Application Instructions & Review Process

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Applications must be submitted online no later than January 5, 11:59:59 p.m. EST, of the calendar year of prospective admission.

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

GRE Test

The Economics Department requires Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from applicants. In order to meet the January application deadline, GRE tests should be taken no later than the preceding November test date. Only the GRE general test is required, not the subject test. The Ph.D. program does not accept, nor will it review, the GRE subject test or the GMAT in lieu of the GRE general test for admissions purposes. The Department of Economics does not eliminate any applicant solely on the basis of the GRE; however, more than 90 percent of all applicants to the Ph.D. program earn the highest score on the Quantitative section. Scores that are significantly lower and are supported by less-than-impressive grades in mathematics and economics-related courses may result in rejection on the basis that the applicant is not competitive with the rest of the applicant pool. 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. Some applicants may be eligible for a TOEFL/IELTS waiver. Please refer to The Graduate School for more information about score requirements, score submission, and waiver policy.

Application Fees

The application fee is $90. The Department of Economics does not waive application fees.

Application Status

After submitting your online application, you can check the status of your application materials via the Applicant Self-Service system. 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.


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 Self-Service 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.

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