Frequently Asked Questions

1. Requirements
2. Email Inquiries
3. The Application Process

4. Completing the Application
5. International Applications
6. Funding
7. General Questions

1. Requirements

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

There are two sets of requirements you have to meet in order to be eligible for admission to one of our graduate programs. The university has requirements that can be found here. The specific requirements for the MA and PhD programs in economics are:

  • 3 credit hours of intermediate macroeconomic theory
  • 3 credit hours of intermediate microeconomic theory
  • 3 credit hours of statistics
  • 3 credit hours of calculus

In each case, the course should have been the equivalent offering of that course as taught in the home department of a US university. For instance, a course titled "Business Math" offered by a business school may not be the equivalent of a calculus class taught in a math department.

Note that these are minimum requirements and we rarely admit students who barely meet the minimum requirements. That only ensures that your application will be given full consideration.

The minimum English requirements can be found at the Graduate School's webpage. The Graduate School requires each applicant whose native language is not English to demonstrate competence in the English language by achieving a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Pearson Test of English (PTE). An applicant who has received a degree in the last two years from a United States college or university is exempt from this requirement.

Language proficiency requirements must be fulfilled prior to your application. If you do not meet the language proficiency requirements, you should not apply, because your application will be rejected. You should instead take the exam, confirm the score is sufficient, and then apply for the next admissions cycle.

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 five years to finish the degree.

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.

2. Email Inquiries

Can I email some of my information to the Director of Graduate Studies to get an admissions decision without a formal application?

No. Admissions decisions are made after evaluating all completed applications that were submitted by the deadline. If you send such an inquiry, the response will be a restatement of this policy.

Can I increase my chances of getting funding by emailing faculty members?

No. Individual faculty members do not admit students or give them funding. Information you send to faculty members will not be considered when your application is reviewed. You should include all relevant information with your application.

Can I request a waiver of the application fee?

No. The application fee is not paid to the economics department. As such, we do not have any way to waive it, and we similarly do not have a budget to pay it for applicants. If the application fee represents a hardship, you should not apply. Even if you are admitted with funding, you will still have to show some personal funds in order to get a visa. You will need enough money to travel to the United States and to cover your living expenses until you get your first paycheck. It is not possible to start the PhD program if you cannot afford the application fee.

Can I request a waiver of admission requirements?

No. If you do not meet the requirements, you should not apply. We do not have the power to waive the language proficiency or other requirements.

Can I request a waiver of the GRE requirement?

Our department has never required a GRE score to apply. The GRE is nonetheless strongly recommended, because it provides critical information about your ability to perform in the graduate program. Your application will have to be very strong in all other respects to get an offer of admission without it. Most successful applications include a strong quantitative GRE score.

3. The Application Process

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. You can find more information about the application process at the Graduate School’s website.

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?

No. The Graduate Committee only evaluates submitted online applications that are complete. This includes an online application (and the application fee), academic transcripts (college and beyond), three letters of recommendation, a statement of objectives for graduate study, a TOEFL/IELTS/PTE report (applicants whose native language is not English only), and a completed copy of the affidavit of financial support form and corresponding documentation (international applicants only). The general GRE is not required but highly recommended. Almost all funded Ph.D. students in the past few years submitted their GRE scores.

To be competitive for admission to the MA or PhD programs, applicants typically need to have strong backgrounds in math (including calculus) and statistics. In addition, competitive applicants typically have training in undergraduate economics courses, a grade point average (GPA) above 3.5, and a quantitative score on the GRE above the 75th percentile.

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.

When will you notify me of my application outcome?

Usually we notify the applicants of the fall admissions around March and the applicants of the spring admissions around October. 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 the mail from the Graduate School.

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

Yes, once you have submitted your online application you can track/edit your references by following the link: and clicking "review your activity."

4. Completing the Application

What are the deadlines for applications?

The application deadlines set by the graduate school are January 8 for fall (August) enrollment and August 1 for spring (January) enrollment. While we accept applications at any time, only those students applying before the respective deadline are guaranteed to be considered for funding. Applications received after the deadline are considered for funding until all resources are committed.

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.

What supporting documents do I need?

Graduate applicants are required to submit the following into their online application:

  • Scanned copy (PDF preferred) of academic transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework from each institution attended (college and beyond). If you are admitted, the Graduate School will require you to submit original, official transcripts.
  • Three letters of recommendation from someone familiar with your academic work. The letters must be sent directly from the person writing them. We will not accept letters from an applicant.
  • A short statement of objectives for graduate study.
  • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE report (applicants whose native language is not English only).
  • Completed copy of the Affidavit of Financial Support form and corresponding supporting documents (international applicants only).
  • While not required, the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is very helpful in evaluating an application and submission of this exam’s results is encouraged. Given the importance of quantitative skills in our graduate program, the committee will pay close attention to the GRE quantitative score. (GRE scores are valid for 5 years) We do not consider GMAT scores.

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

You can find more details about the required supporting documents and forms for your application at the Graduate School's website.

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.

Should you need to send any documents after your application has been submitted, please contact the Economics Department

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 the email addresses of your references, they will be contacted to upload their recommendation letter and/or recommendation form via a secure web link. Please remember to hit "submit recommendation request" on the application so your recommenders are notified.

Letters of recommendation can be tracked by students online. Click Review Your Activity to display the names of your recommenders. You can edit recommenders, send reminders and see where each recommender is in the process. Please remember to hit "submit recommendation request" on the application so your recommenders are notified.

Please note that we will not accept recommendation letters from an applicant. We only accept recommendation letters directly from the person writing the letter.

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.

5. International Applications

Is economics at K-State classified as a STEM degree?

Yes. We offer a degree that falls under CIP code 45.0603:

"45.0603 – Econometrics and Quantitative Economics A program that focuses on the systematic study of mathematical and statistical analysis of economic phenomena and problems. Includes instruction in economic statistics, optimization theory, cost/benefit analysis, price theory, economic modeling, and economic forecasting and evaluation."

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

The affidavit of financial support (for international applicants only) can be found at Graduate School International Students webpage. More information about how to fill out this form can be found below. Completion of this form is necessary for admission to the Graduate School and eligibility for a graduate assistantship.

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

No, you should upload it together with your supporting documents. Completion of this form is necessary for admission to the Graduate School and eligibility for a graduate assistantship. Since it does not adversely affect your chance of being funded by the department, there is really no reason to wait. Because 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.

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. The Affidavit and supporting documentation MUST BE DATED WITHIN NINE (9) MONTHS OF THE INTENDED DATE OF ENROLLMENT.

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. Completion of this form is necessary for admission to the Graduate School and eligibility for a graduate assistantship.

  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 purposes.
    For example, for the academic year 2019-2020, the required amount for visa purposes is $37,775 (this amount changes every year; check the current affidavit form for the most recent figure); the assistantship offered to students in 2019-2020, including a stipend and a tuition waiver, was about $3,500 short of the required amount. So, even if we do offer you full funding, you still need to show $3,500 to be able to get an I-20. If you cannot show $3,500 in the 2019/2020 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 funds of at least $4,000, 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 ($37,775 for 2019-2020; see the current 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.

How long does it take from the time I receive the admission email from the department and the time I receive the official admission letter and I-20?

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 March for fall admissions and around October for spring admissions. 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 does not meet the minimum requirements when we notify you of our recommendation, you should count the twelve weeks from the time we receive your updated affidavit.

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 approximately 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 the deadline. Some applicants wait until we make the admission decision to send in their updated affidavits – this usually leads to delay of their admission letters and I-20s.

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

Yes, health insurance is mandatory for all international students.

The Kansas Board of Regents requires that all international students maintain health insurance coverage. Insurance coverage will be automatically included in your tuition bills.

If you have questions about the health insurance coverage or prefer to obtain health insurance from another provider, please contact International Student and Scholar Services at You can find more information at the ISSS website.

6. Funding

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.

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

No, it will 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.

7. General Questions

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):

How much will tuition and fees cost?

Read the details about Tuition and Fees from the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

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).

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 common misunderstanding. The Graduate School appoints the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) 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 for Master's Students and the Graduate Handbook for PhD Students), 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.

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

Certainly. You can find contact information for the current DGS on the department website. If you have submitted the online application, please quote your full name that you put on your application, your date of birth, and your application ID in all correspondence.