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PhD Economics Program

PHD Mission Statement

The PHD program in Economics strives to produce professional economists by providing its graduates with a modern, balanced, and high-quality education in both theoretical and applied economics. The program has a strong quantitative emphasis. The department is committed to examining and improving its program and to enhancing the research efforts between faculty and graduate students. Most graduates pursue academic teaching and research careers; some work in federal, state, or local government here or abroad, and others obtain positions in the private sector

Student Learning Outcomes for PHD Students

Outcome 1:        Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of microeconomic and macroeconomic theories and methods of analysis.

Outcome 2:        To demonstrate mastery of the issues, theories and latest advances in one of the sub-fields of economics offered by the program.

Outcome 3:        To demonstrate ability to conduct independent and original basic and applied research in economics.

Outcome 4:        To achieve a high level of competence understanding the most recent theoretical and quantitative methods in economics.

Outcome 5:        Acquire employable skills (i.e. teaching experience) to further professional endeavors.

Prospective students are advised that the program offered by the department is of a mathematical nature and that it is therefore wise to acquire as much mathematics experience/knowledge as possible before entry.

In the first year, the program is the same for all students. Normal expectations are for each student to take a minimum of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Math for Economists in both semesters of the first year and a one-credit seminar from the entire faculty (19 credits in total). However, any of these courses may be waived by examination. Should a student pass a waiver exam in one of these subjects, the student would be expected to replace that course sequence with the introductory econometrics sequence.

A student is expected to take no more than 25 credits in their first year, with language or the introductory econometrics sequence being possible additions to the basic courses at the student’s discretion. Students take the microeconomics and macroeconomics written preliminary examinations at the end of their first year.

In the second year, students can select more specialized courses that suit their interests. Students are normally expected to take the sequence in introductory econometrics, a sequence preparing for their field exam, and at least one other course approved by the Director of Graduate Studies (a total of 18 credits). Students are expected to take no more than 24 credits in their second year.

During the second year, the student should also begin to choose a topic for a dissertation. By the end of the second year, a principal supervisor for the dissertation should have been selected. Also, by the end of their second year, students are expected to have taken and passed at least one written exam in a specialized field of economics.

The third and fourth years of the program are concerned mainly with the advancement of the student’s dissertation research.

Students are urged to participate in the departmental seminar series, in which the speaker is often a visitor and/or ideas of faculty and students are discussed at an early stage of the students’ development.

The Program is designed to encourage and to make it possible for motivated students to enter the job market successfully after four years of study and research in the Program. The Department seeks to enhance research efforts involving faculty and dissertation-stage Ph.D. students and has an ongoing commitment to examine and to improve the Program.

These guidelines describe the Graduate Program and the policies for graduate study in the Department of Economics. For University-wide policies and procedures, students should consult the “Graduate Student Manual: Policies and Procedures for Graduate Students,” published by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.


If you have any questions about the PhD program, please contact the administrative assistant of the Phd Program.