PhD Economics FAQs | LSU Department of Economics

PhD - Economics


Contact Us

Bulent Unel
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies-PhD Program, Department of Economics
Department of Economics
2329 Business Education Complex
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Telephone: 225-578-3790
Fax: 225-578-3807


Frequently Asked Questions


All applications must be made online to the LSU Graduate School. A detailed description of the process, including the online portal, is provided on the LSU Graduate School website. Please read this material carefully and follow the directions fully. Failure to do so will likely delay the processing of your application.

Yes, the university and the department require you to submit three recommendation letters. The recommendation letters can be uploaded online or be sent by mail to the director of graduate studies, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University, 2300 Business Education Complex, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 USA.

No. Under no circumstances will the fee be waived.

Since we have a lockstep program, we admit students to graduate study in our department only in the fall semester. Students without an appropriate undergraduate background may seek admission to the LSU Graduate School as a non-matriculating student in any semester in order to take intermediate macroeconomics, intermediate microeconomics, or other courses required before admission to graduate study in economics can be considered. Non-matriculating students are not funded by our department and will be considered for admission into our graduate program once they have finished the undergraduate prerequisites. However, a student enrolling in LSU in a fall semester as a non-matriculating student will not be admitted into graduate study in economics in the subsequent spring semester. Admission to graduate study in economics will be only in a fall semester.

  • For all PhD student applicants seeking financial assistance: February 1.
  • For PhD student applicants not seeking financial assistance: April 1.

(Kindly note that these dates override dates of the LSU Graduate School.)

The LSU Graduate School website lists the various types of financial assistance available. Graduate assistantships are the typical form of financial assistance received by students in the Department of Economics. To be considered for an assistantship, check the appropriate box on the LSU Graduate School’s online application. A limited number of fellowships are available, and competition for fellowships is campus-wide. The department determines whether a prospective student will be nominated for a fellowship. Please note that since PhD students are expected to complete the degree within five years, financial assistance is provided for up to five years (assuming satisfactory progress toward degree and adequate performance of assistantship duties).

Yes, both domestic and international students are eligible for financial assistance in their first year of study.

Funding for our assistantships comes from a university-provided budget for assistantships and from grants received by members of the department. Since the dollar volume of grants received by the members of the department varies from year to year, the number of assistantships awarded may vary from year to year. Historically, we have been able to fund five to six entering students every year.

Priority for consideration for assistantships is given to applicants who apply by February 1.  After the February 1 deadline for applications for funding, the department graduate committee considers all the applications received by the deadline and decides who will be admitted and to whom assistantships will be awarded. Assistantship offers go to the applicants the committee thinks have the most promise. The graduate committee considers GRE scores (with very careful scrutiny of the quantitative component), undergraduate grade point averages and course work, letters of recommendation, and the applicant’s description of why he/she wants to study economics at LSU.

No. Who is offered an assistantship depends on the applicant pool, and, consequently, we have no way of assessing an individual’s chance of being awarded an assistantship before we know the composition of the applicant pool. We do not respond to emails requesting such assessments.

Those who are accepted usually have a minimum GRE score of 300 (combined verbal and quantitative scores) and at least a score of 160 on the quantitative section. 

The university has stipulated the degree must be completed within seven years of entering a PhD Program. However, as noted earlier, we provide funding to students for only five years, so the expectation is that students will complete the degree by the end of five years.