Thursday, October 21, 2010

Worst Possible GRE for Economics PhD admission

‘Interesting title’ – isn’t it? Well, the credit goes to an applicant who searched this keyword in Google search which returned this Blog address. I found this very relevant and interesting and now penning down what I think about this. Hope this helps this guy.
As everyone is aware that GRE is one of the important criteria for not only admission but also for the assistantships. GRE requirement for admission is lower than GRE requirement for assistantship. For an international student, to get admission into a good university; a GRE score of 1200 plus or on the safe side 1250 plus should be fine. Of course the division of scores is important, a quant score should be minimum 720 (740 plus preferred). The assumption here is that the applicant has a decent SOP, GPA and recommendations. For an American student on an average, 1200 plus should do.
What about the assistantship? To secure an assistantship opportunity, an international applicant should have ideally a minimum of 740+ in quantitative section of GRE with a total of 1250. But that does not mean that a student with 1200 GRE score can’t get assistantship. Of course he can as other criteria are also important for admission and assistantship.
However, there are universities where one can expect assistantship with GRE score as low as 1150 or may be even less. One should choose the universities to apply for very carefully as it needs resources in terms of money and time to apply for every single university. You need to make according changes in your SOP for every university you are applying to. Make sure you browse the university webpage to gain all the necessary information. Also determine your chances of getting funding from a particular university. You should be able to find all the information on the website. Many of the students go to Consulting agencies for the same which may be time consuming, costly and do not add any value to your knowledge about the university.
How about top 50 universities? To get into a top 50 university almost everything should be excellent. A GRE score of around 1400, a very good SOP, a good GPA and good recommendation letters may be required.
You don’t need to go to consultants if you use this blog in a proper way to find information on… how to write SOP, whom to request recommendation letters from, and how to choose best universities depending on your scores and GPA. Leave your doubts as comments and I will be able to address them.
All the best!!!


  1. All the posts are really very helpful. I have got a GRE score of 1220 with 750 in quant and 470 in english. I have done my graduation from Calcutta University in economics (hons)and I have just completed my post graduation in Applied Economics from Presidency College. I have got a first class in my undergraduation and 78% in Post graduation with a rank 2. My dissertation has been submitted for publication to International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health (Co-authors: Zakir Husain and Mousumi Dutta)
    and is available online at: Now I am doing a research assistant job under Prof. Rupa Chanda at IIM Bangalore. My research interests are in the areas of Applied Microeconomics, Econometrics and Health Economics. What are my chances to get into a fairly good university with an assistantship? Eagerly waiting for your reply.

  2. This is a very relative term... 'fairly good university'. However your profile is good and you may be able to get into a good university. As you know the probability of getting in also depends upon the recommendations and you might be able to get recommendation from Prof. Rupa Chanda which will certainly be helpful. Your published paper might give you an advantage too.

  3. Thank you very much sir for your reply...I know that the term 'fairly good university' is relative but I wanted to say that the university must rank within 100, preferably close to 60 and I can do my PhD according to my research interest.Thank you sir once again...

  4. Hi,
    I want to asses my chances of getting adission in top 50 or better.
    here is my background.
    BTECH form IITMadras with 70%.
    90%+in 10th,and 12th.
    Minored in operations research.
    Only economics course done is Macroeconomics.
    Though dont have good record in mathematics courses
    SOPs:1.Economics professor from IIT
    2.Collegue who is alumnus of London school of Economics
    Taking GRE in september.
    Thanks in advance

  5. It would be difficult to say anything without GRE score. However IIT's are given priority in Economics PhD Admission due to the mathematics background and high reputation of IIT's. One piece of advice is.. when you apply don't restrict yourself to top 50, a little bit of standard deviation is not significant academically nor reputation wise.

  6. Your advice is very helpful!!

    I am an international student, starting over a terminal MA program in econ in one of the top 50-ish ranked US universities from this fall with a partial scholarship. After finishing this, I am going to reapply for a PhD program.

    I want to get into top 40-60 ranked program. What would be the odds?

    My credentials are:
    Undergrad GPA (econ): 3.86/4.0 (upper 6%)
    Grad GPA (international studies): 3.86/4.0 (Magna Cum Laude)
    GRE: v710/q760/a3.5
    Math courses (taken and expected to be taken*):
    Calc 1-3, Linear Algebra 1-2, Differential Eq'ns, Real Analysis*, Probability*

  7. Hi am ragini again,
    Thanks for the response.In Practice tests Iam getting scores in the range of 1350-1450.could you please tell me which universities are ambitious/approachable/safe for me.(top 20/30/50/60)

  8. Based on your profile you stand pretty good chance of getting into Top 50 programs. If I were you I would apply to 2-3 top 20 programs, 3-4 top 21 to 50 programs. And to play safe, 2-3 universities in the range of top 60-100.

  9. Hi,
    this is Somak.I have taken my GRE in September under the new GRE score ranges are:-

    I will get my exact scores in November.
    I have the following academic profile :-

    78% in 10th
    71% in 12th
    51% in graduation
    65% in my first 2 semesters in post graduation (I am currently doing my post graduation from Calcutta University)
    .I am interested in doing Masters in economics in 2012-2014 session(from universities preferably strong in econometrics and development).I am searching the net for the last 6 months about all USA,UK,Canada university profiles (daily for quite long times)but I am confused and haven't been able to gather much useful information.
    It will be great,if you can suggest some universities for me that will match my criteria (preferably with scholarship but without scholarship will also do).Thanking you
    Somak Banerjee

  10. Somak... Most of the universities in US don't accept Master's candidate with funding. You will have to go to the individual universities websites to find out which ones accept Master students. I don't have much idea about universities in Canada and UK. My suggestion will be check the universities ranking on Wiki econ ranking page. Pick universities in the range of 50 to 150 and check their websites. On their webpage you would be able to find out which university has faculty having the same areas of expertise. Communicate with them if they accept Master students. Since your GRE is over you can spend some time on it.
    Once you get your exact score and have shortlisted a few universities I would be happy to give my opinion on it.
    All the best!

  11. Hi,
    this is Somak again.Firstly i want to thank you a lot for your reply which was helpful.I have made a short list of some universities based on your suggestions.I also gave a thought about funding for the masters program and I decided that I will self finance it,if needed.
    MY GRE score is out
    I am giving my short-listed universities below,here the ones with (M) imply that I am interested in masters program in these universities and without (M) imply I will apply for PHD in these universities.

    1.    Johns Hopkins University- Washington
    2.    Syracuse University
    3.    University of Massachusetts – Amherst
    4.    University of Notre Dame
    5.    University of Delaware
    6.    Michigan State University
    7.  University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
    8.  Western Michigan University
    9. University of illinois at Chicago
    10. George Washington University
    11.  University of British Columbia (M)
    12.  Western Ontario University (M)
    13. University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
    14.  McGill university(M)
    15. Simon fraser University(M)
    16. McMaster university(M)
    Leaving this if you have any other suggestions please suggest them.
    Thanking You in advance
    Somak Banerjee

  12. Somak, I don't know about all the universities listed here, but some of them are really ambitious which is a good strategy when you apply for PhD. But you should also apply to a few universities that you feel is 'safe' for your profile. You should probably be bale to get admission into Masters program in one of these universities but you have to finance it yourself in a Masters program.

  13. thank you....I will keep in mind your suggestions and they were really helpful in selecting my universities.
    Thanking You again
    Somak Banerjee

  14. Good score in gre is possible but only required hardworking

    study abroad