Admissions for MAPSS-Econ

When will the official admissions letter with the financial aid information be sent?

The official admissions letter with financial aid information is sent by the Dean of Students’ office in early March. Later applicants will be contacted on a rolling basis through our second application deadline of April 30th.

What’s the expected cohort size of MAPSS-Econ?

We expect to fill two preceptor sections of 18 students each.

Additional Sources of Funding and Income

What other funding opportunities do I have?

You can find more information here, including a database for external funding, fellowships for international students, and tips for on-campus employment and subsidized housing.

It is possible that your undergraduate institution offers scholarships for alumni going on for graduate study elsewhere. Check with their Dean of Students and their Office of Career Services.

Finally, international students should check the website of the US Consulate or Embassy for their home countries. They provide a list of resources for students studying in the USA.

What other sources of income do I have while enrolled in the program?

Many MAPSS students work 5 to 10 hours per week as RAs or in one of the 140 Centers and Institutes on campus. We do not recommend working more than 10 hours, since the reading and course requirements for your graduate seminars will be very intense. MAPSS-Econ concentrators are also eligible for teaching assistantships during the winter and spring quarters.

TOEFL Requirement

What are your TOEFL requirements?

Your TOEFL scores must be reported in your application, and you must score a 26 in all categories. If your scores do not meet our minima, we offer conditional letters of admission, to give you an opportunity to retake the TOEFLs. In that case, you must report your improved TOEFL scores by June 15th.

If you have a minimum 23 in the TOEFL speaking, and a 26 in all other categories, you don’t need to retake the TOEFL exams. Instead, after you accept our offer of admission, you will receive instructions from the Dean of Students on how to take a free, online, in-person Academic English Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) with someone from our Office of English Assessment.

If you score at the “Proficient” level or higher on the AEPA, you would then take the Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program (AEPP) over the month of August.

If you do both of those things – score a “Proficient” in the AEPA, and complete the AEPP in August – you will then be permitted entry into the MA program.

Indeed, we believe the AEPP is an excellent program for anyone with English as a second language, no matter how strong your TOEFLs.

Please contact Cathy Mican in the Dean of Students Office with any questions (

Course Selection

How will I organize my plan of study?

Upon arrival in Chicago, you will be assigned to a preceptor based on your research interests. The preceptor will help you organize a course of study that constitutes a suitable path for your professional aspirations, be they further academic training, private sector employment, or any other objective that you set for yourself.

Can I take three PhD-level economic courses during the fall quarter?

No. All MAPSS students must take “MAPS 30000: Perspectives in Social Science Analysis” during the fall quarter. This means you may take up to two first year PhD core courses the during fall quarter. In late September, you will have a meeting with your preceptor and at that meeting you will choose the courses for which you would like to register.

Am I required to take two first year PhD core courses during fall quarter?

No. You may also take other classes such as Real Analysis, second year PhD courses, or any graduate course elsewhere in the University approved by the MAPSS Econ faculty. You must, of course, meet any formal or informal prerequisites that a course may stipulate, in terms of prior training.

Can I register for 3 graduate economic courses in winter quarter?

Yes. To continue with the first year PhD sequence in Price Theory, Theory of Income or Empirical Analysis in January, you must have earned a B+ or above in the same sequence in the fall.

MA Thesis Requirement

Does MAPSS-Econ require an MA thesis?

Yes. All MAPSS-Econ students are required to complete an article-length MA thesis. Over your 9 courses, we strongly recommend that at least two have a paper writing requirement. Those papers will provide critical professional training, and will greatly improve the quality of the thesis you submit.

Options after MAPSS-Econ

What do MAPSS-Econ students do after graduation?

MAPSS-Econ gives students the opportunity to see whether continued doctoral study in Economics is the right path, or if they would prefer to take their MA research into a variety of related fields and industries.

Will most of the students apply for a PhD program after they graduate?

In a typical cohort, we expect roughly 30% of our MAPSS-Econ graduates to go on for doctoral study, at UChicago and elsewhere. The remainder take on a variety of professional careers, which you will find detailed here.

What schools have admitted MAPSS-Econ graduates?

In recent years, our graduates have been admitted for the PhD in Economics at UChicago, LSE, Duke, Maryland, UPenn, Columbia, UCLA, Brown, Minnesota, Stanford, Northwestern, Texas-Austin, Erasmus University Rotterdam, UC-Davis, Simon Fraser, Boston University, Wisconsin-Madison, Princeton, Caltech, Cornell, and University College London.

Our graduates have also been admitted for Business School PhDs at UChicago-Booth, London, Yale, UCLA, INSEAD, Northwestern, UC-Berkeley, Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and UIC.

They have gone on for PhD work in Public Policy at UChicago-Harris, Ohio State, Harvard, the University of Southern California, Colorado-Denver, and Duke.

They have been admitted for Marketing/Behavioral Science PhDs at Toronto, Northwestern, UCLA, Hong Kong, NYU, UC-San Diego, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Colorado-Boulder, and Hong Kong Polytechnic.

Finally, many of our graduates have taken full-time research assistantships after graduating, at UChicago-Econ, UChicago-Booth, Duke-NUS, MIT, NYU, Princeton, Stanford, and UC-Berkeley.

What options do MAPSS-ECON students have to pursue their PhD at the University of Chicago?

The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics has recently established a March 15th deadline for current MAPSS-Econ students to apply for the PhD program. This allows students to submit application materials that include their performance in the first two quarters of the MAPSS-Econ year. If admitted to the PhD program, students continue their doctoral training during the subsequent academic year.

Do students apply for a PhD program during the fall quarter?

We recommend that students apply to PhD programs when their application portfolio is complete and maximally competitive. Some students are ready to apply with only their first quarter grades while other students need to document further research experience, a writing sample, or substantial additional coursework. Students will receive substantial guidance in making this decision from their preceptors.

Work Authorization in the United States

Is work authorization, like OPT, available when I complete the program?

International students admitted to MAPSS-ECON are eligible for up to 3 years of work authorization in the U.S., since MAPSS-Econ is a STEM program.