skip navigation

PhD Application FAQ

If I send you a brief account of my academic qualifications (degree, GRE scores, etc.), can you inform me of my prospects for getting admission to the PhD program?

Unfortunately, it is not feasible to do this. Admission decisions are only made with formal application materials.

What are the deadlines to apply?

February 1 is the deadline for all incoming Fall applicants that will wish to be considered for admission WITH funding and reviewed in late February/early March. Besides the normal Graduate Assistant funding and Tuition Remission, a select few may also qualify for the Presidential Fellowship.

March 1 is the deadline for incoming Fall international applicants that will wish to be considered for admission WITHOUT funding.

August 15 is the deadline for incoming Fall domestic applicants that will wish to be considered admission WITHOUT funding.

When will a final decision be made on my application and when could I receive your letter about the decision?

You will receive an admissions decision by both e-mail and regular mail by approximately March 15.

Decisions on applications received after February 1 will be communicated in a timely fashion.

Where do I send PhD application materials?

All materials should be uploaded to the online application system

Do I need a Masters Degree in order to apply to the PhD program?

No. You must have or be currently working towards completing a US Bachelor degree (or equivalent to a US Bachelor degree). Please see this webpage for admission requirements.

Please advise on what, if any, credits from the SUNY at Buffalo, N.Y., M.A. program(s) would transfer to the Ph.D. program.

We do not transfer credits from our own UB Masters program to the PH.D. program.  You may take waiver exams in the first semester courses of the first year.

Acceptance of transfer credits from other Universities is left to the discretion of the PhD Program Director.

Does your department offer a Minor in Economics at the graduate level?

Yes. The requirements are four (4) graduate courses in Economics 600 or 700 level courses and a “B” average in the above courses.   For more information, contact

Should I include the transcripts in my application materials or ask the registrar at my institute to send them directly to you?

You must upload an unofficial or official transcript or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) you indicated in the Educational Background section of the online application.   These documents must be uploaded before you submit the application.

Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation.  If possible, make sure the institution has put your name on the transcript/record. Do not mail in a copy of a transcript or academic record which you have uploaded to your online application, unless requested.

Non-legible scans will not be accepted. Please refer to the details below on uploading format.

Note: If you are recommended for admission you will need to provide an official transcript. Do not send official records until we request them from you.

Can I send photocopies of transcripts and degree certificates along with my application?

Yes. You must upload an unofficial or official transcript or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) you indicated in the Educational Background section of the online application.

These documents must be uploaded before you submit the application.

What if I will not finish my degree until after I apply, such as the summer?

You can still apply if you haven’t finished your Bachelors degree before applying. If admitted, you will be awarded conditional admission.

Should you choose to accept our offer, you must submit FINAL transcripts and degree conferral certificates/proof as soon as they become available or upon arrival on campus.

Your admission will then be considered “provisional” until they receive the final official transcript and proof of degree.

Failure to provide final proof of degree before the Fall semesters begin will lead to dismissal from the PhD program.

Are there reference forms?

Yes. You can identify your references in the online application. They will be prompted to fill out recommendations through our online system.

Do not e-mail your own references directly.

What should the “Statement of Purpose” discuss?

Briefly discuss what motivated you to pursue PhD studies in economics, why the University at Buffalo appeals to you, and how you intend to shape your career after completing your PhD degree.

Is the GRE test required? (and Does your department honor GRE scores obtained within 5 years from the date of admission to the Ph.D. program?)

Yes. There are no exceptions to this.
In particular, we set an exam date limit of two years from the time an applicant wants to begin the Phd program.

Although ETS recommends that the GRE scores be treated as valid if obtained within 5 years from the date of admission our department and UB doesn’t accept this recommendation.

Can I submit a copy instead of an original of the GRE?


What is the University Code number to request ETS to send you my GRE score?

The University code for the GRE score is 2925; department code 1801.

Do you require the GRE Subject test?

No. We do not require the subject test; only the General.

Can I take and submit the GMAT instead of GRE?

No. GMAT is required by the School of Management and is allowed for admission to our Masters Economics Programs. The general GRE test is required for PhD Economics admission consideration.

Since the laws in my country absolutely forbid the possession and exchange of foreign currency, could I be granted a deferral of the application fee until initial enrollment?

Yes. Please send a letter of request along with your application materials.

Can I submit a copy of the TOEFL instead of an original?


How old can the score be?

The TOEFL must be dated within two years of admission.

What is the University Code number so that I can request the ETS to send you my TOEFL Score?

The University code for the TOEFL score is 2925; department code 84.

If I am an international student who received or will receive a degree from a U.S. University, do you still require a TOEFL?

No. Submit a copy of your previous TOEFL, and we will request a waiver from the Graduate School. Waiver means a student is exempt from taking the TOEFL test. If you think a TOEFL should be waived in your case, you should submit your application and the graduate school will determine if you can be waived from the TOEFL.

International students transferring from another U.S. institution to UB (with no break in their studies) who would have met UB minimum requirements and who had a valid TOEFL/IELTS at the time they commenced study at the other institution are automatically waived of the English language proficiency requirement. See here for additional information on TOEFL Waivers.

Is the TSE (Test of Spoken English) required?

The TSE is not required for admission consideration.

If an international student receives admission with funding, they will be required to take the SPEAK test at our university upon arrival. But, if a TSE test has been taken, we will accept it in lieu of the SPEAK test with a score of at least 55 taken within 2 years of your admission date to this University. We also require an original score sheet.

How can I check if my application is complete and materials have been received?

It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure that their applications are complete. On-line applications will be automatically acknowledged electronically upon submission.

How large is the first year class?

We have approximately 175 applicants every year, of which 9 to 14 students will comprise the first year class. The number of funding offers vary each year depending on department resources.

What is the composition of the entire graduate group?

Every year we admit students from various countries, including the U.S., China, India, Turkey, Korea, Japan, Middle East, and the like.

How many credits do you need to graduate?

You need 72 credits and the program generally takes 4-5 years to complete.

It may take longer for some students depending on dissertation progress.

Could you tell me the faculty’s interests and their e-mail addresses?

Please see our faculty section.

I am an international student. Can I take a part-time employment while carrying a full academic load?

Federal law (Immigration and Naturalization regulation) prohibits international students who are in the U.S. on F1 or J1 visas from working more than a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session.

This means that international students on full financial assistantships from the department cannot seek extra work during the two semesters (academic year).