Master’s Admissions FAQs

Recommended Background

Students applying for entry to our master’s programs should have, or be expecting, a bachelor’s degree in economics, economics and mathematics, or a closely related discipline (from an institution recognized by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences). They are normally expected to have passed some advanced undergraduate preparation in economics that includes one year of intermediate macro and microeconomic analysis and courses in statistics, calculus, and linear algebra.

The master’s programs admission committee strongly favors applicants with good analytic and quantitative background. Knowledge in calculus and multi-variate calculus, linear algebra, probabilities and statistics, differential equations, as well as intermediate level micro and macroeconomics will all be extremely helpful for your success in the program. Familiarity with computer programming is also valuable, but not essential.

In the past, our master’s programs has admitted law, music, history, and other non-economics majors who showed aptitude in economics and math-related coursework.

The entire application is reviewed and considered. All components of the applicationincluding quality of preparation, courses taken and grades received, minimum of two letters of recommendation, the personal statement, and GRE test scoresare important to the admission committee.

Application Decisions

Submitted applications and credentials are processed by Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Admissions and forwarded to the Economics Department within two weeks.

Fall Admission Applicants:

We evaluate applications in the order in which they are completed. For example, an application that is completed on December 1 will be evaluated before an application that is completed on January 10.

Please note: “complete” means all application components—application form, application fee, and all required credentialshave been received. For example, an application that is received on December 1 (but for which we do not receive the GRE test results until January 15) will be processed after an application which was submitted, and complete, as of December 1.

For Fall Semester admissions, we receive over 500 applications each year. As a result, it does take us a considerable length of time to finish processing all of the applications. We will evaluate your application as quickly and reasonably as possible. We normally complete evaluations of all applicants who met the application deadline by late April, which means that applicants should hear from us by May.

Spring Admission Applicants:

For Spring Semester admissions, we normally complete evaluations of all applicants who met the October 1 deadline by late November, which means that applicants should hear from us by December.

It is strongly recommended that international applicants submit a complete application and all required credentials by September 15 and sit for the GRE and TOEFL at least two months before the application deadline.

All materials are received by the GRS Admissions office, which uploads all documents (paper materials are scanned) to a server so that departmental staff can access the documents. If you wish to check on the status of your application, you are welcome to contact the Economics Department. However, please keep in mind that at the department level we can only see documents that have been processed and uploaded to the server. Due to the enormous quantity of documents being received by the GRS Admissions office, it sometimes takes a few days for them to process them, particularly in early to mid-January. We appreciate your patience during this busy time.

Additionally, the documents required for processing a visa for international students (the international student data form and the financial documentation) are never made available to the Economics Department. To confirm those documents have been received, students should contact the GRS Admissions 0ffice directly at at or 617-353-2696.

Once an application is academically complete, it will be put in our queue for evaluation.

Contacting Faculty

If you want to alert the Director of Master’s Programs of some information relevant to your application, please send an email to This material will be placed in your file, where it will be reviewed by our faculty. However, in view of the large number of applications to the master’s programs (over 500 last year), it can take several days for us to respond to your email.

If you have questions concerning the structure of the master’s programs, please send an email to

In general, at US institutions, individual faculty do not play an important role in the admissions process, so emails to them are not encouraged. If your faculty advisor emails a member of the BU faculty concerning your application (e.g., attaching a copy of a recommendation letter), then contact may be valuable.

For more information, please visit the the GRS Admissions website and International Student FAQs.