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University of Nebraska–Lincoln



In order to answer as many inquiries as possible in a simple and consistent manner, here is a list of the most common questions asked along with specific answers.

Can you tell me whether I will get accepted with financial aid?

No, we enter a small number of students each year, so we cannot predict who will receive financial aid until we have our entire pool of applicants. In addition, we evaluate the entire application. We do not make decisions based on limited information.

Do you offer a terminal Master's degree?

No. Students from outside UNL are only admitted to the Option III, Ph.D. leading program. We do not have separate Masters level coursework.

Is there a form for letters of recommendation?

All letters of recommendation must be submitted on-line through the graduate application system.

Can I apply to the doctoral program directly from my undergraduate degree?

Yes. Well qualified students with a 4 year undergraduate degree are encouraged to apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

For criteria used by our graduate school to evaluate international degrees, see more information on the UNL Graduate Studies website.

What is the duration of the doctoral program?

The doctoral program is designed to take 4 to 5 years to complete. The typical student has finished coursework and begun dissertation work during the third year of the program.

What percentage of your students are international students?

It varies from year to year, but generally between 40% and 60% of our students in residence are international students.

Do you admit international students?

Yes. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran’s status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.


What is the cost of the program?
What funding options are available?

The department awards three to four assistantships to new students each year. These appointments are either teaching or research assistantships and carry stipends that are competitive with those offered by other graduate institutions. Assistantships provide a full tuition waiver, stipend for up to four years and medical insurance.

We cannot waive tuition for those students not on assistantship. A limited number of fellowships allow domestic out-of-state students to obtain reduced tuition rates.

What percentage of entering, new students receives departmental funding?

Typically 70–80 percent of our new, first-year Ph.D. students receive assistantship funding. Plus we typically fund all continuing students making good progress up through the 4th year of the program.

How do you apply for an assistantship?

All applicants are considered for assistantships. No separate application for financial aid is required.

Can the application fee be waived under special circumstances?

The application fee cannot be waived.

Do you consider both M.A. and Ph.D. applicants for funding?

Yes, we consider both M.A. and Ph.D. applicants but give strong preference to Ph.D. applicants.

How many assistantships do you offer?

We are typically able to offer funding to three or four incoming students each year, but the number varies.

Do you offer research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or both?

We offer only teaching assistantships through the Economics Department and research assistantships through the Bureau of Business Research. Teaching assistants will be required to work, typically assisting professors in the first year and then teaching classes in subsequent years. Research assistants will work on research contracts generated by the BBR.

What is the average GRE of those selected for assistantships?

Typically, our incoming Ph.D. students selected for assistantships have verbal scores above the 70th percentile, quantitative scores above the 80th percentile, and a writing score of at least 4. These scores should not be interpreted sufficient for financial aid. Again, we evaluate the entire application.

Is the TSE (Test of Spoken English) required?

No, you do not need to submit a TSE score for admission. However, students on assistantship are not allowed to teach until they have met an English speaking proficiency requirement.

What if I cannot take the TSE?

There are a number of alternatives. We accept the oral score on the IELTS exam. We can also substitute a personal interview or a video recording demonstrating your oral command of the English language.

Do your assistantships cover all costs?

Our assistantships provide a full tuition waiver (for up to 12 credit hours of coursework each fall and spring semester) and pay a competitive stipend. The assistantship award stipend is more than sufficient to cover on-campus living expenses. In addition, the Department often has funding for summer research or teaching. All students are responsible for paying some fees, however. All students are responsible for paying some fees, however, for current estimates of fees see

Do you provide health insurance coverage?

Yes, students holding eligible assistantships are provided basic individual student health insurance coverage at minimal cost to the student. The student health insurance plan covers accidents and illnesses to a maximum of $50,000 per policy year. Visit the StudentBlue Health Insurance page for more information.

Doctoral Program Requirements

What are the math/economics prerequisites for the program?

Ph.D. students are expected to have adequate backgrounds in economics and mathematics. We require economics through at least intermediate micro and macro economics. We require a full calculus background. In addition, a course in linear (matrix) algebra, mathematical statistics and differential equations is highly recommended.

Is there a minimum GRE score requirement?

The department does not employ a rigid formula for admission. There is no minimum score requirement for the GRE, although we do expect applicants to perform well. The GRE cannot be waived.

Is the GRE Economics Subject test required?

No. We do not require the Economics subject test.

What were the average GRE scores of last year's admitted students?

Due to the small class size, for reasons of confidentiality, we do not release that information.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

No. The department does not employ a rigid GPA requirement for admission, although we do expect applicants to have performed well in relevant coursework.

I've taken the GRE, how long will my scores be accepted?

Educational Testing Service (ETS) will report scores for up to 5 years. Because that's as long as we are able to receive official score reports, your GRE scores are accepted for five years.

Is there a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score requirement?

The minimum TOEFL score required is 550 (paper version), 213 (computer-based test) or 80 (iBT test) or 6.5 on the IELTS. There are no sub-score requirements. The institution code for the TOEFL is 6877.

I've taken the TOEFL exam, how long will my scores be accepted?

The official UNL policy on TOEFL scores is that the exam date must be within two calendar years of the term of enrollment.