I'm in the social sciences but all answers welcome! I am also in economics and applied to 12 programs. I'm a senior. PhD programs are long, and highly individualized considering the different types of labs, advisors, etc. Anything over 30 might be excessive, but I think under 10 is too low. My advisor is currently of the opinion that I should just apply wherever is a good fit -- upper tier or not. I'm applying to 13 PhD programs and 2 backup, worst-case scenario MA programs. Before I came to this sub, and I don't know if this is a geographical difference or just a field difference or what, but I'd never heard of anyone applying for more than three. I was less thinking about more safeties than more top programs because I see about six of the top 10-15 as a good fit but would want 3-4 top 25 and only 1-2 higher. The schools are not conferring with each other to see if you applied elsewhere. My friend is in the same situation where her interests are both policy in developing countries but also healthy/inequality policy so she's thinking the same thing and some of our schools overlap but not all. PhD programs are long, and highly individualized considering the different types of labs, advisors, etc. I only applied to three that I knew were a good fit and got accepted to two of them. I know, I know. If you are applying to Ag/Applied Econ programs the number may be lower since research fit will be more of a consideration in those departments than in pure programs. How many do you think should I, approximately, apply for? I wouldn't stray below 5 unless you have … Now as I'm applying to competitive programs, I kinda regret going to a place ranked lower than my BS but at least I got significant research experience and good funding! In econ I think 12-15 is pretty standard. I was legitimately thinking about the two dozen side of it because my primary interests fit into either health or social policy, which means 18 of the top 20 can be a great to good fit that would allow me to do what I want, at different angles. ;P. I only applied to one school, but that's because there was only one I wanted to go to. I was advised by a professor to apply to as many as is feasible. It's really hard to say because while you may want some safeties, what if they're really not the best suited for you? Interesting! Only apply to schools that you would want to attend if accepted, whether that consists of 2 or 20. One each for undergrad, law school, masters, and Ph.D. I'm in Developmental Psychology. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. In the last year of my MS I met his advisor, and now I'm doing a PhD with my MS advisor's advisor at a different uni. Discussion forum for current, past, and future students of any discipline completing post-graduate studies - taught or research. I hope you like it there. I was changing my subfield and only a few schools in the country do what I wanted to do with an appropriate regional focus. Could not tell you why, but three was the magic number for everyone I know. I ended up being accepted by my one choice, and I don't have any publications either, so you definitely still have a chance. Also, congrats! If you don't get in, spend the year beefing up your CV and retake the GRE and try again. Find lots more expert advice on getting into grad school in the newly released book: Graduate School: Winning Strategies For … I've heard 5-15 but you might be from a better ranked MA/MS. Another mentor of mine, though, knows the inside scoop on a lot of programs and is redirecting me to some with less drama. I ended up going to my top choice program. On average, prospective students apply to anywhere from three to eight schools. I am sure this depends on the discipline etc. Press J to jump to the feed. As many as you can afford and interest you in your research interests. A good rule is to apply to all the schools you want to go to and then 1 that you think you have a good chance of getting into. If I didn't get in, then I might have considered broadening my horizons, but I didn't exactly have the money to apply to several schools just to see whether I'd get in. Apply to as many as you'd like to. I worked with one advisor at my undergrad uni and decided to do a masters with him. Can't change the past. I would go as far to say that if you don't get into your choices, just try again next year....it's better than being miserable for 5+ years somewhere you don't want to be. However, I wouldn't treat the process like undergrad where you may have safety/fit/reach categories. I wanted to die after like my 5th interview and I quickly realized I didn’t really fit in a few places. Including GRE scores, transcripts, and application fees I would guess closer to $3000. This go-round, I applied to 1. For reference, I applied to 2 masters programs and 5 undergrad programs (1 was a guarantee admit in-state). I think my CV isn't bad - i have a GPA that's neither perfect nor bad (~3.85 right now) at a slightly-better-than-mediocre university, nearly 4 years of research experience in different jobs, multiple professors and assistant professors have offered to write me letters of reccomendation without me even asking them. You may waste $50-$80 on applying to an easy school that you won't end up attending, but if you are dead set on grad school in the next year then having a fall-back is good. Also got accepted in both so I was set. That is, you have people who are willing to supervise you in areas you are interested in pursuing, in geographic locations you are willing to move to and can reasonably afford to live in. I don't regret it, though, because I expanded my network a lot. I got into all of the ones I interviewed at except for a mid-tier school that wasn't a good fit. Economics PhD programs, and I ultimately mastered out. Apply to all the places that fit. 5 to 10 carefully chosen places that have professors who are aligned with your research interests. As a general guideline, you should probably be applying to at least four or five different programs that you are well-qualified for, and probably no more than ten. Glad to hear you ended up with a good stipend and I hope your mentor is great! $1500 would be a steal for 20 schools if you played your cards right. I got accepted at my first and second choices with funding, so it worked out all right. I'm the same. Having said that, there are various guidelines that can be useful for anyone looking to approach their graduate school application process from an informed perspective. Let’s take a closer look. Don't spend that time & effort at a place that's just "acceptable" in terms of what you want to do and who you want to work with. This was actually beneficial because I could really focus on creating good applications for all of them (and didn't go broke applying). If you are applying to Ag/Applied Econ programs the number may be lower since research fit will be more of a consideration in those departments than in pure programs.