Economics and Decision Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions by International Students about the MA Program

Are international students eligible for financial aid?

  • The only form of financial aid available to international students is a Graduate Assistantship. However, because we are a state-supported institution and receive federal funds, we do give some preference to Illinois residents and U.S. citizens. That is, if three students had the same GPA and were otherwise identical, we would rank the Illinois resident first, the U.S. citizen not an Illinois resident second, and the international student third.
  • It is important that international students meet the University's English proficiency requirements and have a regular admission to the MA in Economics. We are not permitted to offer a graduate assistantship to international students who have not met these requirements. Also, international students cannot be awarded an assistantship if there are any course deficiencies.

Do you directly admit international students or must they transfer in from another American institution?

  • We directly admit international students. There is no requirement that they be coming from another American institution. There is no requirement that international students transfer in from another American institution to receive financial aid. Perhaps the best evidence we can offer is that we have had students in the program from more than 60 countries in recent years and almost all were directly admitted.

Are international students charged higher tuition and fees than other students?

  • *There is no special "surcharge" on international students. However, since we are a state-supported institution, we are required to charge out-of-state tuition to all non-Illinois residents which is a greater amount that in-state tuition. This is a standard practice among state-supported universities in the United States.

What are the language requirements for admission to the Master of Arts in Economics?

  • A TOEFL of 550 (paper) or 213 (computer) is required. The TOEFL examination must have been taken no more than two years before the semester in which you will first enroll. Another alternative is to pass the WESL (Western's English as a Second Language) Placement Examination. Some international students who do not have a 550 (paper) or 213 (computer) TOEFL, or who do not pass the WESL test outright, may be able to enroll as dual students taking WESL and University courses. These students take WESL classes one-half of the day but are able to enroll in up to six hours of classes. Check with WESL Program for details.

Are letters of recommendation required for the Graduate Application for Admission?

  • *No. However, three letters of recommendation are required to apply for a Graduate Assistantship Application. A Graduate Assistantship cannot be awarded unless all of the above items have been received. These materials must be sent to the Graduate School. Have references write their letters of recommendation on the appropriate letterhead. There is no special form.

What do I need to send in the way of transcripts?

  • You must send all transcripts from all institutions of higher education that you have attended. These transcripts must be originals and must arrive in a sealed envelope that bears the same stamped seal that appears on the transcript.
  • Students from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar must be sure that the transcripts are from their University and not their college.
  • Students from China must submit an original transcript in Chinese, an English translation, bachelors degree diploma, and graduation certificate.
  • These must arrive in the same sealed and stamped envelope. For clarification of these requirements, consult the materials sent by the Graduate School and/or International Admissions.

Can I fax my financial affidavit?

  • Only as temporary evidence. Originals must be sent immediately after the fax. Only original signatures and documents are acceptable. If you are self-financing, then your signature must be an original signature. If a sponsor or guarantor is signing, only original signatures are acceptable. A letter from your sponsor or guarantor is acceptable but it must have an original signature. An original bank statement or letter must accompany the financial affidavit. Copies are not acceptable.

What is the deadline for applying to the MA in Economics?

  • Your file must be complete no later than sixty (60) days before the first day of class. That is, all of the documents required for regular admission (see above) must be in your file.