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Admission Criteria

Admission to the doctoral program in Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics is based on a careful evaluation of an applicant's potential to successfully complete the degree program.

It is also based on our ability to offer an effective program to the applicant. Because our faculty and resources are limited, not all qualified applicants can be admitted. The number of applicants who are admitted varies from one semester to another.

A four-year American baccalaureate degree or equivalent is required for admission to a graduate program at Penn State.

In general, a master's degree is required for admission to our Ph.D. program. We occasionally admit outstanding applicants to the M.S./Ph.D. program, under which a student first receives an M.S. degree and then is automatically entered into the Ph.D. program.

Our course work and grade-point average (GPA) expectations for admission to the Ph.D. program are as follows:

  • Differential and integral calculus, and linear algebra.
  • Master's-level economic theory.
  • Master's-level statistics/econometrics.
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA in master's-level course work (on a 4.00 scale). Exceptions to the minimum 3.00 GPA may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

For the Ph.D. program, we generally do not admit students with significant course work deficiencies. We expect that applicants will already have substantial background in economics and mathematics.

Graduate Record Examination

We require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) and have an official report of their test scores sent to us. See How to Apply for more information.

We do not have any minimum required GRE scores. However, experience has taught us that a student with quantitative GRE score of less than 148 or an analytical writing GRE score of less than 4.0 should not apply unless there are mitigating factors or the application is particularly strong in some other respect (e.g., grades).

Factors in our admission and financial aid decisions include grades in economics courses, grades in mathematics and statistics courses, overall grades, educational background, GRE scores, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (if applicable), letters of recommendation, occupational history, and the applicant's statement of objectives.