FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Regarding Admission

General

The Application Process

Transfers & Waivers

GRE & TOEFL

Experience & Degrees

Scholarships, Assistantships & Financial Aid

General

Is there a departmental application fee?

No, currently the department does not require an application fee. However, international students must pay a fee of $75 to apply to the University of Houston. Please note that this fee cannot be waived by the department.

What is the difference between the MA in Economics and the MA in Applied Economics programs?

The MA in Economics is part of our PhD program. It contains rigorous theoretical training and is not intended to be a terminal, stand-alone degree. Thus, it may not be as useful for finding private industry jobs as an applied degree. If you are interested in becoming an academic researcher (professor), then the PhD track would be more appropriate. The first 3- 4 semesters of the PhD program typically make up the MA in Economics degree. Applicants may not apply directly to our MA in Economics program.

The MA in Applied Economics is designed to be a terminal degree. Training in the program will be less theoretical and will focus more on application and the development of quantitative skills. Thus, the degree is more useful for jobs (private, government and non-profit) requiring quantitative skills, but that do not require the theoretical rigor of a PhD program. The program can also be useful for students who plan to pursue a PhD, but would like to gain more experience in studying economics before entering a PhD level program.

If I complete the MA in Applied Economics degree will I have direct entry into the PhD program?

No. You would need to apply to our PhD program in order to be admitted.

If I am later admitted to a PhD program, can I transfer courses from the MA Applied Economics to a PhD program?

No. The University of Houston PhD program will not accept transfer courses from the MA Applied Economics program (or vice versa). These programs are completely separate and there is no overlap. It is typical for all university PhD programs to deny transfer courses from any other master degree. Most departments will require students to complete all PhD courses required by their own program. There may be some exceptions, but this is generally the case.

I work, could I pursue a graduate degree part-time?

While permission to enroll part-time in our PhD program may be granted in very unusual circumstances, the Department strongly discourages part-time enrollment. The Department offers no night classes, so you must be able to take classes during the day. Graduate classes generally are offered between 9am and 4pm Monday through Friday (with most classes starting between 10am and 1pm).

The M.A. in Applied Economics program is also full-time with 12 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters and 6 hours in the summer. Classes meet during the day but we do intend to schedule all fall and spring courses in the program for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to allow flexibility in your weekly personal and/or job schedule. We do not recommend that you work (at a job) more than 20 hours per week while enrolled in this program.

Are there summer classes?

All traditional classroom courses for both programs will be completed during the fall and spring semester. However, the MA Applied Economics program concludes with a 6 credit hour thesis or a 6 credit hour internship during the summer after all coursework is complete.

Can I apply to begin the PhD or MA Applied Economics program in the spring or summer semester?

No. Admission is only for the FALL semester.

The Application Process

How do I apply for the program?

All students should carefully read the Admissions Process information at http://www.uh.edu/graduate-school/prospective-students/how-to-apply/

If you are interested in applying for both the PhD and M.A. Applied Economics programs, you must contact the Graduate Program Administrator so that 2 files will be created for you. There is no need to submit the application twice or send transcripts more than once. Separate personal statements and letters of recommendation are recommended.

Which of the admissions criteria are most important?

Applications are considered in their entirety. While strengths vary from one applicant to another, we seek those students who combine strong academic aptitude & quantitative analytical aptitude.

Can I find out by telephone whether I have been accepted or denied admission to the program?

No. Decisions are conveyed by mail or email; there are no exceptions.  You may also check your application status by logging on to myUH.  

What are the guidelines for recommendation letters?

We do not have a standard form for recommendation letters. Recommendation letters should come from a professional (professor, employer, volunteer coordinator, etc.) who knows you well enough to describe why you would be a good candidate for the MA Applied Economics program. Letters should be on letterhead and can be mailed, emailed, or faxed to the department by your recommender – not by the applicant.

Letters of recommendation from those who are familiar with your academic performance are preferable, although letters from other referees can be accepted. The purpose of the letters of recommendation, as is the case with all required application materials, is to make the best case you possibly can for your admission to graduate studies in the relevant program. Academic referees obviously will help that cause more than other types because they will address your scholastic abilities.

Is a writing sample necessary?

The Personal Statement, required of all applicants to the graduate program, serves the same purpose of the writing sample. It should demonstrate your ability to create and communicate in a concise format.

Transfers & Waivers

Being a graduate student in another College on UH campus, can I take Economics graduate classes before I apply to the program that will count if I am admitted?

No. You must be admitted to the program before enrolling in any graduate course in Economics.

Can I transfer graduate classes taken elsewhere (i.e., in another University) that are similar to the courses in the PhD program or the MA Applied Economics program?

No. We do not accept transfer courses for either program. You must complete all requirements of each program in residence at UH.

Can I substitute Economics Courses in the MA Applied Economics program with graduate courses of my interest from other majors and/ or institutions, for example: classes from Finance, Political Science?

Yes. You must petition and receive the approval from the MA in Applied Economics Director. Ideally, approval should be requested in advance of enrolling in the outside class through a General Petition Form. You should include a course description and, if possible, a syllabus for the course.

In some cases you may request approval for a course that has already been completed. You will need to fill out a General Petition Form and submit it along with official transcripts showing completion of the class.

GRE, TOEFL & GPA

Is the GRE required?

Yes. Without the GRE scores, your application is not complete and will not be reviewed. The scores cannot be older than 5 years. If they are older than 5 years, the applicant must retake the GRE.

If you have not yet taken the GRE you may set up an appointment to take it on campus. For information regarding graduate level testing at the University of Houston please call Counseling and Testing at (713) 743-5444.

I took the GRE but didn't have the scores sent to the University of Houston.

Please contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the company which administers the GRE, at (609) 771-7670 and ask to have scores sent to the University of Houston, Central Campus. It is not necessary to specify a department because official scores are posted to the central administration mainframe and can be accessed by any department on campus.

Do you accept GMAT scores instead of GRE scores?

No. All applicants must take the GRE. We do not accept GMAT scores.

What is the minimum score required for the GRE exam?

A total score of 1000 (Verbal & Quantitative combined) for the old scoring system and 300 under the new scoring system is preferred. However, there is no formal minimum requirement to be considered for admission.  Typically, successful applicants have scored at least 600 (old system) or 147 (new system) on the quantitative section of the exam.

 If I take the GRE more than once, are my scores averaged?

No. The admissions decision will be based on your highest score. Scores cannot be older than five years.

How must GRE scores be submitted?

You may submit the unofficial score report generated by the computer at the end of the test session to the MA Applied Economics program office. For verification purposes, however, you must also request that the GRE administration send your official score report directly to the University of Houston, using our school code number 6870. Without official scores, the application will not be processed.

Is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) required?

Yes, if you earned your undergraduate degree outside the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, English-speaking Canada, or the United Kingdom, regardless of whether the program you attended was conducted in English. You may take either the TOEFL or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. TOEFL/IELTS scores may not be more than 2 years old. These tests are waived for applicants who earned a previous college degree in the U.S.

What must I score on the TOEFL or IELTS to be considered?

TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based test or 79 on the internet-based test or an IELTS score of 6.5 or above are required for admission.

Must I also take the Test of Written English (TWE)?

No, it is not required for admission.

Although my education was completed overseas, I am now a US citizen. Will UH waive the TOEFL/IELTS?

No, unless you meet the conditions outlined above. Whether you are a US citizen (or permanent resident) is not the issue. You must take the TOEFL or IELTS unless you have completed a previous academic degree in one of the countries mentioned above.

If I take the TOEFL or IELTS more than once, are my scores averaged?

No. We consider only your highest score. You may take the test as many times as you like.

Experience & Degrees

Must I have an undergraduate degree to enter the graduate program?

Yes. You must have a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university if you received your education in the United States. If you are an international applicant, your undergraduate degree must be the equivalent of a U.S. four-year bachelor's degree. For specifics on International requirements you may contact the Admissions Office.

Students who are graduating in May or August of the application year are strongly encouraged to apply.  For students graduating in May, the committee may request progress reports from instructors of in progress courses.  For those graduating in August, conditional admission may be granted pending successful completion of certain courses and/or degree requirements (minimum course grades may be specified on a case by case basis).

What undergraduate major is required for the M.A. in Applied Economics program?

No particular undergraduate major is required in order to pursue the MA Applied Economics. However, we do require the following pre-requisite coursework (or equivalents): ECON 3332 Intermediate Microeconomic, ECON 3334 Intermediate Macroeconomics, ECON 4365 Introduction to Econometrics and MATH 1431 Calculus I or MATH 1314 Calculus for Business and Social Science. All pre-requisite courses should be taken before you start the program, neither after nor concurrently with your first MA Applied Economics classes.

Scholarships, Assistantships & Financial Aid

What kind of financial aid is available?

The Department of Economics offers aid to PhD students in the form of teaching and/or research assistantships. These awards are extremely competitive. As a stipulation of the award, students must be enrolled full-time (9 hours) and be available to work 20 hours per week for the department. Those receiving departmental assistantships will be evaluated every semester to determine whether departmental aid will continue. No departmental aid can be given to those beyond their 5th year of doctoral studies, regardless of how long a person has received departmental aid.

No departmental funding is available for students in the MA Applied Economics program.  However, we will have a limited number of MA Applied Economics scholarships available starting in Fall 2013.  These scholarships will cover partial tuition charges and recipients will be selected on the basis of previous academic achievement and their potential for excellence in the field.  If you apply for admission to the MA Applied Economics program before April 1st, you are automatically considered for one of our scholarships.  There is no need to submit additional materials.  Information regarding other forms of financial aid (scholarships, grants, loans, fellowships, employment, etc.) can be obtained from the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid at (713) 743-1010 option 3 or visit them at http://www.uh.edu/enroll/sfa/