The typical timeline for applying to study for a Ph.D. in economics is:



May to September Research and Begin Selecting Schools
  To decide which program is the best fit, potential students should examine their own qualifications (including their GRE scores, their GPA, and their mathematical preparation) as well as the methodological approach, fields of specialization, predominant ideology, size of program, program culture (cooperative, competitive, etc.), typical time-to-degree, required examinations, financial aid, emphasis on mathematics, job prospects, and location of the programs to which they apply. For those who wish to pursue academic careers, the availability of training in teaching methods during graduate school may also be a consideration. Some applicants find it useful to contact students at their target schools to find out about current students' perceptions and experiences in the program. When choosing schools, it is typically not wise to go to a school because of a desire to work with one specific faculty member, since faculty tend to be fairly mobile during their careers.
September Practice for the GRE.
  This could include using an on-line preparation website, a printed or electronic study guide (widely available at bookstores), or taking a specific course. The test is administered by Educational Testing Service, and their website (www.ets.org) provides extensive information on the GRE.
October Take the GRE for 1st time by October
  Contact individuals to solicit letters of recommendation. Potential factors to consider when soliciting letter writers are the degree to which he/she can assess your potential abilities in graduate school (including your mathematical background and your analytical skills) and his/her prestige. Non-native speakers may also want to have supplementary letters addressing written and verbal communication skills.
November Re-take the GRE, if needed
  Prepare Applications and Statement of Purpose
December to Early January Applications Generally Due
February to April Acceptance Letters Received
August Begin Graduate School

Of course, some programs have different schedules, so it is important to check those as well.

For Undergraduate Students

Economics for College Students

What is Economics?

Fields of Economics

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For Graduate Students

Graduate Study in Economics

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