Frequently Asked Questions in the Application Process to M.A. and Ph.D. Programs in Economics

 

What are the minimum requirements for the graduate programs (Ph.D. and M.A.)?

The requirements for graduate school admissions can be found at http://catalog.k-state.edu/content.php?catoid=2&navoid=87 and the specific requirements for our MA and PhD admissions can be found at http://catalog.k-state.edu/content.php?catoid=2&navoid=125

The minimum English requirements can be found at the Graduate School's International Students webpage.

Note that these are minimum requirements and we rarely admit students who barely meet the minimum requirements.

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What are the deadlines for applications? 

Domestic applications are accepted all year round.  For international applications we need to receive your application (including all supporting materials, such as the financial affidavit) by January 1 for fall (August) enrollment; by August 1 for spring (January) enrollment.  We do not currently offer summer as a start semester.

You should submit your application by January 1 to be fully considered for graduate assistantship.

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What is the typical length of graduate studies in your department?

Most M.A. students finish between one and a half years and two years.  Most Ph.D. students take four or five years to finish the degree.

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Do I have to have a master’s degree before I can apply for your Ph.D. program?

No.  Applicants with bachelor degrees can apply for the Ph.D. program.

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What is the general application process?

Kansas State University does not accept paper applications for admission.  You should submit your online application and pay the application fee at the same time.  Make sure you keep a copy of the confirmations of your online application and payment.  The online application allow you to submit all required documentation via the application form.

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Can I email you my transcript/TOEFL/GRE so that you can provide an assessment of my chance being admitted/funded before I formally apply for your program?

Sorry, no.  The Graduate Committee only evaluates submitted online applications that are complete.  This includes an online application (and the application fee), official academic transcripts (college and beyond), three letters of recommendation, a statement of objectives, a TOEFL/IELTS report (international application only), and a completed copy of the affidavit of financial support (international application only).  General GRE is not required but highly recommended.  Almost all funded Ph.D. students in the past few years submitted their GRE scores.  Note that only the official IELTS/TOEFL/GRE reports directly sent to us from the test agencies are considered valid.

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Where can I find the affidavit of financial support form for international applicants?

The affidavit of financial support (for international students only) can be found at Graduate School International Students webpage. More information about how to fill out this form can be found below.

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What mailing address, phone number and email address should I leave on the online application form?

When you fill out the application, make sure your phone number, email address, and mailing address are correct and are valid until the first few weeks here on campus.  This means that they should be valid until the end of August if you apply for fall admission and until the end of January if you apply for spring admission.

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What supporting documents should I send in?

Graduate applicants need to upload a scanned copy (PDF preferred) of the official academic transcripts (college and beyond), three letters of recommendation, a statement of objectives, a TOEFL/IELTS report (international application only), and a completed copy of the affidavit of financial support (international application only).  In addition, while not required, the general Graduate Record Examination is very helpful in evaluating an application and submission of this exam’s results is encouraged.  You need to ask the IELTS/TOEFL/GRE test agency to send us your official report directly.  Without the official report it is not possible for the Graduate School to process your application.  It is usually helpful to include a photocopy of your IELTS/TOEFL/GRE report with your supporting documents.  You should send any supporting documents (that are not uploaded) directly to our department:

The Graduate Committee
Attn: Ms. Crystal Strauss
Department of Economics
Room 327 Waters Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-4001
U.S.A.

The Graduate Committee only evaluates complete applications – that means all the required supporting documents, including the financial affidavit, have to be uploaded before we can evaluate your application.

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Can I email you the supporting documents?

No.  Supporting documents should be uploaded when you fill out the online application. Please do not email the Director of Graduate Studies large attachments (more than 1M) unless prior arrangements have been made. In general you should fill out the online application and upload your supporting documents.

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The online application form asks for names and contact information of the three references. Will they be contacted to get the letters of recommendation?

Yes.  If you enter in your references email address, they will be contacted to upload their recommendation letter and/or recommendation form.

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If I send in the affidavit of financial support with my own or family funding, would it decrease my chance of being funded by the department?

No, it would not. We usually do not consider somebody for departmental funding if the applicant is already being funded by a government agency. Otherwise, if you submit a financial affidavit with your personal/family fund, we will still consider you for departmental funding.

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Should I send in my financial affidavit after I am admitted?

No, you should upload it together with your supporting documents. Since it does not adversely affect your chance of being funded by the department, there is really no reason to wait. The financial affidavit is a required document for all international applications, not sending it in by the deadline will result in either delay of our evaluation of your application or not reviewing your application at all.

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I do not have enough personal/family funding for the financial affidavit, should I still send in the affidavit?

Yes, absolutely. An international application is considered incomplete without this form.

1) If you absolutely have no money at all, you may not wish to continue the application process. Because the full assistantship from the department, including a stipend and a tuition waiver, is usually below the minimum requirement for visa purpose. For example, for the academic year 2011-2012, the required amount for visa purpose was $28,822 (this amount changes every year; check the affidavit form for the most recent figure); the assistantship offered to students in 2011-2012, including a stipend and a tuition waiver, was about $1,200 short of the required amount. So, even if we do offer you full funding, you still need to show $1,200 to be able to get I-20. If you cannot show $1,200 in the 2011/2012 academic year, it is not meaningful to continue the application process.

2) Because both the required amount on the affidavit and our assistantship package vary over time, it is "safer" to send in an affidavit with personal/family fund of at least $2,000, and possibly more to be safe, if you can only attend the program with the departmental funding.

3) If you have enough personal/family funds to cover the entire required amount ($28,822 for 2011-2012; see the affidavit form for the most recent figure) on the financial affidavit, you should send in the affidavit that shows your personal/family funds. This is the best option for all international applicants.  It will not adversely affect your chance of being funded by the department.  But it would significantly increase your chance of being able to enroll in time because we can send your file to the Graduate School much earlier in the process – that would put you at the beginning of the applications at the Graduate School.

Note that these are not funds that must be paid to the university. Rather, this is a requirement for the issuance of the I-20 form leading to a visa. Nor would it obligate you to come to our program by filling out the affidavit form.

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Is there a separate form to apply for departmental funding?

There is no separate form. Just ask for it in your statement of objectives. Generally we consider everybody for departmental funding unless you are already being funded by a government agency.

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What are the average GPA/TOEFL/IELTS/GRE scores of past admitted students?

The Graduate Committee evaluates all supporting documents in every application as a whole package. We do not rely on a numerical formula to evaluate applications. We simply do not keep track of the said statistics.

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What are the institution/dept codes for TOEFL/GRE?

Currently, for those who provide their official TOEFL/GRE reports, the Kansas State University institution code is 6334. The department code is 84 for TOEFL and 1801 for GRE. Because ETS does change the codes from time to time, you may wish to double check these codes with ETS. International applicants who have received degrees in the last two years from a United States (or United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, but not French Canadian) college or university are not required to submit a TOEFL score but must take an English Proficiency Test upon arrival to Kansas State University. If s/he fails the EPT test, s/he must take some ESL courses.

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How do I fill out the affidavit of financial support?

For the affidavit of financial support (international applications only), applicants providing their own support must complete Section B and have it signed by their provider and must complete Section C and have it signed by a bank official (foreign banks may be reluctant to sign the document – in this case just send in a separate bank balance statement and leave Section C blank). The bank balance does not have to be "frozen" or in time deposit. The bank balance can be in foreign currencies in most cases – you just convert them to US dollars according to the prevailing exchange rate and write it on the margin of the affidavit. For applicants who are supported by fellowships, grants or similar sources, an original copy of the award letter dated no more than six months prior to admission is required. We strongly encourage applicants to send in the affidavit together with the application. Generally if you send in your affidavit one month after the application deadlines (i.e., after March 1 for fall admissions and after September 1 for spring admissions), you should plan for the possibility that your admission might be delayed one semester and thus you should not make travel arrangements until you receive your official admission letter and I-20 from the Graduate School.

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Do I have to buy health insurance while attending Kansas State?

Yes, health insurance is mandatory for all international students.

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What more information you can provide about the department and the university?

You are encouraged to browse the following web pages about the department, the graduate school, and the university (You should especially check out the first two web pages):

http://www.k-state.edu/economics

http://www.k-state.edu/grad

http://www.k-state.edu

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How much would tuition and fees cost?

Read the details about Tuition and Fee Schedules from the Division of Financial Services.

Our fully funded graduate students receive a tuition waiver of up to ten credit hours per semester (the normal load for a typical graduate student is nine credit hours per semester).

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When do you notify me of my application outcome?

Usually we notify the applicants of the fall admissions around early March. The early communications are usually through email and phone calls (so it is important to make sure your email address and phone number are reachable). The official admission letter (and I-20 for international students) will arrive in mail from the Graduate School.

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Is there a way I can check the status of my application online?

Currently, we are not aware of a way for an applicant to check the application status online.

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How long it takes from the time I receive the admission email from the department and the time I receive the official admission letter and I-20 (international students only)?

We send an email to an applicant to notify him/her of our recommendation of admission/rejection as soon as we make a decision, usually in early March. However, our email is only a recommendation to the Graduate School. You should wait for the official admission letter and I-20 before you make travel plans. It generally takes twelve weeks between the time we send you the email and the time the Graduate Schools sends out the official admission letter and I-20. You should also add at least another week or two for the mail to arrive at your address. If your financial affidavit is not on file when we notify you of our recommendation, you should count the twelve weeks from the time we receive your affidavit.

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Because it takes time for me to make visa appointments and such, can you ask the Graduate School to process my admission letter and I-20 first?

The Graduate School processes the admission letters and I-20s strictly on a first-come-first-serve basis. It takes twelve weeks to process your application. If you want your application to be processed first, make sure you submit all your supporting documents, especially the financial affidavit, by February 1. Some applicants wait until we make the admission decision (in March) to send in their affidavits – this usually leads to delay of their admission letters and I-20s.

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In the admission letter I received from the Graduate School, it says that you (the Director of Graduate Studies) will be my advisor.  Does that mean I will work on my dissertation under your supervision?

No. That is a typical misunderstanding. The Graduate School appoints the Director of Graduate Studies as the advisor for all incoming graduate students in our department.  The DGS will advise you on courses to take etc. upon your arrival. However, by the end of your second semester (see the Graduate Handbook), you should choose your major professor and file the program of study.  You will work on your dissertation under the supervision of your major professor from then on.

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What are the recent placements of your graduate programs?

Some of our recent M.A. graduates took jobs at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve Bank – Kansas City, Social Security Administration, Kansas Corporation Commission, Edward Jones, and various consulting firms. Some other recent M.A. graduates went on to doctoral programs at North Carolina State University, George Washington University, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, Simon Fraser University, and Georgia State University, etc.

Some of our recent Ph.D. graduates took tenure-track assistant professor positions at the following universities in North America: Clarkson University, Northwest Missouri State University, California State University - Long Beach, North Georgia College and State University, California State University – Chico, Nichols State University, and Auburn University-Montgomery, etc.  Some other recent doctoral graduates became teaching specialists or instructors at Pennsylvania State University, University of Colorado – Denver, and Georgia Southern University, etc. A couple of recent doctoral graduates were on post-doctoral fellowships at Yale and University of Washington and then moved on to take tenure-track assistant professor positions at University of Arkansas – Little Rock and elsewhere.

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 Can I contact the Director of Graduate Studies if I have more questions?

Certainly, you can find my email address, phone number, and office hours from my web page through the link of Faculty in our department. If you have submitted the online application already, please always quote your full name as you put on your application, your date of birth, and your application ID in all future correspondence.

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Last updated: November 20, 2014.