by either having done research previously or via experience as a research assistant. In the latter instance, a letter from the supervisor indicating the ability to do research is critical.

Mathematical preparation: The minimum level of mathematical preparation to be considered includes calculus and linear algebra and demonstration of proficiency with mathematics. Increasingly, successful applicants will have taken more mathematics. In particular, most successful applicants now take real analysis, although that is not a requirement. We do not require a minimum GRE score, however among students admitted in the last few years, scores ranged in the 97th percentile.

Application Information

Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will likely open in late September, 2018. Applications, including reference letters and official GRE scores must be submitted by December 1, 2018 5:00 PM EST in order to be considered. Additional information on Admissions Requirements page. Please also visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) to learn more about applying and submitting the on-line application.

Applicants whose native language is not English, and who have not received a bachelor's degree from an English language institution, must meet minimum score requirements on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Please note, we do not accept the IELTS.

Financial Aid

Economic students receive full tuition and stipend support while they are enrolled and making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. The division strongly encourages applicants to apply for support from extramural agencies. Students who receive competitively funded extramural fellowships, which will be used toward our student support upon matriculating to our programs, may be eligible to receive an educational allowance from the division. If you have external funding, please be sure to state that in your application. If you don’t have funding when you apply but get it later, please make sure to communicate this to the department.

Campus Visits

The department arranges for campus visits for all admitted students and we cover a portion the cost associated with these visits. We do not encourage visits prior to being admitted. Since the department receives an overwhelming amount of applications, it’s simply more efficient to arrange meetings with faculty after students are accepted rather than before.

Joint Programs

The Ph.D. in Business Economics is administered by a standing committee composed of members of the Department of Economics and the Graduate School of Business Administration. The Business Economics program description is available at the GSAS website, and additional information can be found at the Harvard Business School website

The Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government is administered by a standing committee composed of members of the Department of Economics and the JFK School of Government. The PEG program description is available at the GSAS website, and additional information can be found at the
Kennedy School of Government website. 

Contact Us

Applicants with admissions questions should call 617-496-6100 or email Applicants with financial aid questions should call 617-495-5396 or email  Please be sure to read through the Admissions Requirements as you will find answers to most of your questions.


Outside Harvard Hall Jina Lee and Insup Lee, Harvard Economics '13, talk with Harvard President Drew Faust before joining the procession to the Phi Beta Kappa Literary Exercises in Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer