Applying and Visiting

Admissions Criteria

Factors Considered by AFRE’s Graduate Admission Committee

  • Record of previous academic training and performance (course program, grades, length of time to degree, and date of degree).
  • Required minimum training in economics, mathematics, and statistics.  An explanation stating how your comparable or equivalent completed courses fulfill our minimum requirements (especially for International applicants) is very helpful to the Graduate Admission Committee when they are reviewing applications.
    • M.S. applicants: introductory economics, intermediate microeconomics, introductory statistics, and integral calculus.
    • Ph.D. applicants: masters-level courses in mathematics for economists, and microeconomics, and econometrics.  If you are applying directly from an undergraduate study, applicants should have a degree in economics with multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and real analysis.
  • Successful M.S. applicants will generally have at least a 3.0-grade point average (on a 4.0 = best scale) in their undergraduate program.  Successful Ph.D. applicants will generally have at least a 3.5 GPA in their M.S. program. Strong grades are expected in economics, math, and statistics.
  • Personal statement outlining your life journey and any obstacles you overcame.
  • Academic statement describing the areas of study that most interest you and what you plan to do in your career.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • TOEFL and GRE scores.
    • The Michigan State University Graduate School requires the TOEFL exam for students matriculating from other countries where English is not the most common native language.  Minimum TOEFL score for regular admission is 80 with no sub-score below 19 (22 for the writing section). See the Graduate School web page for more information.
    • We require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).  GRE scores for admitted applicants vary considerably, depending on English language skills and time of preparation.   Ph.D. students should have a GRE-Q above the 70th percentile.  We do not accept GMAT.
    • Five-Year ranges of mean GRE scores of admitted AFRE students by component (2011-15)
      • Verbal - 72-82 percentile  - 156-158 raw score
      • Quantitative - 70-82 percentile  - 155-160 raw score
      • Analytical  - 52-55 percentile  -   4.0 raw score
  • Financial aid is highly competitive.  Applicants who meet the minimum criteria above are therefore evaluated in terms of their academic promise and the fit of their skills and educational objectives with available fellowships and job openings for research and teaching assistants. 

How To Apply

The Graduate School website includes an application brochure with information for all applicants; for international applicants on topics including English language proficiency; financial proof; and visas; and a related website with additional information for international applicants.

Applicants must apply online. The application forms and procedures are different for domestic and international applicants. 

Please apply by November 30 to have your application considered for the following Fall semester. Applications received after November 30 will be considered but funding offers may begin to occur in December so the earlier an application is completed the better the chances of getting a funding offer.

  • Admission requests for the Spring semester are strongly discouraged because required core courses are offered only in Fall term.
  • Under special circumstances, students will be considered for Spring or Summer admission if they apply at least 90 days in advance.



Prospective M.S. and Ph.D. students are welcome to visit the department at any time.

  • We recommend that you contact us two weeks in advance so that we may assist you in putting together a schedule of meetings.
  • The department periodically offers a one-day conference to help prospective M.S. and Ph.D. students find out more about our programs and see student projects. Those are the best days to visit!

For questions, contact:

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