Empowering the Future: A Deep Dive into the Stanford Economics Program

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students talking in the school campus.

Empowering the Future: A Deep Dive into the Stanford Economics Program

Transform your future with the prestigious Stanford economics program, where world-class faculty, groundbreaking research, and a vibrant community come together to shape tomorrow’s leaders and innovators.

Let’s set the stage. You’re at Stanford University, one of the finest academic institutions on the planet, and you’re part of a program that’s more than just supply and demand curves. Stanford’s economics program is where curiosity meets opportunity, where today’s economic mysteries transform into tomorrow’s solutions.

This program doesn’t just teach you economics—it immerses you in the bustling bazaar of ideas, connecting you with like-minded thinkers and leading scholars.

Female student using a laptop while studying on her desk.

So buckle up, future economists! It’s time to dive into the fun, fascinating, and oh-so-relevant world of Stanford’s economics program. After all, who said economics couldn’t be the life of the party?

Does Stanford have an economics program?

Does Stanford have an economics program? In the heart of California, there’s an economic powerhouse that’s been producing groundbreaking research and world-class economists since its inception.

Stanford University’s economics department, part of the School of Humanities and Sciences, started its journey in the late 19th century, with the university itself being established in 1885. In the 1940s and 1950s, the department saw a significant increase in faculty and graduate students, which led to its transformation into a leading center for research and teaching in economics.

2 female students studying inside a library

Today, Stanford’s economics department is one of the top-ranked departments globally, with its programs being renowned for their blend of rigorous academic study, practical application, and a dash of that unique Californian innovation.

What are the admission requirements for the economics program at Stanford University?

What are the admission requirements for the economics program at Stanford University? Stanford University is renowned for its exceptional academic programs and rigorous admission standards. The economics program at Stanford is particularly well-regarded, attracting talented students from around the globe.

If you aspire to study economics at Stanford, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the admission requirements to maximize your chances of acceptance. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of the admissions process for the economics program at Stanford University.

Academic Prerequisites

The Stanford economics program, as you might guess, has a reputation for being academically rigorous. But don’t let that intimidate you! This rigorousness ensures that students entering the program have a firm grasp of the foundational knowledge they’ll need to succeed.

At the undergraduate level, the prerequisites are designed to set the stage for your journey into economics. You’ll need to have a good handle on mathematics, as it’s the language of economics.

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Courses in calculus are typically expected. Some knowledge of statistics can also be a great advantage, as it forms the backbone of many economic analyses.

For those of you with your eyes set on the graduate program, the prerequisites are a bit more advanced. You’ll need a robust background in economics, of course, but also a strong foundation in mathematics. Courses in calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical statistics are usually required.


These are like your academic fingerprints, revealing all your coursework and grades to the admissions committee. They provide evidence of your academic potential and prove you can handle the rigors of Stanford’s economics program.

For undergraduate admission, you’ll need your high school transcripts. For graduate applicants, you’ll need to submit your undergraduate (and any graduate) transcripts. Remember, Stanford likes to see challenging courses and strong grades, so take pride in your academic journey.

GPA Expectations

Stanford’s Economics Department, like most top-tier institutions, does have high expectations when it comes to GPA. After all, they’re looking for students who are not only passionate about economics but also have demonstrated academic excellence.

However, exact GPA expectations can vary, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest admissions information on the department’s official website.


While Stanford has moved towards a test-optional policy in recent years, many students still choose to submit SAT or ACT scores. A strong performance in these tests can strengthen your application. Additionally, the SAT Subject Test in Math and the SAT Subject Test in Economics are recommended but not required.


If you’re planning to pursue a master’s or Ph.D. in economics at Stanford, you’ll need to submit your GRE scores. As you probably guessed, the higher your score, the better. But how high should you aim?

While there’s no official minimum, for the quantitative section, try to aim for a score above the 90th percentile. After all, economics is a pretty math-heavy subject.

For the verbal and analytical writing sections, you’ll want to aim for the 80th percentile or higher. Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines, and every applicant is different.


If you’re joining the Stanford economics program from outside the U.S., you’ll need to prove your English language proficiency. Stanford accepts both the TOEFL and IELTS for this purpose.

For the TOEFL, you’ll need a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based test. On the IELTS, aim for an overall band score of 7.0 or higher. These are minimum requirements, so if you can score higher, that’s even better.

Extracurricular Involvement

Stanford University values applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community engagement.

Engaging in activities that align with your passion for economics, such as participating in economics-related clubs, competitions, or internships, can make your application stand out.

Additionally, highlighting any research, publications, or relevant projects can greatly enhance your candidacy.

Letters of Recommendation

These letters give Stanford a glimpse into who you are beyond your grades and test scores. For undergrads, Stanford requires three letters, preferably from two teachers in different academic subjects and one from a school counselor.

Graduate applicants need three letters as well, typically from professors or professionals who can speak to your ability to succeed in a rigorous academic environment.

College councillor talking to a student.

Choose your recommenders wisely. They should know you well enough to tell a compelling story about your skills, experiences, and potential.

Personal Statement and Essays

Just like every adventure has a story, every applicant has a personal statement. This is your chance to show Stanford what makes you tick.

Undergraduates will need to answer several essay prompts provided by the Common App and Stanford’s supplement, while graduate applicants will need to submit a statement of purpose detailing their academic interests, research experiences, and career goals.

How to apply to Stanford’s economics program?

How to apply to Stanford’s economics program? If you aspire to pursue your undergraduate or graduate studies in economics at Stanford, understanding the application process is crucial.

In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to apply to the Stanford economics program, helping you navigate the process and maximize your chances of admission.

Step 1: Choose Your Path – Undergraduate or Graduate

Our journey begins with choosing your desired destination. Are you aiming for the undergraduate or graduate program? Each path has its own specific application process.

For undergraduate studies, you’ll apply through Stanford undergraduate admissions. If you’re eyeing a master’s or Ph.D., you’ll need to apply through Stanford graduate admissions.

Step 2: Gather Your Treasure – Required Application Materials

Now that you’ve picked your path, it’s time to gather the required application materials. This is where you’ll need transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, and more. Remember, each document helps Stanford get a fuller picture of who you are and what you bring to the table.

Step 3: Craft Your Narrative – Personal Statement and Essays

Here’s where you get to show off your storytelling skills. Your personal statement and essays give you a chance to highlight your passion for economics, share your unique experiences, and convey how you will contribute to Stanford’s vibrant intellectual community.

Step 4: Pay the Piper – Application Fee

Don’t forget about the application fee. This is the toll you pay to submit your application. But don’t worry—if you’re facing financial hardship, Stanford offers fee waivers, so this shouldn’t be a barrier for you.

Step 5: Hit the Submit Button – Completing Your Application

You’ve reached the final stretch! Once you’ve gathered all your materials, crafted your narrative, and paid the fee, it’s time to hit that submit button. Take a deep breath, double-check everything, and then… click!

Step 6: The Waiting Game – Patience is the Key

Now comes arguably the hardest part: the wait. It might feel like an eternity, but remember, the admissions team is carefully reviewing every application. Keep yourself busy with other things (like studying more economics, perhaps?), and before you know it, decision day will arrive.

Step 7: Celebrate or Recalibrate – Decisions, Decisions

When you finally make your decision, one of two things will happen: celebration or recalibration. If you get in, congratulations! Celebrate this monumental achievement.

But if things don’t go your way, don’t despair. Recalibrate, reflect on your application, and consider your other options. One rejection doesn’t define your worth or your passion for economics.

Tips for Crafting a Strong Application

Are you all set to apply to the Stanford economics program but wondering how to make your application stand out from the crowd? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Read on, as this blog will guide you in creating your masterpiece application.

Show Off Your Academic Colors: Transcripts and Test Scores

The first brushstroke in your application masterpiece is your academic record. Stanford wants to see your intellectual vitality and academic potential, so make sure your transcripts and test scores reflect your best abilities. But remember, while grades and scores are important, they’re not the only colors on your palette!

Paint a Vivid Portrait: Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation can add depth and perspective to your application. Choose your recommenders wisely; they should be individuals who know you well and can highlight different aspects of your personality, skills, and experiences.

Tell Your Story: Personal Statement and Essays

Here’s where you really get to let your creativity shine! Your personal statement and essays are your chance to tell your unique story. Be authentic, be engaging, and let your true colors shine through.

Prove Your Passion: Demonstrated Interest in Economics

Stanford wants to see students who are genuinely passionate about economics. So, show them! Highlight any economics-related extracurricular activities, research projects, internships, or independent learning you’ve done. This will add a lovely hue of commitment and passion to your application artwork.

Plan Your Composition: Future Goals

Just like any great piece of art, your application should have a sense of direction and purpose. What are your future goals? How will an economics degree from Stanford help you achieve them? By showing that you have a clear plan, you’ll demonstrate your seriousness and commitment to the program.

Mind the Details: Application Completeness and Correctness

Make sure all sections are completed, all questions are answered, and all required materials are included. And don’t forget to proofread! Typos or errors can distract from the overall beauty of your application.

Submit With Confidence: Final Review and Submission

Before you submit your masterpiece, take a step back and review it. Does it accurately represent you? Does it highlight your strengths and passion for economics? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to submit with confidence!

There you have it—your guide to crafting a strong application to the Stanford economics program. Remember, just like creating a piece of art, crafting a strong application takes time, thought, and a whole lot of heart.

But with these tips, you’re well on your way to creating an application that’s not just strong, but a true masterpiece.

Where does Stanford rank in economics?

Where does Stanford rank in economics? In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, university rankings play a vital role in helping prospective students, academics, and institutions make informed decisions.

One prestigious ranking that consistently garners attention is U.S. News & World Report’s annual assessment of the Best Economics Schools. In the latest 2023-2024 rankings, Stanford University has emerged as a leading force, sharing the top spot with esteemed institutions Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

This achievement solidifies Stanford’s prowess in the field of economics and further cements its position as a world-class academic institution. Here, we delve deeper into the factors contributing to Stanford’s top ranking and explore the exceptional qualities that have propelled it to the forefront of economics education.

A Legacy of Academic Excellence

Stanford University’s commitment to academic excellence is evident across its various departments, and the Department of Economics is no exception. With a rich history spanning several decades, Stanford has consistently fostered a culture of intellectual curiosity, pushing the boundaries of economic knowledge through innovative research and teaching methodologies.

Multiracial students sitting on a bench.

The caliber of faculty members, the quality of research output, and the university’s dedication to fostering a vibrant intellectual community have all contributed to its top ranking.

World-Class Faculty and Research

One key element that distinguishes top-ranked economics programs is the quality of their faculty members. Stanford boasts a stellar roster of economists, many of whom are renowned experts in their respective fields.

These distinguished scholars not only produce cutting-edge research but also bring their expertise and real-world experience into the classroom, providing students with a valuable and well-rounded education.

The collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of research at Stanford ensures that students are exposed to a wide range of economic theories and methodologies, preparing them for the complex challenges of the global economy.

Innovative Curriculum and Teaching Methods

Stanford University understands the importance of staying at the forefront of educational innovation. The Stanford economics program continuously updates its curriculum to reflect the latest developments in the field, ensuring that students receive a comprehensive and relevant education.

The integration of data analytics, computational economics, and behavioral economics into the curriculum allows students to develop a well-rounded skill set that can be applied to real-world problem-solving.

Furthermore, Stanford embraces experiential learning opportunities such as internships, research projects, and collaborations with industry partners, providing students with invaluable hands-on experiences that complement their classroom education.

Extensive Research Opportunities and Resources

Being a top-ranked economics program, Stanford University offers abundant research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s commitment to research is reflected in its state-of-the-art facilities, extensive libraries, and access to comprehensive datasets.

Students are encouraged to engage in independent research projects, collaborate with faculty members on groundbreaking studies, and present their findings at conferences.

These experiences not only enhance students’ understanding of economic theory and empirical analysis but also foster critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to contribute meaningfully to the field.

Collaborative and Supportive Academic Environment

Stanford University prides itself on creating a collaborative and supportive academic environment that nurtures intellectual growth and fosters interdisciplinary collaboration. The Department of Economics encourages open dialogue through seminars, workshops, and research groups where students and faculty can exchange ideas, debate theories, and engage in stimulating discussions.

This collaborative spirit extends beyond the department, as Stanford offers numerous interdisciplinary programs and research centers that facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas across different fields of study.

Stanford University’s top-ranking position in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Economics Schools for the 2023-2024 academic year is a testament to its unwavering commitment to excellence in economics education.

As Stanford University continues to thrive and advance in the field of economics, it solidifies its position as a global leader in academia.

If you are interested in applying for the Stanford economics program, it is crucial to thoroughly prepare your application to showcase your academic prowess, passion for economics, and unique experiences.

To enhance your chances of gaining admission to this competitive program, it is highly recommended that you seek expert guidance and support.

Here at AdmissionSight, our experienced advisors can provide invaluable insights, personalized strategies, and expert assistance to help you navigate the intricacies of the application process.

With our guidance, you can maximize your strengths, address any weaknesses, and present a compelling application that stands out among the pool of applicants.

Don’t miss the opportunity to receive professional guidance that can significantly increase your chances of getting accepted into Stanford’s economics program. Contact us and book your initial consultation today!


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