Economics @ Harvard
The undergraduate and graduate programs of the Department of Economics at Harvard University have been designed for students showing high promise in teaching and research. Admissions are limited and students are offered ample sources for counseling and advice.
Do you fit in?
The Economics department of Harvard University has an advising team comprising two lecturers, one concentration advisor and a graduate student to guide aspirants in understanding their educational requirements. Students are walked through the best course options and on timing the study of various subjects.
Graduate students gain the benefit of choosing the right job (ranging from working at NGOs to travelling the world!) and/or completing a post-doctoral degree, stepping into important research programs at government organizations and business enterprises.
Undergraduate application requirements
High school students - both U.S. and international candidates - are required to submit the Universal College Application and Harvard College Questions and Writing Supplement for the Common Application. They also need to submit:
- $75 or a fee waiver
- SAT or ACT writing test scores
- two SAT Subject Tests scores
- high school report and transcript
- reports from two teachers
- mid-year and final-year school report
Transfer applicants need to submit the above mentioned along with the Common/Universal College Transfer Application, College/Registrar's report, College transcript and two recommendation letters from college instructors.
Post-graduate course application requirements
Harvard University offers only a full-time PhD program and expects students to devote their every minute to study. Graduates with strong training in economics and mathematics are selected from institutions with English as the language of instruction. Applicants need to hold a minimum TOEFL IBT score of 80, with a stronghold on linear algebra and calculus. Students proficient in real analysis, probability, differential equations and statistics gain an edge.
Expectations from graduate students
Graduate students are required to complete a two-year full-time study. They need to take formal courses in advanced microeconomics and macroeconomics, besides fulfilling the course requirements in quantitative methods for theoretical examinations. Students are required to enroll in Economics 2010a-b, Economics 2010c-d, Advanced Microeconomic Theory and Advanced Macroeconomic Theory. However, there are some concessions for students joining in the fall session.
The second year of the course should be dedicated to the Economics 2000 research requirements and must obtain an SAT grade in Economics 3000 before taking the General Oral Examination.
General Oral Examination
Students have 13 subjects to choose from for the one-hour General Oral Examination that is generally a two-term study. However, they can dedicate more terms to this study.
After passing this examination, students are required to participate in a working seminar or informal lunchtime seminar, and must present a dissertation within one year.
Expectations from PhD students
Once admitted to the PhD course, students are required to:
- take a written examination in economic theory
- meet course requirements in distribution and quantitative methods
- present a research paper in the second year
- appear for an oral examination in any two specialized fields
- present a seminar on the research subject
- prepare a doctoral dissertation
Postgraduate admission statistics (2012-13)
- Number of Applications Received: 650
- Number Admitted: 35
- GRE Scores of admitted students
- Quantitative: 780 - 800
- Average: 797
- Analytical: 3.5 - 6
- Average: 5.0
Harvard has a record of 100% debt-free graduates. Nearly 70% of its students receive some form of financial aid with about 20% of students families paying nothing. This is because Harvard offers need-based scholarships.
Harvard has a job cell with career counselors to help its graduates land the most suitable jobs. Surveys show that an average Harvard graduate earns $60,000. But salaries vary dramatically across industries. Consulting is the most popular, with about 72% graduates drawing salaries between $70,000 and $90,000. Those opting for the financial sector have salaries crossing $110,000. Those who take to teaching earn in the $30,000 to $50,000 bracket in the first year out of university.