Info for Prospective Applicants

We offer four distinct Master’s Programs:

Students interested in joining any of our programs must meet requirements set by the Duke Graduate School, as well as the Department of Economics. Specific requirements and application deadlines vary by program.

You can learn more about our programs and the application process through the following information and links. Some of these lead you directly to the Graduate School website where the most accurate, up-to-date information is available.

*Note: MQFE is not accepting applications for 2024. 

You can learn more about each of our Master's Programs by visiting their individual webpages (links provided above and on the right of this page). Here we provide a quick overview that highlights some of the differences and similarities of the programs.

Candidates may be finishing a B.A./B.S., M.A./M.S., or have some professional experience. All our programs can be completed in 3 or 4 semesters. You should expect coursework to be highly rigorous and technical. An undergraduate degree in economics is not required for any of our programs; however, we do expect an understanding of basic economic principles. The only requirement is that entering students have a full calculus sequence (either calculus II or calculus III, depending on their undergraduate institution’s structure) prior to enrolling. International applicants should indicate corresponding courses in mathematics or mathematical economics.

M.A. Economics (MAE): Prospective students should be prepared to enter a quantitatively rigorous program. Upon graduation, they pursue doctoral studies or industry professions in finance, accounting, consulting, tech, and others.

M.A. Analytical Political Economy (MAPE): Prospective students will find an undergraduate background in political science and/or economics to be helpful. Some graduates pursue doctoral studies. Many others start or resume a career, typically in government, public policy, or consulting.  

M.S. Economics & Computation (MSEC): Prospective students will find an undergraduate background in computer science, applied math, engineering, statistics and/or economics to be helpful. Upon graduation, they pursue doctoral studies or professions in tech, data science, and others.

M.S. Quantitative Financial Economics (MQFE): Prospective students should hold a strong quantitative background. Students entering this program are expected to have taken courses in multivariable calculus, linear algebra (including differential equations) and probability and statistics. A background in programming (ideally Matlab or R) is preferable. This program is not accepting applications for 2023.

The MAE, MSEC, and MQFE degree programs classify as STEM (CIP Code 45.0603: Econometrics and Quantitative Economics). Students in these degree programs can apply for a 24-month STEM extension of F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Application deadlines vary for our various Master's programs. To see upcoming deadlines, visit the Graduate School Application Deadlines page.

NOTE: MQFE is not accepting applications for 2024.

Application Instructions 

Applicants interested in pursuing a graduate degree in economics must apply through the Duke University Graduate School. Please refer to The Graduate School's website for information about application procedures and requirements. For general admissions questions or questions about the university requirements, you may also contact the Duke Graduate School at grad-admissions@duke.edu.

Department Requirements

We strongly recommend that applicants submit an original writing sample demonstrating academic and research capabilities. Applicants are also required to complete a supplemental questionnaire. This will be included as part of the required application materials available from the Graduate School Admissions website. If you would like to preview the questions that will be required in the application, you may download the appropriate questionnaire(s) below:

Download MAE Questionnaire (docx - 25.31 KB)
Download MSEC Questionnaire (docx - 99.53 KB)
MAE Applicants Only

Applicants to the MAE program will be asked to upload a short video in the application portal not to exceed two minutes. Directions and a prompt for the video will be shared with you as you complete the application steps. The video is one additional resource to help us know who you are as a candidate and what makes your interests and experience unique or valuable.

GRE Test

The Economics Department requires Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from applicants. Only the GRE general test is required, not the subject test. Ask Educational Testing Service to send an official copy of the scores to The Graduate School. Use institution code 5156; you do not need a department code. Please refer to The Graduate School for more information about score requirements and how to submit your score(s).

English Language Proficiency Test Scores 

If your first language is not English, you must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the academic modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The scores will be a decisive factor during the application review process. Please refer to The Graduate School for more information about score requirements and how to submit your score(s).

Application Fees

The application fee is $95.

Application Fee Waivers

U.S. citizens and permanent residents: The Graduate School offers an application fee waiver option to support prospective students from various populations, including those who may be experiencing economic stresses. Please refer to the website for more information.

International applicants: If you are applying from one of the countries classified as low income or low-middle income by the World Bank for FY24 (ref. The World Bank), you may be eligible for an application fee waiver from the Department of Economics.

 

If you are eligible and interested in applying, please complete the survey(s) listed below according to the program(s) for which you are applying:

MAE Application Fee Waiver Request Survey (expires 1/8/2024)

MAPE Application Fee Waiver Request Survey (expires 1/23/2024)

MSEC Application Fee Waiver Request Survey (expires 1/26/2024)

Application fee waiver requests will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be notified by email when a decision has been made about your waiver request.

Application Status

After submitting your online application, you can check the status of your application materials via the Applicant Portal. You should log in to this system periodically to ensure that all required application materials have been received. Incomplete applications will either not be considered or will be rejected on the basis of incompleteness. 

Application Review Process

After you submit your online application, it will be made available to your department of interest within one to two business days. The actual in-depth review of your file is conducted by an admissions committee. All applications are reviewed with respect to openings in the department and the strength of other applicants. Attention is given to every aspect of an application, with an attempt made to evaluate past achievement as well as scholarly potential. Academic records, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and your statement of purpose are all taken into consideration. Admission to the Duke University Graduate School is a competitive process, and your chances of being admitted will differ from year to year depending on the strength of the applicant pool. Decisions about fall admission are generally made in February and March.

Funding

Aid offers are made on a rolling basis, as funds permit, beginning in late February. 

Decision Notification

All applicants are notified of admission decisions via e-mail (we do not mail paper copies of notifications). The notification e-mail will provide instructions for accessing the online decision letter.

If You Are Accepted

If you are offered admission, unless otherwise indicated, you must notify The Graduate School of your enrollment decision through the Applicant Portal system by April 15 or within 15 days of your receipt of the admission letter, whichever is later. If we do not hear back from you by then, we will assume that you have declined the offer of admission, and your application record will be withdrawn.

Deferral of Admission

Your admission offer is valid only for the term and program indicated in the admission letter. Requests for deferral are rarely approved by The Graduate School. Valid reasons for a deferral include serious health issues, visa issues beyond the student’s control, or military service.

For more information, please contact the Master's Programs Assistant

APPLY NOW

Our recent admitted classes of master's students are diverse groups spanning various educational backgrounds, workplace experiences, and countries of origin. 

The Graduate School also provides a year-by-year statistical summary our master's programs' past admissions and enrollment. Visit these links for more information on offers of admission and matriculation according to demographics:

The following statistics do not change significantly on a rolling time-series basis.

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Browse the frequently asked questions as compiled by the Graduate School

Access FAQ

If you're interested in learning more about getting your graduate degree with Duke Economics, join us for one of our upcoming virtual information sessions. Faculty and staff will be available to go over a short overview of programs and answer any questions you may have. To register for an information session, please choose one of the dates below to access the registration form.

 October 19, 2023, Thursday, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

November 1, 2023, Wednesday, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

November 17, 2023, Friday 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Duke Economics aims to provide an inclusive & welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds.

The department offers opportunities for admitted students to visit the department virtually in late March and early April. Admitted students will receive an invitation to these Virtual Visit Days following the offer of admission.

Campus Tours:

Stop by the welcome desk at The Graduate School to pick up maps and information about self-guided tours of Duke University's campus. 

Department Tours:

While we do not coordinate department tours for visiting applicants, you may arrange to attend a class on your own by contacting the instructor of the course directly. From the department’s Courses page, you can find courses offered in each semester using the Class Search tool on DukeHub

If you are interested in meeting with a particular professor while here, please contact the professor directly to inquire about their availability. Faculty contact information can be found on the department’s People page

Please note: Visiting the department prior to being admitted does not increase an applicant’s likelihood of admission.

If you cannot make it to Duke in person, check out the university’s virtual campus tour

Duke Economics is committed to helping students defray the cost of graduate study through tuition waivers based on need. We also seek to provide valuable learning opportunities to our master's students employed as research assistants, teaching assistants, graders, and research support staff.

We offer the following to eligible students:

Tuition Waivers 

(No work requirement.)

Awards are based on need, merit, and other criteria. Funds are limited. Information about application for awards will be sent following the admission offer. For more information, admitted applicants may contact:

MAE - Nelson Sa, MAE Director of Graduate Studies. 

MSEC – Charles Becker, MSEC Director of Graduate Studies

MAPE – Timur KuranMAPE Director of Graduate Studies

Student Employment Opportunities

Research Assistantships: These assistantships are intended to enhance research experiences and collaboration between master's students and Department of Economics faculty. Standard appointments are made on a per-semester basis (including summers) as a result of mutual agreement between individual faculty and students.

Teaching Assistantships: Master's students are hired as teaching assistants in the Economics Department for a variety of courses. In addition, master’s students are hired to provide instructional support as graders for Economics Department undergraduate core courses.

Other positions: These are positions outside of the department, such as:

  • Teaching or research assistantships in the Fuqua School of Business, Law School, Sanford School of Public Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment, and the Global Health Institute;
  • Computer and research support staff in Duke Libraries Center for Data Visualization Services;
  • Teaching assistants for other departments, such as Statistical Science and Computer Science.

Please see the Graduate School's information on financial aid for more possibilities.

The Department of Economics has successfully placed master's students into doctoral programs in economics and related fields, as well as full-time jobs in industry, research organizations, and governmental agencies. 

Placements from Duke Economics Masters Programs

The following tabs include information detailing specifically our our graduates went in the following categories:

Programs in Economics, except where noted otherwise.

MAE Graduates

Universities:

Boston University, Duke University (2), Duke University - Fuqua (Strategy), Duke University (Environmental Policy), North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, Penn State University (2), Penn State University (Human Development and Family Studies), Princeton University, University College London (Experimental Psychology), University of California - Irvine, University of California San Diego - Rady (Finance), University of Colorado Boulder, University of Hong Kong (Finance), University of Maryland, University of Miami, University of Minnesota (Public Affairs), University of Pennsylvania - Wharton (Quantitative Marketing), University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California (2), University of Texas - Austin, Virginia Tech (Agricultural and Applied Finance), Washington University in St. Louis (Finance)

 

MSEC Graduates

Universities:

Boston College, Columbia University (Computer Science), Duke University (Computer Science), Georgia Tech (Information Technology Management), University of Maryland (Agricultural and Resource Economics), University of Pennsylvania - Wharton (Applied Economics), University of Pennsylvania - Wharton (Health Care Management and Economics)

 

MAPE Graduates

Universities:

Washington University in St. Louis (Political Science), Yale University (Political Science)

Universities:

ANU (2), Arizona, Boston College (3), Boston U (6), Brandeis, Brown, Cambridge, Carnegie-Mellon (2), U Chicago (3), Colorado, Columbia (4), Cornell (5), Durham, Duke (50), Emory (3), Erlangen Nuremburg, Fordham, Geneva (2), GMU, Georgetown (4), GWU (4), Georgia State, Harvard (7), Hawaii (2), Hitotsubashi, Hong Kong (4), Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State (2), LBS (2), LSE (2), Maryland (4), Miami, Michigan (9), Michigan State (5), Minnesota (5), MIT, NC State, New School, Northwestern (4), Notre Dame, NYU (4), Ohio State, Oxford, Peking, Penn (4), Penn State (2), Pittsburgh, Princeton, Purdue (2), RAND Pardee, Rice (9), Rochester (4), Rutgers (2), Singapore Management, St. Andrews, Stanford (5), Stockholm, Texas (2), Texas A&M, Tulane, UBC (3), UC Berkeley (4), UC Davis (2), UC Irvine (2), UCL (3), UCLA (6), UCSB, UCSD (2), UNC (11), USC (9), Texas (4), Tilburg, Vanderbilt (3), Virginia (2), U of Washington (2), Wash U (2), Wisconsin (7), Yale (2)

Diversity of Programs:

Accounting, Agriculture and Resource Economics, Applied Economics, Biostatistics, Business Technologies, Computer Science, Demography, Economic Geography, Economics, Education, Environmental Policy, Finance, Financial Economics, Health Economics, Law, Marketing, Operations Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Public Health, Public Policy, Statistics, Strategy, Social Policy, Technology and Operations, Urban Planning

Accounting:

Ernst & Young, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Deloitte

Central Banks:

Bank of Canada, Bank of China, Bank of Indonesia, Bank of Japan, Bank of Korea, Bank of Latvia, Central Bank of Columbia, Central Bank of Paraguay, Central Bank of Thailand, Central Bank of Turkey, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Singapore Development Bank, World Bank

Commercial Banks:

Banco Santander, Bank of Tokyo, Bank OZK, Barclays, CICC, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, First National Bank of Omaha, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp, M&T Bank, Mingsheng Bank of China, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered

Consulting Firms:

Accenture, Analysis Group, Andrew Davidson, Cambridge Associates, C4i4 Lab, CGN Global, Gerson Lehrman, John Burns, McKinsey, Nathan Inc, NERA, Oliver Wyman

Data Analytics/Tech:

Amazon, Apple, Aquifi, CertiK, Dynamic Technology Lab, Enovia, Facebook, Fedex, Flowcast, Geometric Data Analytics, Google, IBM, Ingram Micro, Karsun Solutions, Livongo, MarketShare, My Health Direct, Nathan Inc, NewtonX, SOASTA, SAS, SurveyMonkey, Uber Technologies, Wedpics, Zillow

Energy:

Boston Energy, Saudi Aramco, Wood Mackenzie

Financial Services:

American Express, Assurant, Axion Ventures, Bella Research Group, Capital One, Castleman Commodities, CITIC, Dimensional Funds, DUMAC, Fisher Investments, Guotoi Junan Securities, Huatai Securities, Industrial Securities, Korea Deposit Insurance Corp, LaSalle Investment Management, Liberty Mutual, QMS Capital Management, SunLife Financial, Sycamore Investment, TIAA, Westbon

Investment Banks:

Goldman Sachs, Lincoln International, Morgan Stanley

Other Industry/Government:

CarMax, Cravath, Swaine, & Moore, McKesson, MP Materials, Noble Solutions, Republic of Turkey, United Nations, US Air Force, US Army

Research:

University of Chicago - Becker Friedman Institute, Duke Offshoring Research Network, Duke Sanford Policy School, Harvard Business School, Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, Instituto de Empresa Business School, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, USC Lurie Real Estate Center, Mathematica Policy Research, Public Policy Institute of California, Tax Foundation

Overview

The Duke Pre-Graduate Fellows Program is targeted toward advanced undergraduates or recent college graduates interested in applying to research-oriented Master's or Ph.D. programs in economics or a related field (e.g., political science, statistics, computer science, public policy, sociology).

The program is designed for students who — by their background, life experience and scholarship — can show they will bring greater diversity to the economics profession. We especially encourage applications from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Applicants selected for the program will:

  • be named Duke Economics Pre-Graduate Fellows,
  • receive a financial award to assist with the costs of applying to graduate school
  • have access to an academic advisor
  • have access to faculty mentoring designed to assist with graduate school preparation and applications

The faculty mentoring committee includes Bocar BaJason BaronPatrick BayerCharles Becker, and Grace Kim.  We are also pleased to have the following mentors and external committee members in 2023-24: Marcus Casey, Associate Professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, and Quitze Valenzuela-Stookey, Assistant Professor at University of California-Berkeley. Quitze was a postdoctoral scholar at Duke in 2021-22, and Marcus was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke Economics from 2009-2011.

Eligibility

  • In 2023-24, the program will be limited to American citizens and permanent residents. In future years, we hope to be able to relax this restriction.
  • Our focus will be on students planning to apply to graduate school this year. In future years, we plan to expand to include students at an earlier stage of considering graduate school.
  • The fellows program is designed for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in economics or a related field but not a professional degree program such as business, law or medicine.
  • The applicant is not required to apply to a Duke graduate program.
  • Those currently enrolled in (or who have completed) a Masters program who are planning to apply to a PhD program or another graduate program are eligible for the program.

Initial Award Funding Level

  • The financial award for 2023-24 will be $2,000.
  • We plan to name 15 fellows in 2023-24.

Application Process

Interested applicants should email (or have emailed) the following documents to duke-econpregradfellows@duke.edu:

  1. Candidate materials, including:
    1. Short statement describing the applicant’s motivation for applying to graduate school and intended course of study (this could be a draft of a statement of purpose from a graduate school application)
    2. List of intended program applications
    3. College transcript(s) (unofficial is fine)
    4. GRE scores, if available (unofficial is fine)
    5. Resume
    6. Writing sample (optional)
    7. Proposal for grant application such as NSF, Ford (optional)
  2. A letter of recommendation should be emailed from a professor or other advisor able to comment on the applicant’s preparedness and motivation for graduate study.

Any questions about the program can also be emailed to duke-econpregradfellows@duke.edu.

Key Dates

  • Deadline for submissions: November 3, 2023
  • Award decisions: November 17, 2023
  • Award payments: As quickly as possible after decisions are made
  • Introductory meeting for new fellows: Early December 2023 (via Zoom)

     

FAQ

More details about the program can be found on the Duke Pre-Grad Fellows Program FAQ.

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