Information for Applicants to the Ph.D. Program

Admission Requirements and Procedures

All applicants to the Ph.D. program in economics must have a bachelor's degree and a minimum overall grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0. An undergraduate concentration in economics is not a prerequisite for admission. The recommended academic background includes:

(i) course work in economics: intermediate micro and macro, econometrics, game theory, and mathematical economics.

(ii) course work in mathematics through multivariate calculus, linear algebra, introductory probability/statistics, real analysis, and optimization.

Admission decisions are determined competitively and do not employ fixed rules.

Application requirements, and factors affecting admission decisions, include:
course work and grades in economics and mathematics/statistics (in particular for the courses listed above), overall undergraduate GPA, aptitude scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and three letters of reference from persons familiar with the applicant's academic performance.

While applicants are not expected to have taken all the courses listed above, at a very minimum, a very good performance in the full calculus sequence is required. At least two more math courses and two economics courses from the above list are usually needed.

Applicants are advised to take the GRE early, as there normally is a month delay from completion of the exam until receipt of the scores.

Applications for admission and financial support will be considered at any time up to the January 15 deadline. Please include an updated transcript with the latest fall semester grades when available.

If you apply online, the $60 application fee ($100 for international students) is payable by MasterCard or Visa. Once you have applied to the university, you will receive your HawkID and password from the Office of Admissions.

Applicants whose native language is not English must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and arrange for submission of the official scores to the university.

The tabs above and the links to the left give you more information about the graduate program, our department, and Iowa City. In particular, the program components link in the left menu gives you an overview of how our Ph.D. program is structured.

Financial Aid

Every applicant who is admitted to our program is guaranteed financial aid for at least five years subject to satisfactory academic progress. Financial support comes in the form of a tuition scholarship, which covers all the tuition expenses, and a stipend in the form of teaching or research assistantship. Additionally, almost all students receive a fellowship for a semester or two during the dissertation phase.

Highly qualified applicants are nominated by the department for consideration for university fellowships, which are awarded on a competitive basis.

Living in Iowa City

Iowa City will surprise you. A vibrant college town situated on rolling hills along the Iowa River, it offers the advantages of a larger city within the safe and friendly atmosphere of a smaller town.

That's just one of the reasons why Iowa City is on so many "Best Cities" rankings. Newcomers are surprised at the city's commitment to causes—recycling and the environment, equal rights for all citizens, and local sourcing. Iowa City's downtown, where everything's a short walk away, is intertwined with campus, seamlessly joining the city and university communities.

With about 65,000 residents, Iowa City is similar in size to college towns like Palo Alto, Calif., or Princeton, N.J. Large cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and St. Louis are all just a few hours' drive or a short flight away.

We think you'll find that Iowa City is more cosmopolitan than you would have ever guessed. Review some or the city's rankings, or read the New York Times article "36 Hours in Iowa City."

Arts & Culture


Home to the world-famous Iowa Writers' Workshop, Iowa City welcomes a steady stream of visiting fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and poets throughout the year. These authors often read from their work on campus or at the renowned Prairie Lights Bookstore. The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk features the works of 49 writers with ties to Iowa. The Iowa City Public Library offers extensive resources for the public. Iowa City was also designated one of three global Cities of Literature in 2008 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


Movie buffs will love the Bijou Theater, which specializes in independent, classic, and cult/camp films. If you prefer the latest blockbuster, you can find it at one of several local movie theaters. The renovated Englert Theater offers both live theater and classic movie screenings.

Iowa City offers many opportunities for viewing live theater events. Riverside Theatre presents shows throughout the year, hosts a summer Shakespeare Festival at an outdoor Shakespearean stage, and offers acting lessons. Iowa City Community Theater offers the public the opportunity to try out their acting skills. Dreamwell Theatre is a nonprofit volunteer theater company dedicated to exploration in the theater arts.


Iowa City has a lively music scene that features both local performers and national acts. During the summer, the city sponsors the outdoor Friday Night Concert Series, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, and the Iowa Arts Festival—all free and open to the public. Plus, the Saturday Night Free Movie Series is held on the Pentacrest every Saturday night June through August. In addition, the university attracts first-rate performances including Broadway plays and internationally renowned music and dance productions at Hancher Auditorium.

For Foodies

Restaurants in Iowa City range from classic bar-and-grill fare to upscale and inventive organic cuisine. Large grocery stores and natural-food co-ops offer everything you would expect to find in a major city, from fresh produce to prepared gourmet foods. The renowned Lincoln Café, a favorite of traveling "foodies," is located nearby in charming Mount Vernon. And, yes, you can get great sushi (and coffee) in Iowa City! For food on the go, you may want to try a pedestrian mall food vendor for a variety ranging from grilled cheese and gyros to hot dogs.

Dining opportunities include many authentic international venues. As a start, you may like to try:

Mexican at La Reyna
Indian vegetarian at Masala
Sushi at Oyama
German at the nearby Amana Colonies restaurants


With its rolling hills and its location along the Iowa River, Iowa City offers the outdoor enthusiast everything from waterskiing to rock climbing. In warmer weather, you can canoe or row on the river, boat on Lake Macbride or the Coralville Reservoir, hike in Palisades Kepler State Park, go mountain biking at Sugar Bottom or road biking through farm country, golf at a nearby course, swim at the outdoor City Park pool, go rock climbing and bouldering nearby, and take a trail run or a leisurely stroll at Hickory Hill Park. For winter sports fans, the locals recommend cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. These activities can be found at numerous locations in the area. For those more inclined to stay indoors, the university, local recreation centers, and area gyms offer workout equipment, aerobics classes, spinning, yoga, pools, and more. For information on intramural sports, please visit the Intramurals page.

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