The admission of each applicant is decided by the Department as a whole and rests upon his/her academic record (especially economics and mathematics courses), GRE test scores, recommendations of scholars and instructors, and other pertinent information including a match between the research interests of the applicant and the faculty. To apply for admission, applicants are required to upload unofficial transcripts of all previous college and university study to their online application. Failure to upload unofficial transcripts will result in an inability to complete and submit the online application. In addition, we require at least two letters of recommendation. These recommendation letters should come from individuals who can comment on your scholarly skills. All applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination. Admitted students nearly always have very high quantitative GRE scores. Foreign applicants, who have not earned a degree in a university where English is the sole language of instruction, must take the TOEFL to satisfy the department that they are fluent in English. The department requires the TOEFL with a minimum score of 100 (internet based), 600 (paper based) or 250 (computer based), or IELTS with a bandscore of 7 in place of the TOEFL.
Students should have a knowledge of economic theory and statistics and a strong background in mathematics including differential and integral calculus and linear algebra. Almost all of our students enter with at least two semesters of calculus and linear algebra. In admissions decisions, we like applicants to have taken other mathematics courses as well, including more advanced calculus, differential equations, probability, and real analysis. We especially welcome applications from under-represented minorities, as diversity is important in our graduate program.
Preparation for the Dissertation. The program’s first year is comprised of two semesters each of courses in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and mathematical methods, and one-semester courses in statistics and econometrics. Second-year students take courses in specific fields within economics. If necessary, students may take relevant courses in other departments such as Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Political Science, Public Health, Sociology, and Anthropology. Second-year students also begin their exposure to original research through research mentorships with faculty. A research paper is submitted near the end of the second year. Third-year students complete any remaining course work and prepare a dissertation proposal.
Comprehensive Exam. This exam is administered by the department and consists of two written examinations designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of both microeconomics and macroeconomics. The written examinations are taken prior to the start of the second year.
Dissertation. The dissertation is an original investigation worthy of publication, prepared under the supervision of three members of the faculty. A dissertation proposal is due near the end of the third year. Though it is feasible to finish the program in four years, students typically complete the Ph.D. in five or six years. The final requirement is a Graduate Board Oral Examination on the dissertation. The committee that administers the examination includes faculty from outside the department.
Requirements for the M.A. Degree
The department does not admit students from outside Johns Hopkins University who intend to work only for an M.A. However, it does offer this degree as an intermediate step toward the Ph.D. or as a final degree to some of those who do not complete their doctoral work.
Beyond the general university requirements, the department requires for the master’s degree either two years of satisfactory graduate course work or one year of satisfactory graduate course work and an acceptable master’s essay.