Frequently Asked Questions – PhD in Economics

This section is arranged as a series of questions and answers. Click on the questions to see the answers.

    1. Program

  • Are the degrees official?

    Yes, they are. In 2006, CEMFI signed a degree agreement with the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo. By this agreement, students of our Master in Economics and Finance and our PhD in Economics are awarded official Master and PhD degrees upon successful completion of their studies. In most countries, the distinction between official and non-official degrees is immaterial as the quality of a degree is guaranteed by the granting institution itself. In Spain and in several other European countries, the State may review the quality of the program, in which case it is designated to be an official degree.

    How long does it take to complete the program?

    Typically, it takes five to six years to complete the two stages, coursework and research.

    Can I start in January?

    The program starts in September, without exceptions. For the exact dates, please see the 2018-2019 Academic Calendar in the following link.

    Can I enroll as a part-time student?

    We only accept students with a full-time status.

    In the coursework stage, will I take elective courses?

    Yes, you will. The spring term of the first year and the fall and winter terms of the second year are devoted to taking elective courses. You will be choosing electives from a wide range of fields of specialization. For more information on current offerings, please visit Courses Section in the following link

    Can I do an internship while enrolled in the program?

    In the summer of the first year, you may enroll in CEMFI’s internship program. This program covers a wide range of interests and fields in Economics.

    2. Tuition fees, scholarships and tuition waivers

    What are program’s tuition and administrative fees?

    Please visit the Tuition and Administrative Fees in the following link.

    Does CEMFI offer scholarships and/or tuition waivers?

    CEMFI does offer scholarships and/or tuition waivers to students of all nationalities on an academic-merit basis. For more information, please visit the Tuition Waivers and Scholarships Section in the following link.

    I am applying for an external scholarship, could you please send me the code of CEMFI’s Graduate Program?

    The code is P01Y.

    What is the criterion for being accepted with financial aid?

    The criterion is academic merit. CEMFI’s financial aid offers are independent of the student’s country of origin. To be eligible, your complete application must be received by 15 February 2018. For more information, please visit the Tuition Waivers and Scholarships Section in the following link.

    How can I apply for financial aid?

    You must select the appropriate checkbox in the application form and submit the complete application by 15 February 2018. Applications received after this date will not be eligible.

    3. Admissions

    Is there an application fee?

    No, there is not.

    Can I apply online?

    Yes, you can. Indeed, we only accept online applications.

    When should I apply?

    Admissions are open from 15 November 2017 until 12 April 2018 or when we reach capacity (whichever occurs first). Early applications are strongly encouraged.

    What is the application deadline?

    The application deadline is 12 April 2018. However, if you are applying for financial aid, then the deadline is 15 February 2018 (applications received after this date will not be eligible). Deadlines apply to complete applications. The Admissions Committee will not consider incomplete applications.

    When is an application complete? Do the deadlines apply to complete applications?

    To apply, you must submit the online application form and send all the required documents. Deadlines apply to complete applications. An application is only considered complete when all the required documentation and information has been received.

    When should I expect to receive a decision?

    If you have submitted your application by 15 February 2018, you can expect a decision by 15 March 2018, at the latest. If you have submitted an application after this date, you can expect a decision by 8 May 2018, at the latest.

    What happens if I withdraw an accepted offer?

    Accepting an offer is a binding commitment. If, because of unforeseen exceptional circumstances, you have to withdraw your acceptance, please let us know as soon as possible. This may allow us to extend your offer to another candidate.

    Can I get early feedback on my chances of being admitted?

    We are afraid we cannot offer early feedback. The Admissions Committee will evaluate your application once it is complete and following the announced calendar.

    I would like to first pursue CEMFI's Master in Economics and Finance to later apply for a PhD at an institution different than CEMFI. In my application, should I select the option "Master in Economics and Finance" or should I, instead, select "PhD in Economics"?

    Please select the option Master in Economics and Finance.

    4. Admission requirements

    What are the admission requirements?

    For complete information, visit the Requirements Section in the following link. Being brief, the compulsory requirements are: undergraduate degree by the time you join the program (if you have not yet completed your undergraduate studies, you can postpone submitting your degree until you effectively join the program in September 2018), GRE scores, curriculum vitae, statement of purpose, academic transcripts of all universities and colleges attended (including all previous graduate work if any), two reference letters and proof of English knowledge (unless you meet the waiver criteria).

    What undergraduate degree provides me with the best background to pursue your program?

    Given the quantitative and analytical content of our program, undergraduate degrees in Economics, Business Administration, Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, etc., are best suited.

    5. Proof of English knowledge

    Do I need English test scores to apply? Which test should I take?

    You need the test scores of the TOEFL exam (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS exam (British Council International English Language Testing System). These are the minimum requirements: TOEFL score of 100 or IELTS score of 7. Nationals of an English-speaking country or students who earned their undergraduate degree from an institution located in an English-speaking country are waived of this requirement.

    What is CEMFI’s TOEFL code?

    CEMFI’s code is 7964.

    Do you accept Cambridge Certificates as proof of knowledge of English language?

    No, we do not. We only accept TOEFL and IELTS test scores.

    Do I have to wait until I have taken the TOEFL/IELTS exams to submit my application?

    You may submit your application at an earlier date. If you do so, please list on the application form your test date. Once you receive the English test scores, email them to us at and we will update your application. Do not forget that your application will be not be complete until we have received all the required documentation and information. Deadlines apply to complete applications.

    ETS is sending my test scores. In the meantime, can I upload my ETS test scores report?

    Yes, you can. If you have the ETS test scores report, you can upload it with your application. Once we receive the original from ETS, we will add it to your application.

    6. GRE test scores

    Do I need the GRE scores to apply?

    Yes, you do.

    What is the minimum score for the GRE?

    There is no specific cutoff grade for the GRE. However, as admissions to our program are highly competitive, most of our students have very high GRE scores, particularly on the quantitative reasoning measure. The Admissions Committee assesses applications based on prior academic background and GRE scores, command of the English language, reference letters, and statement of purpose.

    What is CEMFI’s GRE code?

    Our GRE code is 7046.

    Do I need to wait until I have the GRE test scores to submit my application?

    You may submit your application at an earlier date. If you do so, please list on the application form your test date. Once you receive the GRE test scores, email them to us at and we will update your application. Do not forget that your application will not be complete until we have received all the required documents and information. Deadlines apply to complete applications.

    When should I take the GRE exam?

    The sooner the better. Keep in mind that some countries have limited testing availability. Please check the ETS website for availability information.

    7. Letters of recommendation

    Who can be a letter writer?

    Suitable letter writers are professors and/or supervisors who know you well and can attest to your intellectual ability, academic performance, relative strengths and weaknesses, work ethic, ability to work in teams, etc. When filling out the application form, you will be asked to specify your letter writers’ contact details.

    Can I submit the letters on behalf of my letter writers?

    The letters are confidential and can only be uploaded by your letter writers. CEMFI will contact your letter writers on your behalf requesting that they upload their letter to our system.

    Can CEMFI contact my letter writers before I complete my application?

    After filling out the letter writers contact details and some basic information about you (the fields in blue font in sections I and II of the application form), the online system will let you submit each letter writer’s contact details without submitting the entire appplication form. Please note, once submitted, the letter writer details as well as the field in blue font cannot be modified. After you submit this part of the application form, CEMFI will contact your letter writers on your behalf with instructions on how to upload their letters to CEMFI’s online platform. We will send you a notification once the letters have been received. Keep in mind that your application is not complete until (at least) two letters of recommendation have been received.

    Will CEMFI let me know that the letters have been received?

    Yes, we will. You will receive an email from us once the letters have been received.

    I have earned a Master’s degree from another institution. Can I apply to the research stage, skipping the coursework stage?

    Typically, our PhD students do their coursework with us. Students holding an equivalent degree from another institution who can prove excellent knowledge and research abilities in Economics, may apply for direct access to the research stage. To do so, in point 9 of the application form please indicate that you wish to apply for direct access to the research stage.

    8. Online application platform

    How can I recover my username and/or password?

    Please access here the online platform’s password/username recovery options.

    What can I do if I encounter technical difficulties with the online application platform?

    Here are common problems and their solutions.

    • - Use Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer. Other browsers may not be fully supported.
    • - Do not use your browser's "back", "forward" and "refresh" buttons while completing the application form. This may result in loss of data and/or the system logging you out.
    • - Check that you have filled out all the required information. Missing required information will not allow you to submit the application form.
    • - Check that your Internet access has not been interrupted and/or is not too slow. This may result in loss of data.
    • - Submitted applications cannot be modified.
    • - Only upload documents when you are ready to submit your application. Leaving the online platform after some documents have been attached may result in loss of data.

    9. Placement

    Does CEMFI have a Placement Office?

    Yes, it does. Our Placement Office provides students with the information and training necessary to succeed in the global job market. This support includes listings of job vacancies, presentations of international institutions, and direct and careful advice on how to prepare for the job market.

    Does CEMFI have an Alumni Association? Will it help me through my future career?

    Yes, CEMFI has an Alumni Association. One of its main roles is to keep an active job board that former students can use all through their careers.

    Where can I learn more about placements?

    You can visit here for more information.

    10. Practical Information for Incoming Students

    Where is CEMFI located?

    CEMFI is located in a quiet but very central area of Madrid, between the Retiro Park and the Prado Museum, in a beautiful historical building that dates back to 1887. You can learn more about CEMFI's location here and download a pdf map here .

    Can I visit CEMFI?

    Our website will help you learn about us. Of course, if you would like to visit CEMFI and meet our staff, students, and faculty, you are more than welcome to do so. Please contact to schedule your visit.

    How can I find accommodation in Madrid?

    Typically, students rent apartments, sharing them with their classmates or with incumbent students. To aid in the search process, we have a list of inexpensive hostels in case you need a place to stay while looking for accommodation. We also have a list of rental agencies with English-speaking staff. If you would like to contact incumbent students or future classmates to ask for apartment availability, do let us know and we will help you get in touch with them.

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