PhD Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about the PhD Program at Chicago Booth? See our frequently asked questions below for answers to some of the questions we hear most often.
No. The program is full time and takes about five years to complete:
- First Year: Students take a full schedule of courses (9–12 courses) and work on a research project during the Summer Quarter.
- Second Year: Students take a full schedule of courses (9–12 courses), work on a research project during the Summer Quarter, namely the curriculum paper, and must register for and attend the weekly workshop in their dissertation area all three quarters.
- Third Year: Students take only a partial schedule of courses (if needed) and begin their dissertation proposal in the Spring and Summer Quarters, and must register for and attend the weekly workshop in their dissertation area all three quarters.
- Fourth Year: Students take courses (if needed) and make substantial progress on their dissertation proposal. Often they propose their dissertation.
- Fifth Year: Students devote their full time to writing a dissertation and proposal (if they haven't already) and defending their dissertation.
Yes. If you take all the required courses for the MBA, you may receive the degree after you successfully propose your dissertation.
Students are generally awarded a fellowship that includes tuition, student-only premiums for the university’s student health insurance plan, and a stipend. Visit the Financial Aid page for additional information.
No. Prior coursework at the graduate level will not reduce your time to degree. There is very little overlap between MBA and PhD level coursework (even if your MBA was earned from Chicago Booth).
Explore predoctoral opportunities on the Pathways to Research and Doctoral Careers (PREDOC) website. PREDOC is a consortium of universities and research institutions that aims to foster a talented, diverse, and inclusive population in the quantitative social sciences.
Approximately 20–25 new PhD students matriculate each fall, selected from between around 730-900 applicants in a given year. All applications in a single dissertation area are reviewed at the same time and in comparison with each other following the submission deadline of December 15. We do not do rolling admissions or early reviews. The application reviewers base their decisions on all the information in an applicant’s file including the essay, academic background and performance, research interest and potential, prior exposure to academic research, the strength of the recommendations, and scores on the GMAT or the GRE (when required). The review process takes place between December 15 and February 28, with admissions decisions sent out by email in early March.
Chicago Booth is not requiring the GRE/GMAT for admission to the PhD Program in Fall 2023. Applicants without a GRE/GMAT will be given full consideration. Applicants who do not submit a GRE/GMAT score for the Fall 2023 application do not need to seek a waiver or submit a request, as submission of these scores is strictly optional for most applicants. If you are planning to apply to the Joint Program in Financial Economics, you are still required to submit your GRE score.
If you do decide to submit your test scores, most dissertation areas accept either the GMAT or the GRE, with the following exceptions:
- Economics: GRE only (GMAT not accepted) for those submitting optional scores
- Finance: for those submitting optional scores, GRE is strongly preferred; GMAT is acceptable
- Joint Program in Financial Economics: GRE is required
- Joint Program in Psychology and Business: for those submitting optional scores, GRE is preferred; GMAT is acceptable
There is no minimum cutoff score for the GRE/GMAT in order for your file to be reviewed.
For Fall 2023, the GRE/GMAT is optional for most applicants. However, applicants to the Joint Program in Financial Economics are required to submit the GRE in order to be considered.
If I already have an MBA or other advanced degree, do I still have to submit GRE or GMAT scores to apply?
For Fall 2023 applications, the GRE/GMAT is optional, except for those applying to the Joint Program in Financial Economics. For applicants to the Joint Program, prior coursework or degrees at the graduate level do not exempt you from submitting a valid GRE score.
Although test scores are optional for most applicants for Fall 2023, your scores will be considered expired if the test was taken more than five years prior to the application deadline. If you took the test before December 15, 2017, your scores will be considered expired. The PhD Program Office retains received test scores for two years.
What is the latest date to take the GRE or the GMAT to get the official scores to your office on time?
For those applying to the Joint Program in Financial Economics (and those who choose to submit optional scores), test scores should reach our office by the application deadline, December 15. Therefore, applicants should consider taking the test by September, since the results of later tests may not be available until after our admissions deadline.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of international applicants whose native language is not English. For TOEFL/IELTS waiver policies, please see the International Applicants page.
TOEFL/IELTS scores are valid for two years. Your score will be considered expired if the test was taken more than two years prior to the December 15 deadline.
We require all applicants to submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation (preferably from academic sources) as part of their application, although we will accept up to four.
Yes. You must submit both original (native) language records and official English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records, and must be prepared or verified by your institution or someone whose position requires knowledge of both English and the original language (e.g., a certified translator).
Unofficial transcripts and facsimiles of transcripts are not acceptable. If your institution’s teaching medium is English, you should submit the transcript with an official letter from your institution stating that they provide transcripts only in the English language.
Our application fee is $80, is nonrefundable, and must be paid online by credit card.
No. Because of the large number of applications we receive, we are unable to notify students when we receive applications and if they are incomplete. Chicago Booth uses a "self-managed application" for the PhD Program. Once you have submitted your online application, you will be able to check the status of your application materials (both those submitted by you and those submitted by external sources, such as letters of recommendations and test scores) by logging back into the online application system and clicking "Open Application." From this screen, you will be able to determine the status of your application (submitted, received, etc.) and which, if any, of your supplementary materials have not been received.
I see a red X and an "awaiting" notification next to one of my applicant checklist items, should I worry?
During the application process, you may see a red X next to some of the items on your applicant check list (which can be viewed in your applicant status portal). This is not a cause for alarm and we have a few important things to note:
- The red X does not mean that your application is being stalled from review, nor will it impact the review itself. We do not use this checklist to determine which files are sent for review, the checklist is purely for applicants to monitor the status of their external materials (such as letters of recommendation and test scores).
- If you have submitted your test scores, been granted an application fee waiver, or are eligible for a TOEFL waiver and are seeing the red X, this does not mean that your scores have not been received or that you are not getting one of these waivers (though for application fee waivers, you need to determine your eligibility from the FAQ page and contact the PhD Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your eligibility, and for TOEFL/IELTS waivers, you will need to confirm your eligibility on the International Applicants page, and be sure to upload an official transcript from the qualifying institution in the case of eligibility by virtue of education). A red X next to an item on the checklist most often means that we simply have not reached your application for processing yet. Test scores, fee waivers, and TOEFL/IELTS waivers are all added manually by our team, and we will not match test scores or add waivers until an application has been submitted and we reach it in the queue for processing. Due to the high number of applications we receive and the timing of the deadline so close to our winter break, it will take us until around mid-January (or possibly longer) to finish processing all applications, in which case, the red X next to your checklist item may remain there for that long as well. However, as long as your have sent your test scores to the correct codes and/or confirmed your eligibility for one of the waivers and followed the necessary instructions, the red X will be removed once we reach your application for processing, and it will be replaced by a green check. If for some reason the red X remains, please keep in mind that this checklist is for your information only and does not prevent your application from going for review (unless all or most of the checklist items are marked with a red X and an "awaiting" status as reviews begin in late December/January).
Applicants from the previous year should complete a new application online for 2022 (available by early September 2021). The deadline will be December 15, 2021. Reapplicants should also contact the PhD Office to indicate that they are reapplying. Reapplicants must complete the following sections of the application:
- Program information
- Personal information
- Test scores - GMAT/GRE taken within five years of application deadline; TOEFL/IELTS taken within two years of application deadline (send any updated test scores)
- Academic background (upload previous and updated transcripts)
- Work experience/resume (updated since last application)
- Updated letters of recommendation (optional, but recommended)
- Updated essays (optional, but strongly recommended)
We can use the test scores from your previous application (as long as the test scores are still valid). We recommend that you get new letters of recommendation and write a new essay, but that is optional. Reapplicants are required to pay the $80 application fee.