Graduate Admissions and Aid

Below please find information about the admissions processes and aid for master's programs and tracks in the Department of Economics. 

MS in Economics

Students with good credentials in any discipline may apply to the program, but successful applicants will demonstrate ability in economics and/or mathematics. Please review the FAQs for Prospective Graduate Students for more information on math requirements for admission to the program. Please see the Graduate Admissions website for complete application requirements and deadlines.

Applications submitted after these dates will be considered on an individual basis. However, it is strongly recommended that applications for financial aid be submitted by February 15. The department does not admit students at midyear.

MS in Economics (Research-based)

Students can apply to continue on to the Research-based MS in Economics program in their second semester and will be evaluated for admission based on their academic performance in program thus far. Specifically, in their first year, MS students will have to meet one of the following conditions:

    • Receive a GPA of 3.5 or better in the three fall semester courses, EC201, EC203, and EC205 with no grade lower than a B;
    • be enrolled in and successfully complete (B- or better) the remaining three core courses and,
    • obtain a GPA of 3.2 or better in the six core courses.
  1. The Graduate Admission Committee will consider waivers to the first condition based on the following:
    • Receive a final grade of B- or better in all six core courses (EC201-EC206) and,
    • obtain a GPA of 3.2 or better in the six core courses.
  2. Students who are exempt from taking one or more core courses must meet Condition 1 or 2 for the remaining core courses.

Waivers of these requirements may be granted by the graduate committee in exceptional circumstances.

In addition, a student will have to fill out an application with the Department of Economics, providing, among other information, the following:

  1. The provisionary title of the master's thesis.
  2. The name of a Department of Economics faculty member who has agreed to serve as the primary advisor for the master's thesis.
  3. A 1-2 page description of the candidate's proposed thesis topic (including bibliography).

This application can be submitted any time between March 1 and April 15. Students who meet Condition 1a can be (tentatively) admitted into the research-based MS in Economics program before the end of the spring semester. Students who do not meet Condition 1a will only be admitted into the research-based MS in Economics program after spring semester grades have been assigned, and no later than May 18.

Note that these are necessary but not sufficient conditions for admission into the research-based MS in Economics program. The Graduate Admissions Committee's decision will also depend on its assessment of the applicant's promise to be successful in the program.

In addition, to be admitted into the research-based MS in Economics program, a student must fill out an application, providing, among other information:

  1. the provisionary title of the research-based MS in Economics thesis project, and
  2. the name and signature of the Department of Economics faculty member who will be the primary advisor for the master's thesis.

Applications can be submitted any time after March 1.

For a full description of the Graduate School's Policies and Procedures with regard to registration, tuition and fees, academic policies, degree requirements, master's thesis requirements, and more, please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook.

Fifth-Year Master's Degree Program: BS/MS in Economics

The Fifth-Year Master's Degree Program: BS/MS in Economics gives Tufts undergraduates the option to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics from Tufts, usually within five-years. Learn more about the application process and deadlines on the Graduate Admissions website.

Make sure to indicate on the application that you are applying for the Fifth-Year Master's Degree Program. Fifth-Year Master's Program applicants do not have to take the GREs, and only two letters of reference are required.

Students normally apply to the program during the spring semester of the junior year. In exceptional cases, applications will be accepted as late as the senior year. Students interested in the program should contact their advisors early in their academic career, to facilitate program planning. Students should also discuss their plans to apply to the program with the Director of the Graduate Program in Economics. A student may elect to withdraw from the program at any time, by filing the appropriate petition.

The Fifth-Year Master's Degree Program: BS/MS in Economics program is analytically challenging. Students will need to have a strong quantitative background, prior to taking the master's-level courses. For this reason, we require that students major in Quantitative Economics. An important criterion for acceptance into the Fifth-Year BS/MS in Economics program is strong performances in Math 34 and 70, and Economics 16, 18, and 107.

Joint MS in Environmental Economics and Urban Planning

On the application, applicants should choose "Urban/Environmental Policy & Planning and Economics" as the program of study. Please see the Graduate Admissions website for application requirements and deadlines.

An applicant will be accepted into the joint program only if he/she is accepted by both the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and the Department of Economics. Applicants who are accepted into only one program can choose to enroll in the graduate degree program in that department. Tuition for the joint degree is the same as tuition for the MA in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program. Students accepted into the joint degree program are eligible for financial assistance, subject to availability and need.

Tufts graduate students currently enrolled in the MS program in Economics or the MA program in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning may apply for admission to the joint degree program after discussing this plan with their advisor, and submitting a letter to their current program. The letter should include a statement of the student's academic objectives. The application fee is waived for current Tufts graduate students, and the application process is streamlined. Current students do not need to submit credentials already on file, including transcripts and GRE scores. An updated personal statement addressing interest in the joint degree program should be submitted. The financial aid section of the application should be completed for students requesting a scholarship for the joint degree program, even if a scholarship was previously awarded with admission to the MS or MA program.

Tuition and Aid

Most students receive partial financial aid to cover their tuition expense for the MS in Economics degree. The two-year research-based MS in Economics degree carries an additional cost in the second year. Financial aid is available for the second year, as well.

Financial aid is limited, and is awarded by the department on the basis of the student's qualifications and of his or her potential for continued study.

The primary form of financial aid is a tuition scholarship, which consists of a partial waiver of tuition for the year in which it is granted. Tuition waivers are awarded on a need and/or merit basis.

In addition to tuition waivers, approximately 10-14 students per semester are employed as teaching assistants. Teaching assistantships are usually awarded as 2/3 positions, paying approximately $4,500 per semester. Students are chosen based on their knowledge of economics and pedagogical skills.

Students not employed as teaching assistants may also seek employment as a grader, tutor, or research assistant. These positions are available each semester contingent upon departmental needs.

Find more information about Tuition and Aid on the Graduate Admissions website. All applicants should submit their requests for financial aid by February 15. Students who are employed may also wish to explore the possibility of employer reimbursement for tuition expenses.

Generally, Fifth-Year Master's Degree Program students must pay both the full undergraduate and graduate tuitions. However, courses taken as an undergraduate that count for graduate credit but are not needed for the undergraduate degree may be used to reduce the graduate tuition expense. It is highly recommended that students apply for financial aid when filling out the application for the MS in Economics degree program, to determine whether they may be eligible for tuition scholarships.