FAQs for Prospective Graduate Students

If you have a question not listed below, please email the department.

Master's Programs

  • The two elective courses that are part of the program will allow you to focus on a particular area of study.

  • Students need to apply to both programs and be accepted into both to be in the joint program. Courses in each program would be taken simultaneously. Learn more about the joint MS in Environmental Economics and Urban Planning.

  • We only admit students in the fall semester. Our program consists of three core two-semester sequence classes, and it is not possible to take the second course in the sequence before taking the first course in the sequence, which is offered in the fall semester.

  • Students generally complete the program within one year.

  • Yes, as long as you design your curriculum to complete the program within two years. However, classes are offered in the mornings and afternoons so it would be difficult for students to work during the day and attend classes.

  • Yes, but core courses are not offered in the summer. You may, however, take courses that count towards your degree or that would satisfy an elective.

  • It varies, but on average, 200 students apply each year. We typically admit between 20-25 students to the master's program each year.

  • Research assistant positions are available on an irregular basis depending on when professors obtain grant funds with which they can hire research assistants.

  • The materials required for admission are: scanned copies of all college transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, your resumé, a personal statement describing your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate study, your financial aid application (if you are applying for financial aid), a $85 non-refundable application fee, GRE scores, and TOEFL scores (if you are an international student).

  • All applications are processed through the Graduate School. Visit Graduate Admissions to apply.

  • Supporting application materials may be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at gradadmissions@tufts.edu.

  • You may verify the status of your application by signing in to the SLATE online application. It will inform you if your application is complete or if you have outstanding documents.

  • Applications that arrive after the deadline are reviewed on an individual basis. We can offer tuition scholarships to late applicants; however, we cannot offer teaching assistantships or grader positions. Applications from international students cannot be accepted after the deadline, as there is insufficient time to handle visa processing.

  • Admission decisions are made in March.

  • Application materials are kept on file for one year. Students who would like to reapply (after being denied admission or after being accepted but not enrolling) should submit a new application form and fee, along with a letter indicating that they would like their file reactivated for review. Students who were accepted into the M.S. Program in Economics but did not enroll are not guaranteed admission if they decide to reapply.

  • Yes, and you can transfer a maximum of two graduate-level courses from another institution to count for credit towards the Tufts program. You should indicate on your admission application which courses you would like to transfer so they can be reviewed during the admissions process.

  • Our tuition scholarships are offered based on a combination of an applicant's merit and need. In order to be considered for a scholarship, an applicant must complete the financial aid application, which is part of the admissions packet.

  • We will accept letters of recommendation from an applicant's professors as well as his or her employer(s).

  • There are no course work requirements per se, but we are most concerned with an applicant's mathematics background. Applicants who did not major in economics can be successful in the graduate program, but we do expect applicants to have taken a few economics courses.

  • We require all incoming students to have completed an undergraduate course in multivariate calculus. Such a course covers topics on partial differentiation, total derivatives, integration, and integration over more than one variable. Occasionally we will admit a student without this background on the condition that they complete a multivariate calculus class prior to matriculation. In addition, it is desirable, but not necessary, to have taken classes that expose students to proofs and to the use of vectors and matrices. Linear algebra, differential equations, real analysis, and other higher level classes can be useful in the program but are not necessary for admission.

  • Of the students accepted for Fall 2020 admission, the average GPA is 3.28; the average Verbal GRE score is 155; and the average Quantitative GRE score is 167.

  • No, you must submit GRE scores in order for your application to be considered. Other standardized test scores will not be accepted as substitutes. The only exception is made for Tufts undergraduates, who are not required to submit GRE scores.

  • You should have your GRE scores sent immediately. We will not review applications without the GRE scores, unless the applicants are Tufts undergraduates.

  • It is only necessary to send your scores to the Graduate School; the ETS code for Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is 3901.

  • The university requires your official TOEFL score. This requirement cannot be waived.

  • The Department of Economics normally accepts a score of 600 or higher on the TOEFL's paper version (or 250 or higher on the TOEFL computer version, or a total minimum score of 90 on the TOEFL iBT with a score of 21 or above in any section strongly recommended).

  • Yes, we will accept the IELTS test in lieu of the TSE test for those foreign applicants who are interested in being considered for teaching assistantships.

  • The TOEFL requirement can be waived if an applicant satisfies one or more of the following conditions:

    • Citizenship of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Guyana, an Anglophone country of Africa, or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean;
    • A college or university degree earned in the United States or in one of the countries listed above prior to submission of the application;
    • Current enrollment as a full-time student in a degree-granting program in the United States or at an English-speaking school in one of the countries listed above. The student must have successfully completed two consecutive full time academic years of college or university work prior to the date of anticipated enrollment at Tufts University.

Joint PhD in Economics and Public Policy Program

  • Yes. You can register online with ETS, using the Tufts University code number 3901. Student copies or photocopies of GRE scores are not accepted, so please remember to designate Tufts as one of your score recipients. To ensure timely score reporting, we suggest that you take the GRE at least one month prior to the application deadline.

  • Since graduate admissions are both limited and competitive, it is to your advantage to apply early and to ensure that all required materials are received before the deadline. Late applications will be reviewed only when openings remain after all on-time applications have been considered.

  • Yes, with some exemptions.

    Applicants who are not native speakers of English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). You can register for the TOEFL online, using the Tufts University code number 3901. Please note: student copies or photocopies of TOEFL scores are not accepted.

    If an applicant satisfies one or more of the following conditions, s/he is not required to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score, unless stated otherwise by the department:

    1. Citizenship of Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Guyana, an Anglophone country of Africa, or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean.
    2. A college or university degree earned in the United States or in one of the countries listed above prior to submission of this application
    3. Current enrollment as a full-time student in a degree-granting program in the United States or at an English-speaking school in one of the countries listed above. The student must have successfully completed two consecutive full-time academic years of college or university work prior to the date of anticipated enrollment at Tufts University.
  • Yes. the admissions committee requires official academic transcripts from all accredited universities and/or colleges attended.

    If the transcript is in a language other than English, please provide an official translation. If you are offered admission, you will be required to request that official hard copy transcripts from all of your degree granting institutions be sent directly to Tufts.

  • Yes. Please upload the document in the appropriate section of the online application. Single authored writing samples are preferred; the goal of the writing sample is to show your ability to communicate effectively.

  • The strongest letters of recommendation are written by people who have earned a PhD in economics and are thus familiar with the rigors of the doctoral program. The letter writer should provide their judgment of your ability to be successful in a doctoral program. Employers who satisfy these criteria can often provide unique and valuable references.

  • You can check the status of application materials via the application portal. All materials (with the exception of test scores) should be submitted electronically; there is no need to submit a duplicate hard copy.

  • Thanks to generous support from the Neubauer Family Foundation, all of our doctoral students receive five years of funding contingent on satisfactory performance. The funding covers tuition, a stipend, health insurance and research support. In some cases, graduate level coursework in economics may be accepted for credit enabling students to complete the program in a shorter period.

  • The application fee is $85. It is payable through the online application by credit card or e-check (drawn on a US bank). The application fee is not refundable. Your credit card or e-check statement is your receipt. No action can be taken on your application until this fee has been received.

    The application fee is waived for: current Tufts undergraduate and graduate students; students in Tufts certificate programs applying to a degree program; Project 1000 applicants; AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers and alumni; City Year and Teach For America Corp members and alumni; GEM fellows; Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), Leadership Alliance, and McNair Scholars. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers an application fee waiver for current seniors at NESCAC schools: Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, Connecticut College, Hamilton College, Middlebury College, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College.

    If the application fee will present a financial hardship, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions.

  • Campus visits are only scheduled once students have been admitted to the program.

  • Yes. We hold our preview day in mid to late March by invitation only.

  • In some cases, graduate level coursework in economics may be accepted for credit enabling students to complete the program in a shorter period.

    If students have completed a Tufts MS in Economics, they are exempt from the six core methods courses. If students have taken courses that fulfill their field course requirements as a part of either the Fletcher MALD program or the Tufts MS in Economics program, they may be exempt from part or all of the field course requirement.

    If students have completed an external MA/MS, they may request exemption from each of the core methods courses. The program Director will grant to deny such exemptions on a case-by-case basis after consulting with the relevant Tufts faculty and following review of the student's prior course work.

  • Students may defer admission for a maximum of one year upon approval by the admissions committee.

  • Please limit your personal statement/statement of purpose to a maximum of five pages (2,500 words.)

  • Application materials will be kept for one year. You can reactivate your application within that time by submitting a new application form and fee online. Re-application must occur by the deadline dates provided for new applicants. We encourage students to update their application with new materials when appropriate.

  • Admission to the program is overseen by a joint admissions committee, which is made up of Economics and Fletcher faculty, and chaired by a member of the program's steering committee.

  • Not at this time.