Economics Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The Ph.D. program in economics trains highly qualified professional economists for careers in teaching and research in colleges and universities and in research and administration in government and private organizations.

Ordinarily the program of study and research requires at least four academic years of full-time work beyond the baccalaureate. Students take courses in economic theory, econometrics, and in at least two of the following fields of concentration: advanced macroeconomics, advanced microeconomics, econometrics, industrial organization, international economics, labor and income distribution, and public economics.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants must fulfill the general University requirements for admission to doctoral study. An undergraduate major in economics is not essential but applicants are expected to have completed a year sequence in intermediate economic theory, three semesters of calculus, and one semester of linear algebra. For those whose undergraduate training in economics and mathematics is deficient, courses are available during the summer session prior to entering the program.

All applicants for the doctoral program must present official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical tests. Applicants who are not residents of the United States may be exempted from this requirement by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department if they reside in countries where GRE examinations are not administered. Foreign students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Program of Study and Research (60 credits, minimum)

Students must demonstrate proficiency in economic theory, econometrics, and two fields of concentration. A minimum of 60 credits in graduate credits in economics and supporting fields (as approved by the Department) beyond the baccalaureate are required, including:

  1. Economic Theory: Eco 600 Microeconomics I (3); Eco 601 Macroeconomics I (3); Eco 700 Microeconomics II (3); Eco 701 Macroeconomics II (3).
  2. Econometrics: Eco 620 Econometrics I (3); Eco 621 Econometrics II (3); Eco 720 Econometrics III (3).
  3. Advanced Research Topics: Eco 798 (3).

Students who enter with advanced training may apply for a waiver of one or more of these courses.

Preparation for a field of concentration normally requires a year of coursework at the 700 level or above. With the approval of the Department's Graduate Studies Committee, one of the two fields may be replaced by another appropriate discipline or by a specialization combining economics with a related field. Advanced doctoral students are required to participate in at least one of the three workshops of the department (Eco 800, Eco 801, or Eco 820).

Research Tool Requirement

Students must demonstrate proficiency in either a foreign language or at least one of the research tools used by economists. These include mathematical and quantitative techniques of problem solving and statistical and econometric techniques involving data analysis.

Departmental Qualifying Examinations

The Departmental Qualifying Examination consists of three parts.

The first part, in economic theory, consists of two written examinations respectively covering the subject areas of Economics 600 and 700, and Economics 601 and 701. Under exceptional circumstances, a student who fails either of the written theory examinations twice may be permitted a third and final try. Satisfactory completion of both theory examinations is required for a student to continue in the Ph.D. program.

The second part, in econometrics, is a written examination normally taken at the end of the second year. This requirement may be waived upon completion of Eco 621 and Eco 720 with grades of B or better. A student who fails the econometrics examination twice may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for permission to retake it.

The third part consists of written examinations in two fields of concentration, normally taken at the end of the second year. A student who fails a field examination twice may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for permission to retake it. A written examination in one of the two fields may be waived if it is not econometrics and if a student obtains B or better grade in each course in the field.

Full Time Study in Residence

Each student in the Economics doctoral program must complete 9 credits in Ph.D. core or elective courses in each of two semesters (not necessarily consecutive). This requirement is designed to ensure for each student a period of intensive intellectual growth and interaction with other participants in the program.

Admission to Candidacy

A student is admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy having met the following requirements:

  1. Satisfactory completion of all required core and elective courses;
  2. Satisfactory completion of the research tool requirement;
  3. Completion of University residence requirements;
  4. Satisfactory completion of the doctoral qualifying examinations.
  5. Presentation in a workshop of a written dissertation proposal (the Third Year Paper) and formation of a dissertation committee approved by the Graduate Studies Committee

Doctoral Dissertation

The student will select a chair for the Dissertation Committee from the Department in the first semester after passing the qualifying examinations. With the committee chair's advice and approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, the student will select two or three additional members for the committee. A description of the dissertation and the composition of the committee will be filed with the Department.

An oral presentation of the preliminary results of the dissertation will be made at one of the department workshops (Eco 800, 801, or 820).

Before accepting the final draft of the dissertation, the dissertation committee will conduct a public oral examination of the candidate on the dissertation, at a time and place to be announced at least one week in advance.

The dissertation must be approved by a majority of the committee members, consisting of at least three members of the committee.