PhD Fellowship

For students pursuing a doctoral degree in economics at George Mason University and interested in a career in academia.

Applications are currently closed. Applications for the 2025-2026 academic year will open in the Fall of 2024.


The total award of up to $160,000 (up to four years) includes: 

  • A monthly stipend
  • Full tuition support (nine credits per semester)
  • Experience as a research assistant working closely with Mercatus-affiliated Mason faculty


In order to be accepted into the PhD Fellowship program, you must either be:

  • Enrolled in Mason's PhD program in Economics 
  • Applying to Mason's PhD program in Economics 

If you are not already enrolled in Mason's PhD program in Economics, please complete the standard application for fall admission and indicate on the application that you would like to be considered for funding. 

PhD student at Mason but not in economics?

Learn more about our Dissertation Fellowship.

About the Fellowship

The PhD Fellowship is a competitive, full-time fellowship program for students pursuing a doctoral degree in economics at George Mason University. Our PhD Fellows take courses in market process economics, public choice, and institutional analysis and work on projects that use these lenses to understand global prosperity and social change. Successful PhD Fellows have secured tenure-track positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in Europe. Fellows will join a network of Mercatus students, alumni, and scholars who are conducting and engaging with cutting edge research in contemporary political economy.

PhD About Photo

Additional Financial Support

Additional sources of funding are available to our PhD Fellows, including:

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Have more questions? 

    Yes. We accept and review all applications received before our deadline. However, you must ensure that all of your Mason application paperwork has been correctly submitted and received by Mason before their deadlines in order to be accepted into the Mercatus PhD Fellowship Program.

    To apply to the PhD Fellowship, click the "Apply" button above or below, and complete the online application, including:

    • A 1-2 page cover letter explaining:

      • your research interests and current projects,

      • your familiarity with Mason and Mercatus scholars and their research, and

      • what you hope to get out of the program.

    • A current resume/CV

    • A 500-1000 word essay on "Why do some societies prosper, while others remain stagnant and poor?"

    • A 10-page writing sample that demonstrates your writing and research skills

    • A few short answer questions

    We utilize the writing sample to examine each applicant’s writing style and ability, grasp of language, and clarity of thought. We are not particularly concerned with the specific content of the sample. Therefore you should choose whichever work you feel will give us the best impression of your skills as a writer.


    PhD Fellows are required to be enrolled full-time, maintain a 3.5 GPA, maintain a good academic standing, including no unsatisfactory grades, spend approximately 20 hours each week working with Mercatus Center staff and faculty mentors throughout the year, attend and actively participate in all required program activities (e.g., colloquia, workshops, and seminars), arrive on time and prepared for all relevant activities having carefully read the assigned reading in advance, and be honest, responsible, fair, and civil in all activities of the PhD Fellowship Program.

    Mercatus Center PhD fellows generally attend class and attend seminars hosted at Mason's main campus in Fairfax.

    • General questions about the fellowship – email [email protected].
    • Questions about your application status or application materials – email [email protected].
    • Questions about the Mercatus Center in general or directions – contact Mercatus at (800) 815-5711.
    • Questions about your application to Mason – Contact the Economics Department at (703) 993-1135 

    Ready to get started?

    Confirm your qualifications

    In order to be accepted into the PhD Fellowship program, you must either be:

    • Enrolled in Mason's PhD program in Economics 
    • Applying to Mason's PhD program in Economics