Admissions FAQ

Can I apply to receive a Master's degree in Economics?

Our department offers admission only to students interested in earning a Ph.D. Our program is not designed for students who are interested only in a Master's degree. However, our Ph.D. students may obtain an M.A. degree by completing all the requirements for the Ph.D. except the dissertation.

For students who are interested in graduate level economics, but are not pursuing a Ph.D., the department offers a masters of energy economics. This program is designed for professionals working in the energy industry; it is not designed as a preparatory step towards a Ph.D. in economics. For more information about the Masters in Energy Economics please visit their website here.

Can you evaluate my chances of successful admission?

Without seeing the entire application pool and your complete application including the recommendation letters, we are unable to comment on your chances of successful admission.

When will I be informed of my admission decision?

Our admissions process has multiple stages. In the first stage, we create a shortlist of candidates who will be invited for Skype interviews. The applicants who have been selected for a Skype interview will generally be notified in the second half of February. Those applicants who received Skype interviews will be notified of their admission status during the first two weeks of March.

What kind of financial support is available?

All admitted students receive an offer of financial support covering five years in return for teaching or research assistantship. Continuation of the financial support beyond the first year is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. Funding may be available beyond the fifth year for students who show exceptional promise.

What if I already have funding from an outside source?

Admitted students with outside funding will receive a supplementary offer from the department. Applicants with outside funding still apply through the usual admissions process. 

Is the Major Concentration in Finance different from just specializing in financial economics?

The Major Concentration in Finance is purposely different from a standalone degrees in Finance or Economics in that students who obtain a "PhD in Economics with a Major Concentration in Finance" or  "PhD in Finance with a Major Concentration in Economics" will need to satisfy the requirements of both programs. Doing so will allow them to go on both on the economics and finance job market with an additional costly signal regarding their training and areas of specialty. 

Can I tour the department or meet with faculty prior to admission?

We invite all admitted candidates to an open house which includes a chance to talk with faculty members. Due to number of applications we receive, we do not schedule in person meetings prior to reviewing applications. Our website provides information about admissions and our program and we are happy to answer any remaining questions via email ( We also provide shortlisted candidates with a chance to meet some of the faculty in a Skype interview and invite admitted candidates to our open house.

I have taken the GRE more than once. Which score will be considered for my application?

We will consider your highest score on each section of the exam as long as the exam was taken no more than five years prior to our application deadline.

Will you accept GMAT scores instead of GRE for my application?

No, we only accept the GRE. There are no substitutions.

 Can I submit an IELTS score instead of a TOEFL score as a certificate of English fluency?

We accept both IELTS and TOEFL scores as proof of English fluency.

I am an international student but have attended institutions where instruction was entirely in English. Do I need to submit a TOEFL/IELTS score?

The English fluency exam requirement will be waived if  prior to matriculation at Rice you have received a degree from a university located in an English-speaking country in which the official language of communication is English.

If you only have or will receive a degree from an institution in a non-English speaking country, you will generally not be exempt from the TOEFL unless the language of communication (not just instruction) is English. If you believe that your university qualifies as one with English as the official language of communication, please provide justification of this somewhere on your application and this information will be reviewed by the committee.

Is there a department code for ETS to use in order to send my test scores? 

The Rice University GRE school code is 6609. The department code for Economics is 1801.

Can the official transcripts arrive after the deadline?

Yes, as long as the rest of your application and unofficial transcripts (uploaded) are submitted by the application deadline, the official transcripts can be sent at a later time (but no later than the first week in April if you are invited for a Skype interview). Please note that your application checklist will be marked as incomplete until an official transcript is sent.