Economics and Decision Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions about the MA Program

I have the information from your department but there is no “Application for Admission” or “Financial Affidavit.” Can you send me an application (or financial affidavit)?

  • The packet from the Department of Economics will arrive ten days to two weeks before the packet from either the Graduate Studies Office or International Education Office. These packets will contain the remainder of the materials you need to apply to the Master of Arts in Economics program. Information on how to access all forms via the internet is included in this packet.

How long does it take to complete the Master of Arts in Economics Degree?

  • The program requires the completion of 30 hours of courses. If a student does not have any deficiency courses to take, the program can be completed in one academic year or two regular academic semesters. This would require enrolling in 15 hours of class per semester. Many students finish in one calendar year by taking 12 hours in the fall and spring semesters and six (6) hours in the summer session.

Must I have an undergraduate degree in economics for regular admission to the M.A. in Economics program?

  • No. However, you must have taken the equivalent of the courses noted under “Department of Economics Admission Requirements.”

What courses do I need to have taken to enter the program without any deficiencies?

  • Intermediate Microeconomic Theory, Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory, and a statistics course that includes regression analysis are the courses we expect all students to have completed. We also require that you have had a two semester sequence in the calculus. However, you can meet this mathematics requirement by taking Econ 481G, Mathematical Techniques, as part of your MA degree.

What kind of GPA do I need to be admitted to the program as a regular student?

  • The GPA we use as a cut-off is 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale). However, if a candidate has work experience, and we believe that there is greater potential than the undergraduate GPA would suggest, we may waive the 2.75 requirement. Also, high grades in economics, mathematics, and statistics may cause us to waive the 2.75 minimum. High scores on the GRE may also offset an undergraduate GPA that is below the minimum. Regular admission cannot be granted to applicants with less than a 2.50 GPA. We have, and exercise, the right to deny admission to the Master of Arts in Economics program even though an individual may have been admitted by the Graduate School.

Do I need to take the GRE?

  • The GRE is not required for admission or for a graduate assistantship, however GRE scores are taken into consideration when granting graduate assistantships.

What type of financial aid is available?

  • The Department has a limited number of graduate assistantships. The typical award is a two-thirds time graduate assistantship that in 2008-2009 pays approximately $4693 for an academic year (two semesters). However, a graduate assistantship also includes a waiver of tuition (but not fees) for the semesters that you hold the assistantship and one summer session. The maximum number of semesters that a student may receive a graduate assistantship is two. Students who have deficiency courses to complete are not eligible for a graduate assistantship. In nearly all cases, a GPA of 3.00 or better on undergraduate coursework is required.

What are the requirements for a Graduate Assistantship?

  • You must be a regularly admitted graduate student (see below for definition and requirements) and you must not have any course deficiencies. Also, the >“Application for Graduate Assistantship,”< personal statement, and three letters of recommendation must be submitted to the Graduate Office. The maximum term of the graduate assistantship is two academic semesters which provides tuition waivers for both academic semesters and one summer session.

Is there a special form for the letters of recommendation in support of the Graduate Assistantship Application?

  • No. Have your references type their letters on the appropriate letterhead.

How many hours of work are required as part of the graduate assistantship and what kind of assignments can be expected?

  • A two-thirds time award requires an average of 10 hours of work per week during the academic semester. In nearly all cases, most of the time will be spent tutoring students in the Economics Laboratory. The remainder of the time will be spent working with a faculty member.

When will I know if I am receiving a Graduate Assistantship?

Decisions for Fall are announced no later than April 15th. Decisions for Spring are announced no later than December 7th for on-campus and no later than November 30th for off-campus.

What do the different kinds of admission to the program mean?

  • A student can enroll in classes only when they have received either a Regular Admission or a Probationary Admission. In the case of Conditional Admission, a student cannot enroll in classes.
  • Regular Admission: This admission status is granted when all of the academic criteria and the English proficiency requirement (if applicable) have been met and that all of the documentation such as transcripts and the financial affidavit (if applicable) have been received. There are no further requirements to be met for graduate admission.
  • Probationary Admission: This admission status may be granted when a student does not meet all of the academic criteria for regular admission. Students who are granted this status should know that the graduate program they are attempting to enroll in can impose specific requirements to be met before regular admission will be granted. If these specific requirements are met, regular admission may be granted. Probationary status is not automatically granted. It is granted only when there is evidence to suggest that the past academic record does not accurately reflect the student's current ability to complete the degree for which admission is sought.
  • Conditional Admission: The general rule is that, when only one document is missing, or when only one requirement is unmet, a conditional admission may be granted.

Examples of Conditional Admission

  1. If all requirements, except English proficiency, have been satisfied then a conditional admission may be granted.(Regular admission will be granted on the condition that proof of English proficiency can be provided. This can take the form of a current TOEFL score or an appropriate score on the WESL Placement Test. The WESL Placement Test can be taken upon arrival at WIU.)
  2. If only the financial affidavit is missing, or if the financial affidavit is inadequate, then conditional admission may be granted. (Regular admission will be granted when an acceptable financial affidavit is received.)
  3. If a student has not yet completed their undergraduate degree, then a conditional admission may be granted. (Regular admission will be granted upon receipt of a final transcript indicating completion of the degree with an appropriate GPA.)
  4. If any transcript for past academic work is missing from the student's file, a conditional admission may be granted. (Regular admission will be granted when all transcripts of all academic work are received and the appropriate academic criteria have been met.)

What is the dollar amount of the Graduate Assistantship?

*The following calculations assume that a student has no deficiencies and completes the program in one calendar year (Fall, Spring, and Summer Semesters).

Tuition and fees are based on the published 2008-2009 schedules for new graduate students.


  • Note: These are not official numbers for the financial affidavit filed to receive an I-20. Only International Admissions can provide official numbers for this purpose.
  • In-State Students: A two-thirds Graduate Assistantship pays a stipend of approximately $4693. With tuition waivers equivalent to $237.34 per credit hour, the total value is approximately $11,813 for a student taking all 30 hours of credit during the year of the assistantship.
  • Out-of-State and International Students: A two-thirds Graduate Assistantship pays a stipend of approximately $4693. With tuition waivers equivalent to $474.68 per credit hour, the total value is approximately $18,933 for a student taking all 30 hours of credit during the year of the assistantship.

How many hours can be transferred into the MA in Economics?

  • Transfer credits are approved by the School of Graduate Studies or the Graduate Council only after the student has been admitted to candidacy for a degree. Petitions for transfer of graduate credit must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, and official transcripts recording the transfer courses must be sent directly from the registrar of that institution to the School of Graduate Studies. No course credit may be transferred unless the grade received was at least a B. If approved by the Department, a student may transfer a maximum of six semester hours of approved graduate credit from an accredited institution. Students may petition to the Graduate Council, with the approval of the adviser and the Departmental Graduate Committee, for additional hours to be accepted from other accredited institutions.