Application submission

We answer questions about the specific steps in the application submission process.

Statement of Purpose & Personal History

What should I write in the Statement of Purpose and in the Personal History Statement?

The Statement of Purpose should explain why you want to earn a Ph.D. in Economics and describe the kind of work you hope to do professionally after earning your Ph.D. The Personal History Statement should discuss your own history and what led to your interest in economics. Be sure to include both of these statements in your online application. Do not skip either one of them, or your application will be permanently incomplete.

Submit transcripts before application?

Will sending my transcripts before submitting the application create a problem?

Yes. Do NOT submit transcripts by mail. See the instructions about transcripts on the online admission application.

Do paper documents improve chances?

Can I improve my admission chances if I send other paper documents?

No. Application materials must be submitted online only, and will be viewed online only.  Do not send any paper documents.  See the latest instructions on the online admission application.

Paper document submission

Can I submit the Statement of Purpose, Personal History Statement or C.V. / résumé by paper instead of online?

No. These items must be submitted ONLINE ONLY, along with the online admission application. Make certain that these are included online, along with your admission application, before you submit your application. If any of these items is not included online with your application, your application will be permanently incomplete. The system has no provision for you to add them after the application has been submitted, and paper versions are not acceptable, without exception.

Area of specialization

In the online admission application, I am asked to describe area of specialization. To what does this refer?

If you already have specialized areas of interest in economics that you would like to list or discuss, that question gives you the opportunity to do so, in 350 words or fewer. If you do not yet have any specialized areas of interest in Economics that is OK, and you can leave that part blank. The Graduate Handbook lists specialty areas within the Ph.D. program.

Form for letters of recommendation?

Is a specific form required for submitting recommendation letters?

No. Remember to direct your recommenders to submit their letters ONLINE ONLY, as directed on the online application. Paper letters are not acceptable, without exception. If any recommender does not want to submit a letter online, instead ask a different recommender who is willing to submit one online.

How many letters of recommendation?

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Three letters of recommendation are required.

Limit for letters of recommendation

May I submit four recommendation letters instead of three?

No. The online system can accept no more than three letters, which must be submitted online only. Recommendation letters cannot be submitted by mail or by any means other than online.

Must letters be from professors?

Do letters of recommendation have to be from professors?

Letters from professors who have taught you economics are preferable. However, if you have been out of school for a long time or do not think professors would remember you well enough to write good letters in your behalf, you can submit letters from employers instead. You must decide which three people would give you the best, most appropriate recommendations.

How to submit recommendations online

How can my recommenders submit online recommendation letters?

After you have marked your online application "complete" and submitted it, each of the recommenders you have listed on it should receive an automatic email that tells them how to submit an online letter.

Replacing an intended recommender

If one of my recommenders is unable to submit a letter online, can I have a different recommender submit an online letter instead?

If a recommender has not yet submitted an online recommendation letter and you want to have a different recommender submit an online letter instead, you can change the recommender's name on your admission application. This will work only if the recommender you want to change has not yet submitted an online letter.

Can I change a submitted application?

If I discover after I submit my online application that I made a mistake on it, will I be able to change it?

No. Once the online application has been completed and submitted, changes can no longer be made. Requests to rescind an application once it has been submitted will be denied. Also, applications submitted to a wrong major cannot be transferred to another major; applicants who apply to a wrong major must submit another complete application to the correct program, including a separate application fee. Be certain that your application is complete and accurate before you click the "submit" button. The application fee is nonrefundable.

Reapplying after denial of admission

If an applicant was denied admission to the graduate program for the upcoming academic year, can he or she apply again for the following fall?

Yes. If you applied for admission for the upcoming or current academic year and were denied admission, you should find out the reasons for denial and improve those areas of your academic record, then send evidence of improvement when you apply again. For instance, if you were denied admission due to low GRE scores, you should retake the GRE exam and submit better GRE scores when you reapply. If your grades were not competitive, you should take further course work and achieve better grades, so you can submit a newer transcript with evidence of better grades when you apply again. You'll need to submit a new online admission application and all materials again, using the same application process as any new applicant.

How many admissions each year?

How many applicants are admitted to the graduate program each year?


For fall 2017, of 356 applicants, 64 were admitted; of those 18 enrolled at UC Davis, of which 10 were international students.

For fall 2016, of 325 applicants, 81 were admitted; of those, 19 enrolled at UC Davis, of which 13 were international students.

For fall 2015, of 331 applicants, 66 were admitted; of those, 20 enrolled at UC Davis, of which 13 were international students.

For fall 2014, of 292 applicants, 67 were admitted; of those, 17 enrolled at UC Davis, of which seven were international students.