Requirements

For more information on Applying, please visit the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website or the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences online application.

Completed Application

Your application is complete when the following materials are submitted:

  • On-line Application
  • Official ETS GRE General Test Score Report
  • Scanned and uploaded copy of transcripts - please ensure they are legible.
    • An official hard copy of transcripts will be required if admitted to the program. 
  • Three Letters of Recommendation: 
    • We only accept online submission of letters - paper letters will not be accepted.
  • Scanned and uploaded CV (.pdf preferred)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing Sample (at least 15 pages in length)
  • Scanned and uploaded certificates, or any other documents you deem pertinent (.pdf preferred)
  • Application Fee
  • Official ETS TOEFL (if required) Test Score Report. More about TOEFL.
    • The TOEFL requirement is based on the Undergraduate Record. IELTS is not accepted in lieu of the TOEFL.

Tips for Filling out the Application

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are a critical component to a successful application. In general, when reviewing letters of recommendation, the admissions committee is looking for information on how applicants are likely to perform in graduate school and on their research potential. For that reason, it is typically better to get references from economists; specifically economists who are respected in the profession for research as opposed to employers in non-research jobs.

It is extremely helpful when recommenders provide comparative information on the applicant and the people they have recommended in the past. Specifically, if your recommender has written letters for students in the past, please ask them to rank you again those students, both in terms of research skills and mathematical preparation. This is clearly a more detailed letter for a recommender to write, but is vital to the application process.

Academic Information

Make sure and list previous college/university information in the proper order:

  • Degree granting Undergrad Institution
  • Degree granting Graduate Institution
  • Other Institution

Employment Experience

Be sure to include the job title under the job description.

Abstract of Courses

Complete this form carefully to help ensure full consideration of your application. List in order, all math courses taken, all statistic courses taken, all economic courses taken, lastly list all other relevant courses. Be sure to list the institution and grade received.

Applying to more than one Program

Harvard has several PhD programs that may also be of interest to students considering applying to the PhD program in economics. These include Business Economics, Political Economy and Government, Public Policy, and Health Policy.  Many students in these programs have considerable overlap in their coursework with courses offered to PhD students in economics.   Many also have dissertation committees that include faculty members of the economics department. Please refer to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for applicable program deadlines.  (Deadlines have already passed for some programs this year but not for others.)

We encourage those with interest in any of those programs to also apply to those programs. The economics department will make admissions decisions independently, so application to or admission to other programs will not adversely affect admissions decisions within the Economics department. If you opt to apply, please note, the Graduate School will not accept more than three applications from any individual during the course of his or her academic career.