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University of Nebraska–Lincoln


Economics Ph.D. students

As the first school west of the Mississippi River to formally establish a Ph.D. program in economics, Nebraska has awarded doctoral degrees in economics for over 100 years. Known for its blend of advanced economic theory and applied policy analysis, in this program you will work closely alongside faculty to develop robust research skills and pursue a career in academics, business or government. You’ll also gain valuable experience and support through five economics-related research centers.

The Department of Economics is currently accepting applications for Fall 2023.


August Start
Apply by January 15

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Review Admission Requirements
Review Admission Process

Admission Deadlines

Apply by January 15 to begin in the fall semester.

School Admission Requirements

  • Academic transcripts. Transcript instructions for both domestic and international students can be found in the “Review Admission Process” tab above.
  • Three letters of reference
  • A statement of purpose
  • GRE score
  • TOEFL score (only for international students; minimum of 550 written, 213 computer-based, 80 iBT or 6.5 IELTS).

The department does not employ a rigid formula for admission, but we expect excellent undergraduate (or graduate if applicable) records in economics, mathematics and statistics. We also expect excellent GRE scores, TOEFL scores (when applicable) and strong letters of recommendation.

The statement of purpose should outline your goals and objectives for studying economics at the graduate level.

Please note: All application materials (except transcripts and finance resource certification) must be submitted electronically. Do not send paper recommendation forms.

GRE – Graduate Record Examinations

You must register to take the GRE and have the results forwarded to Nebraska (use institution code 6877). You must also submit your scores through the online graduate application.

TOEFL - Test of Spoken English

International students must include a TOEFL score (use institution code 6877).
You will need a minimum score of 550 written, 213 computer-based, 80 iBT or 6.5 IELTS.

Finance Resource Certification Form

Any applicant who is recommended for admission and expects to hold an F1 (student) or J1 (exchange visitor) visa should submit the Financial Resource Certification (FRC) form.

Note to International Students

We recommend starting your application process at least one year prior to the date you would like to be admitted. You must also be aware of the additional requirements that you need to meet in order to be admitted to the College of Business. The International Student and Scholar Office provides orientation, counseling and advising, and serves as the official liaison between your sponsoring agency and the United States government. Staff members are also available to help you make contacts on campus and in the Lincoln community.

Guidelines for International Students

Admissions Process


Apply online and submit the $50 application fee.

Apply Online Now

Upload Supporting Documents

All Supporting Documents including unofficial transcripts and test scores are uploaded directly via the graduate application.

You are required to submit an unofficial transcript from each post-secondary institution you have attended during the application review process.

Submit Official Transcripts

If you are admitted, you will be required to submit an official transcript sent directly from each institution you have attended to The Office of Graduate Studies. We recommend that you complete this task before your admitted term begins. A hold will be placed on your account if they do not receive your official transcripts by October 1 for the fall term, February 1 for the spring term and July 1 for the summer term. Students will have until that day to submit official transcripts or your admission will be rescinded.

Transcripts can be sent electronically to or by mail to

University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Graduate Admissions
1100 Seaton Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0619

International Student Transcript Submission

If you are an international student, please refer to the Nebraska Office of Graduate Studies for transcript and document information.

International Transcript Information

Additional information on Application Requirements can be found at Graduate Studies website.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 90 hours of graduate coursework is required. The program is composed of coursework, comprehensive exams, a third year research paper and a dissertation.

Foundational Courses

  • ECON 815: Analytic Methods
  • STAT 880 or 882: Intro to Mathematical Statistics or Mathematical Statistics I-Distribution Theory

Core Courses

You’ll demonstrate mastery of theory by passing the qualifying examination in advanced economic theory and mastery of econometrics by earning at least a B in each course.

  • ECON 912A and 912B: Microeconomics I and II
  • ECON 911A and 911B: Macroeconomics I and II
  • ECON 917, 918 and 919: Econometrics I, II and III

Fields of Concentration

You’ll tailor your course of study by completing at least six hours of coursework in a field of concentration from the list below. A second field can be chosen for an additional six credit hours.

  • Economic Education
  • Econometrics
  • Feminist Economics
  • International Trade and Development
  • Labor Economics
  • Public and Urban Economics

You can also include electives within economics or cognate areas. Overall, you’ll complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework and between 12 to 55 credit hours of dissertation work meant to demonstrate your ability to conduct research.

Learn More: Graduate Handbook

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Before entering the program, you must have intermediate level training in both macroeconomics and microeconomics, as well as a strong mathematical background.

Your mathematical background should include at least two semesters of calculus, a course in linear (matrix) algebra and a course in mathematical statistics. Differential equations and math analysis are also recommended.

All course deficiencies must be removed prior to the first semester of enrollment.

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In addition to university funding opportunities, the Department of Economics awards three to four assistantships to new students each year. The assistantships include a competitive stipend, tuition remission, health benefits and teaching and research opportunities.


All applicants are considered for assistantships. No separate application for financial aid is required. Typically, our incoming Ph.D. students selected for assistantships have GRE verbal scores above the 70th percentile, quantitative scores above the 80th percentile and a writing score of at least 4. These scores should be viewed as guidelines and are neither necessary nor sufficient for an offer of financial aid. We evaluate the entire application.

Assistantship decisions for the fall semester are typically made in February and March. Recipients are notified near April 1. Duties during your first year will likely include assisting professors with their instructional duties or working closely with a professor as a research assistant.

Additional Funding

In addition to assistantships, we traditionally give two competitive awards to our Ph.D. students. The McConnell Dissertation Fellowship provides full support for two semesters to a student who is in residence and in the completion year of the dissertation. The Bingham Teaching Fellowships are one-year supplemental stipends and are given in recognition of outstanding teaching abilities and performance.

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Challenge Yourself With Hands-On Research Projects

At Nebraska Business, you can develop robust research skills and participate in meaningful economic research through one of five economics-related centers: the Bureau of Business Research, Central Plains Research Data Center, National Center for Research in Economic Education, Nebraska Council on Economic Education and Lincoln Center for Economic Education.

Explore Centers and Institutes

Why Nebraska?

Home to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the city of Lincoln consistently ranks among the highest U.S. cities for livability thanks to a low cost of living, great schools and friendly, community-minded residents. Set amidst a big sky and open landscape, the city is simple to navigate with a nationally noted low crime rate, a wide range of housing choices and a reliable public transit system. As one of the fastest growing metro areas in the Midwest, Lincoln boasts a growing technology sector, more parkland per capita than all but a few U.S. cities, an extensive bike trail network and numerous options for recreational and personal interest activities. It’s easy to feel at home here.

College Points of Pride About Lincoln Local Events

Cost of Living Comparison (2018)
  Lincoln Ann Arbor Boston Austin College Station Raleigh Seattle United States
Overall 96 127 182 130 99 111 204 100
Grocery 92.9 90.7 105.7 88.7 87.5 93.4 100.4 100
Health 120 90 83 92 91 103 82 100
Housing 94 190 314 185 125 139 407 100
Utilities 92 99 117 99 96 99 69 100
Transportation 87 115 152 131 83 100 157 100
Miscellaneous 98 95 129 100 89 98 120 100


Balistreri, Edward
Duane Acklie Chair and Associate Professor of Economics
HLH 525 P
P.O. Box 880489
Lincoln, NE 68588-0489