PhD in Economics


This information refers to the 2022-2023 admissions process.

Application process. To apply, you must submit an online application form, available here, and upload the required documents. Below you will find a detailed description of the application process. The application and funding deadlines apply to complete applications. An application is complete when all the required documents have been received.

Calendar. Applications are open from 15 November 2021 until 31 May 2022. Early applications are strongly encouraged. The deadline to be eligible for funding is 31 January 2022.

Funding. We offer scholarships and/or tuition waivers on an academic-merit basis to students of all nationalities. To apply for funding, please select the appropriate checkbox on the application form. Note that, to be eligible, your complete application must be received by 31 January 2022.

Admission criteria. We select students with the highest potential. No single factor is decisive, but you may infer the relative importance of the different factors from the following weights: prior academic background and GRE scores (50%), command of the English language (20%), reference letters (20%), and statement of purpose (10%).

When to expect a decision. If you have submitted your application by 31 January 2022, you can expect to receive a decision no later than 28 February 2022. If you have submitted an application after this date, you can expect a decision no later than 15 June 2022.

Undergraduate degree. Degree in a related discipline such as economics, business, mathematics, physics, engineering, etc. If you have not yet completed your undergraduate studies, you can postpone submitting your diploma until you effectively join the program in September 2022. Please note that having successfully completed your undergraduate studies is compulsory to enroll.

Graduate degree. Degree in a related discipline (if applicable).

Graduate record examination (GRE). You will need to submit your GRE scores. Although we encourage early submission of complete applications, you may submit your application and add the GRE scores later on, before the deadline. In particular, to be eligible for funding, your complete application (including GRE scores as well as all other required documents) must be received by 31 January 2022. CEMFI's ETS institutional code for the GRE is 7046.

Proof of English knowledge. We accept one of the following three exams: the TOEFL iBT (minimum score of 100), the IELTS (minimum score of 7), or Cambridge Assessment English (either the Advance or the Proficiency certificate). Although we encourage early submission of English test scores, you may submit your application first and add the scores later. Your application will not be complete until this score has been submitted. CEMFI's institutional code for the TOEFL is 7964.
Nationals of an English-speaking country or students who earned their undergraduate degree from an institution located in an English-speaking country are exempted from this requirement. If you are unsure whether this waiver applies to you, please contact us here.

Reference letters. You will need (at least) two confidential reference letters from faculty who know you well as a student. In the application form, you will be asked to fill out two (or more) letter writers’ names and contact details­. Once you have submitted this information (which can be done before you have completed the entire application), we will contact your letter writers on your behalf to request them to upload their letters to our online platform. Please note that to be eligible for funding, the complete application (which includes the two reference letters) must be received by 31 January 2022.

Statement of purpose. In 500 words approximately, explain your motivation to apply to CEMFI. Also include a description of your final goals and explain how our graduate program relates to your background.

Curriculum vitae. List your personal and academic data, as well as other merits you may wish to include.

Academic transcripts. Include the transcripts of all the universities and colleges attended. If applicable, you must also include transcripts of all your graduate work.

For further questions about applications and the program, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section. This section provides detailed answers to common questions. You can also contact us here.

Location. 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 .

Accommodation. Typically, students rent apartments, sharing them with their classmates or with incumbent students. To aid in the search process, there are multiple listings of inexpensive hostels if you need a place to stay while looking for accommodation. Similarly, there are also listings of rental agencies with English-speaking staff. Lastly, if you want to contact incumbent students or future classmates to ask for apartment availability, let us know and we will help you to get in touch with them.

Cost of living in Madrid. The cost of living in Madrid is comparable to the cost of living in many European capitals. Based on the information provided by incumbent students, living expenses total about EUR 850 per month (i.e., EUR 8,500 for a 10-month academic year). These expenses include accommodation in a shared apartment, which are in the range €350-€500.

Transportation. Madrid has an excellent public transport system (subway, buses and suburban trains). There are monthly public transport passes that, at affordable prices, allow unlimited travel in different modes of transportation within designated zones. When travelling from the airport to downtown Madrid, you can take a taxi for a 30€ flat fee. You can also use the subway or the local trains .

Typically, our PhD students do their coursework and obtain a master degree with us, and this is the usual path to enter our PhD program. However, students holding an equivalent degree from another institution who can prove excellent knowledge and research abilities may apply for direct access to the research stage. Typically, these are students who have an outstanding academic record and could have continued their studies at their home institution but are applying to CEMFI because of a specific faculty-field match.

(1) If you wish your application to be considered for direct access to the research stage, please use the application form for direct access and include the documentation listed. Applications for direct access to the research stage must be completed by April 23th. In order to start your application, use the application form, available here

(2) Please note that applications for direct access to the research stage are not considered for admission to the coursework stage at CEMFI. If you wish to be considered for admission to pursue your doctoral studies at CEMFI, starting with the coursework stage, you need to submit the application available here, together with all the required documentation. Please note that different deadlines apply.

(3) If you wish to be considered for both direct access and coursework stage access, you need to submit two separate applications, available here and here. Please note that the documentation must also be uploaded twice.