Graduate students

Graduate students in Applied Econometrics, taught by Associate Professor Michael Anderson. Photo: Jim Block

We welcome your application for our Ph.D. program for the FALL term.

Your online application must be received by the deadline posted on the main Graduate Admissions website.  Your application must be complete to be reviewed for admission, including all supplemental materials, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and official test scores.  PLEASE NOTE DEADLINE DATE CUTOFF TIME. ALL APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY TUESDAY DECEMBER 1st, 2020, by 8:59PM  *PACIFIC STANDARD TIME*. The online application site will automatically lockdown at 9:00PM, 12/01/20.

NOTE: We cannot recommend students for fellowships until their applications are complete (including receipt of test scores).

We do not admit students for the Spring term or for a terminal Master's degree.

Please contact ARE's Graduate Student Advisor Carmen Karahalios with questions regarding your application, carmenk@berkeley.edu.

Criteria for Graduate Student Admission

Due to the limited number of students we are allowed to recommend for admission, we are not able to recommend admission for all of the applicants who meet all of our qualifications. These guidelines are designed to help potential students strengthen their applications. For example, students who lack strong training in economics or mathematics may want to take additional courses before applying.

Every year, a committee of faculty members and graduate students considers potential applicants for admission to the graduate program in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Since the composition of this committee changes frequently and the pool of applicants changes each year, we do not use rigid rules in determining admissions. Nonetheless, the following guidelines are used as a starting point in our deliberations.

Entire Record

Our objective is to admit an excellent group of individuals who will do well in our program and profession. We undertake a holistic admissions review that takes into account an applicant’s full record. We consider personal circumstances and emphasize the importance of diversity. We want to increase the number of students from groups that have been underrepresented in higher education.  

Formal Records

Formal records are relied upon heavily. We will not consider a student with a grade point average (GPA) below 3.0, which is the University's minimum standard for graduate admission. Typically, we consider the overall GPA, the economics GPA, and the GPA in mathematics, statistics, and other quantitative methods, with particularly heavy weight placed on the economics and mathematics grades.

Many of our applicants have a Master's degree in agricultural economics or economics from other institutions. When grades in graduate courses are available, we put greater weight on those than on undergraduate grades.

Standardized Tests

We encourage applicants to provide as much relevant information as possible. If possible, we recommend that you submit your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. We place relatively more weight on the quantitative score, but we consider the others as well. We understand that due to the coronavirus, taking a GRE may be difficult or impossible. Thus, submitting GRE scores is optional, and you will not be penalized if you do not include them.

Personal Statement

We place substantial weight on the applicant’s essay. We are looking for students who have clear and reasonable objectives. We want to know why the applicant wants to study agricultural and resource economics at Berkeley and how the applicant will use this training after graduation.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are given considerable attention. We put particular weight on letters from people who have previously recommended students who have done well in our program.

Papers and Publications

Preparing graduate students for a research career is our primary objective. Therefore, we place substantial weight on evidence of research potential. We particularly value sole-authored research such as undergraduate honors papers and masters degree theses. We also heavily weight both sole- and joint-authored papers, especially those that are published or under review.

Coursework and Employment Experience

We only admit students who have prior training in economics and quantitative methods. At the very minimum, a student must have taken intermediate level micro-economics and macro-economics courses and a year of calculus. Successful applicants have usually taken courses in linear algebra, statistics, econometrics and a significant number of undergraduate economics courses at the intermediate and upper level. Students need to have completed a course in real and functional analysis equivalent to Berkeley’s Math 104 before being allowed to take the graduate microeconomics theory sequence at Berkeley. We highly recommend taking such a course before arriving at Berkeley. If you have taken a real analysis course in another university, please upload the syllabus with your application.

We may make exceptions for students who do not meet these guidelines if they have other characteristics or experiences that we believe are important, such as professional experience or graduate training in fields relevant to the core research interests of the department, yet academic preparation is an excellent predictor of success in our graduate program.

International Students

We encourage applications from other countries. In previous years, international students have comprised at least one-quarter of the entering class each fall.

International students are required to show competency in English, with a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 68 for the internet-based test, 230 in the computer-based test, or 570 for the paper test.

In evaluating an international student's background, we are sometimes unfamiliar with the grading system used, the content of courses, etc. We recommend that foreign students provide an official explanation of the grading system and explain in some detail the content of the courses they have taken.

Preparing for Graduate Admissions

An applicant should hold a degree comparable to a Bachelor's degree at the University of California and must have demonstrated strong scholarship potential. The degree need not be in agricultural or resource economics.

Preparation in Math and Statistics (Equivalent Berkeley course in parentheses)

  • Calculus (at Berkeley, Math 1A/B)
  • Multivariate Calculus (Math 53)
  • Introduction to Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (Math 54)
  • An Introduction to Statistics (Stat 131)
  • Real and Functional Analysis (Math 104)

Preparation in Economics

  • Principles (ECON 1 or EEP 1)
  • Intermediate Micro (Econ 100A or EEP 100)
  • Intermediate Macro (Econ 100B)
  • Recommended: Upper division courses such as public finance, labor, trade, industrial organization and environmental economics

GRE and TOEFL

Institutional code: 4833
Department code for the GRE: 0101
TOEFL code: 31

The GRE scores are part of a standard application, but they are optional due to the coronavirus pandemic. They may be omitted without prejudice.  

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to take the TOEFL. Please see the Graduate Application forms for more complete information regarding the GRE and TOEFL, and qualification for exemption of the TOEFL test.

International students are required to show competency in English, with a minimum TOEFL score of 90 for the internet-based test, 230 in the computer-based test, or 570 for the paper test.

It is very important that potential applicants arrange to take the GRE and TOEFL examinations early. We recommend that you take them by October or November. Official scores from the December tests may not reach us in time for applicants to be considered for fellowship awards.