Economics Proficiency Exam

Economics Proficiency Exam

2019 course listings will be online in January

Sign Up for 2019 Updates

We’ll post new course and program information in January. If you join our email list, we’ll contact you when the information is live.

Stay in Touch

The economics proficiency exam is required for several economics courses. If a course requires this exam, it is noted in the prerequisites of the course description.

About the Exam

This on-campus exam tests your command of concepts and tools of economic analysis, and understanding of the mathematical techniques that facilitate their exact presentation and generalization.

In addition to facility with algebra and graphical techniques, you are expected to be familiar with topics from introductory differential and integral calculus, including partial derivatives, logarithmic and exponential functions, and basic statistics. Download a sample economics proficiency exam.

Exam Dates

If you register for credit or noncredit in a course that requires the economics proficiency exam, you must take the test in-person at one of the following times. This test cannot be taken online. Plan to present a government-issued photo ID when you arrive to take the exam.

  • Date and Location TBD
  • Late test: TBD


First register for the economics courses that interest you, then take the on-campus economics proficiency exam if it is required for those courses. Have alternate courses in mind in case you do not pass the exam. This is especially important if you are an international student with an I-20 certificate from Harvard Summer School, as you must meet the enrollment requirements for students with I-20s.

If possible, attend first meetings of your alternate course until you learn your test results. If you do not take or pass the economics proficiency exam, you will be dropped from courses that require it. You can register for your alternate course until the course change deadline.

Harvard College Students

See Harvard College Student Guidelines for information on applying summer economics courses toward your degree.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity policies apply to placement exams. Alleged breaches are referred to the Administrative Board and may result in indefinite suspension of registration privileges.

Students with Disabilities

Harvard Summer School welcomes students with disabling conditions to participate in all aspects of our academic programming. Students who plan to take this exam who have a need for accommodations should contact the Accessibility Services Office, by calling (617) 998-9640 or emailing, to discuss accommodation needs.  Please see Accessibility Services for further information.

Have a question?

Our Enrollment Services team is here to help.

Request Information