Admission to the Program

Candidates for the Haslam’s Ph.D. in economics apply directly through the Graduate School. There is no separate department application process.

Complete applications include a GRE score. We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. We encourage all applicants with a talent for quantitative reasoning, an interest in engaged learning opportunities and a preference for a collegial environment to apply.

The TOEFL or IELTS is required for non-native English speakers, except students who have earned a degree from a U.S. institution within two years prior to enrollment.

The application deadline is February 1.

Evaluation of Applications

We evaluate each application individually and comprehensively. Therefore, all information submitted with the application — including three recommendation letters, completed coursework, research interests, research experience, GRE scores, writing skills and programming ability — carry significant weight in admission decisions.

Economics Ph.D. Admission Summary

  • Application Deadline
    • February 1
  • Undergraduate Degree
    • All accepted, economics preferred
  • Master’s Degree
    • Not required
  • References
    • Three letters of recommendation
  • Acceptance rate
    • 30-35%
  • Mean GPA
    • 3.6 undergraduate, 3.8 graduate
  • Mean GRE–Quantitative
    • 80th percentile
  • Mean GRE–Verbal
    • 68th percentile
  • English Language Proficiency
    • A total score of 80 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT)
    • A 6.5 overall band score on the IELTS
  • The program generally enrolls six to eight students per year


Recommended Coursework

  • Intermediate Microeconomic Theory (Econ 311 or equivalent)
  • Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory (Econ 313 or equivalent)
  • Introduction to Econometrics (Econ 381 or equivalent)
  • Introduction to Statistics (Stat 201 or equivalent)
  • Calculus I and II (Math 141 and 142 or equivalent)
  • Matrix Algebra I (Math 251 or equivalent)

Additional coursework in economics, statistics and mathematics is, of course, desirable.

New students are required to take a three-credit course in mathematical economics (ECON 581), which begins approximately three weeks before the first semester.

Oral Proficiency Exam

All students (including U.S. citizens and permanent residents) whose native language is not English are required to take the OPIc (Oral Proficiency Interview – computer). Admission to the program does not depend upon the results of the OPIc. Test results will be used in advising, determining coursework and making work assignments.

Financial Aid

Applicants indicate as part of the admissions application whether they wish to be considered for funding. There is no separate application form.

We award approximately six to eight assistantships each year on a competitive basis. Assistantships pay approximately $23,500 per academic year. Assistantships also include a tuition waiver, health insurance and mandatory fees (i.e., library fee, technology fee, etc.). Financial support is typically offered for a duration of five years, conditional on good progress and academic standing.

Additional fellowships may be available for highly qualified applicants. Financial support for these fellowships is provided by generous donors and the Haslam College of Business.

Several additional financial awards are offered on a competitive basis during the program. These include:

  • J. Fred and Wilma Holly Award for Excellence in Research – $5,000
  • J. Fred and Wilma Holly Award for Best First-Year Graduate Student – $5,000
  • J. Fred and Wilma Holly Award for Published Research – $5,000
  • Charles B. Garrison Award for Excellence in Teaching – $1,000
  • Charles B. Garrison Award for Best Graduate Assistant – $1,000
  • J. Fred and Wilma Holly Award for Excellence in Presented Research – $500

Graduate Fellowships and Awards

The Graduate School provides fellowship opportunities to attract doctoral students and to support UT’s educational mission and diversity-related goals. Available fellowships include Tennessee Fellowships for Graduate Excellence and Carolyn R. Hodges Graduate Fellowships.

To guarantee consideration for these fellowships, submit your application as soon as possible. For a full list of available fellowships, visit the Graduate School’s fellowships and awards website.