FAQ for Prospective MS Students

Preparing for Admission

Do I need a college degree to apply to the program?

All Applicants to GW graduate programs must hold a 4-year U.S. Bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent.

I earned a 3-year Bachelor's degree from India or Pakistan. Am I eligible to apply?

Individuals with a 3 year degree from a college or university in India that has a current NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) accreditation status of A or better are eligible to apply to a CCAS master degree program. Otherwise, applicants from India must hold a 4-year (Honors) Bachelor's degree, or a 3-year degree plus a postgraduate diploma or at least one year of Master's study.

Do I need to have a degree in economics?

A majority of our students enter the Applied MS program with a degree in economics or in business. Many students, however, have studied other subjects and a large number of students have been working for a few years. Thus, a degree in economics is not essential to be considered for admission. However, students must have the minimum math and economics coursework described below.

What are the minimum math requirements for entering students?

Students must have earned at least a B- in a college-level calculus course. AP courses do not qualify as a pre-requisite. Applicants who don’t meet this prerequisite may meet it by taking a course prior to starting the program.

What are the minimum economics requirements for entering students?

Students must have earned at least a B in both introductory microeconomics and in introductory macroeconomics. Students who did not meet these requirements in their introductory courses but did earn at least a B in intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics will be considered to have met the prerequisites. Applicants who don’t meet this requirement may take courses prior to starting the program.

Do you have minimum GRE scores?

We do not require the GRE. Applicants may submit their GRE scores if they wish.

Do you have a minimum GPA?

Yes. To be considered for admission to the Applied Economics MS program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.

Do I need to submit letters of recommendation?

Yes, you should submit two letters of recommendation. These letters can be from a professor or an employer and they should address your ability to succeed in the applied economics master’s program. Letters of recommendation should be submitted through the application or mailed to the CCAS Graduate Admissions Office, not to the Economics department.

Do I need to submit a personal statement and a resume?

Yes, you should submit a 500-1000 word essay explaining why you wish to earn a master’s degree in Applied Economics. You should also submit your resume. You submit both of these items as part of the application process.

Are there any exceptions to the application requirements?

Yes. Candidates who do not meet the application requirements are invited to contact the program Director. Admissions decisions are based on an applicant’s overall package. For example, grades from college are less important for a student with significant work experience while students who are starting the graduate program immediately after college are not expected to have as strong a resume as students who have been out of college for a few years.

Will you assess my likelihood of being admitted or of receiving financial support if I send you detailed information about myself?

Admissions decisions are made by a committee that meets in the spring to review applications. As for financial support, we really cannot make valid assessments without looking at the complete pool of applicants. Therefore, we cannot provide early, or pre-application, assessments of an applicant’s likelihood of being admitted or of receiving financial support.

Do you admit part-time students?

Yes. Many students continue to work while studying for the Applied MS. We offer most courses in the evening to accommodate such students. U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services rules do not allow international students to study on a part-time basis unless they already have special (non- F-1) visas.

What are the admissions procedures for the PhD in Applied Economics?

GW does not offer a PhD in Applied Economics at this time. The Master's degree in Applied Economics is a terminal degree. If you would like to study for a PhD in Economics please see the PhD Prospective student FAQ.

Application Procedures

How do I apply to the program?

You submit your application online through the Graduate Application Center. You can find information on materials that you must submit when applying to the Applied MS program in Economics in the Program Finder.

Please note that you should submit all application materials, including transcripts, directly to Columbian College Graduate Admissions and not to the Department of Economics.

Who can I ask questions about the application process?

For any questions about the application process or about the status of your application, please contact Columbian College Graduate Admissions by email at [email protected] or by phone at +1 202-994-6210.

You can view the status of your application online through the application.

You should address questions about waiving the TOEFL or the application fee to Columbian College Graduate Admissions by email at [email protected] or by phone at +1 202-994-6210.

What is the deadline for submitting an application?

You should submit your application by February 1 to be considered for financial awards and by April 1 for regular admission in the fall semester. You should submit your application by October 1 for admission in the spring semester.

Do you admit students in the fall and spring?

We admit students for both the fall and the spring semester. Because students follow their own course of study, there is no difference between starting in the fall or in the spring semester.

How can I be considered for financial support (funding)?

We automatically consider all applicants for financial support so you do not need to provide a separate application. Funding decisions are merit based. We unfortunately cannot offer funding to all qualified applicants.

For additional information, see the section on “Costs and Financial Support” further below.

I am an international student, what are your English language requirements and what credentials do I need to submit?

Please see the University’s webpage for international applicants.

The minimum English language test scores are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual band score below 5.0;
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based
  • PTE Academic of 68

Characteristics of the Program

How many students are in your Applied MS program and where do they come from?

We have approximately 20 to 25 new students each semester. Students come from around the world and about half of each class completed their undergraduate studies outside of the United States

Do most students start the program immediately after graduating from college?

About half of the students start the program immediately after college. However, many students have a decade or more of work experience. GW graduates may take advantage of the Grad2Grad program and obtain a tuition discount if they start within a certain time period of earning their degree.

How would you describe a typical graduate student in Applied Economics?

We try to create a study body with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. While the characteristics of each class vary, the group tends to be split evenly between men and women, about 40 percent of students are U.S. citizens, and about 25 to 30 percent have significant work experience. International students come from all around the world.

How would you describe a typical class?

Professors tend to lecture, review homework, and create discussions in class. Many instructors assign students to study groups so students can benefit from each other’s experiences.

What fields of specialization does your program offer?

We offer a range of fields, including: behavioral economics, development economics, international trade, international finance, urban and regional economics, labor economics, industrial organization, monetary theory and policy, public finance, and environmental and natural resource economics.

Faculty are listed in the Department Directory

How is your program structured?

For sample timelines please see the MS Curriculum Details page.

For program requirements please see the Applied Economics MS bulletin page.

How long do students take to complete the Applied MS?

Students generally take 3 to 4 semesters to complete the program.

What is a full course load?

A full course load is three 3-credit courses per semester, for a total of 9 credit hours per semester. Students may enroll for one class if they are in their final semester of studies.

Can students take courses in other departments at the University?

Students can take relevant courses in other departments at GW with the approval of our Department and of the instructor teaching the course. Many students take courses on Cost-Benefit Analysis in the Trachtenberg School, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the Geography Department; others have taken courses in the Statistics and Mathematics Departments.

Can students take courses at other universities in the Washington, DC area?

GW is part of a consortium of universities in the Washington, DC area, which makes it straightforward to take courses at nearby universities. With permission of our Department and of the instructor teaching the course, up to 9 credit hours can be taken at other universities. A number of our students have taken courses at Georgetown and the University of Maryland.

What positions do your graduates get?

We have a strong placement record. Our students obtain positions in academic institutions, international organizations, research institutes, government agencies, and the private sector.

The Career Services Office maintains an active, formal placement service.

Costs and Financial Support

What is the cost of attending your program

Information on tuition, fees, and living expenses can be found on the Student Accounts website. The Economics Department is in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, and the standard graduate tuition credit charge applies. The Applied MS program requires completing 30 credit hours.

What sort of financial support (funding) is available for Applied MS students?

We automatically consider all applicants for financial support, so you do not need to submit a separate application.

Applied Economics MS students are not eligible for graduate teaching assistantships, which are designated for PhD students.

How many of your Applied MS students receive financial support from the University?

A majority of our students receive at least some financial support from the University.

Does the economics department offer other funding for applied economics students?

Yes, we do. Our applied economics students can be hired by professors to help with their research or with grading in their courses. We also have some funding for students who work at unpaid internships.

Contacts and Additional Information

May I visit campus to find out more details about GW?

The University provides both in person and virtual tours as well as information sessions. For information on these tours and sessions please see the Graduate Admissions Visit and Events site.

The Director of the Applied Economics program also hosts virtual information sessions throughout the year. Information for upcoming sessions can be found through our Events Calendar.

Where can I find more information about living in Washington, DC?

The Department’s graduate student association, SAGE, offers a host of useful information on its website about living in DC, and can be emailed at [email protected]

Where and how can I get more information?

Any questions about the application process or about the status of your application should be directed to Columbian College Graduate Admissions by email at [email protected] or by phone at +1 202-994-6210. The status of your application can be viewed online through the Graduate Application.

If, after reviewing this FAQ and the information on the Department’s website, you have questions about the MS program, please send an email to [email protected].