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Program Requirements 

The Ph.D. program in economics provides a comprehensive structure with annual milestones and incentives to help students finish in 5 years. Students receive core education in each of microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and quantitative methods, and take qualifying exams after first year courses. In the second year, students specialize and delve into research with a second-year paper requirement. In the third year, students typically finish specializations and work more intensively on research, culminating in a third-year paper requirement. The fourth year is devoted to research and to pass the comprehensive oral exam (dissertation proposal). During the fifth year, students polish their job market paper, develop additional research papers, go on the Ph.D. job market, and work to finish their dissertation. Here are some more details.

In addition to meeting general College and University requirements, all Ph.D. students in economics complete the following requirements.

  1. Coursework and Qualifying Exams
    1. Complete core courses in economic theory and quantitative methods
      • Mathematics and Quantitative Training: Econ 800 and Econ 816
      • Microeconomics: Econ 801 and Econ 802 
      • Macroeconomics: Econ 810 and Econ 811 
      • Econometrics: Econ 817 and Econ 818
    2. Pass written qualifying exams in microeconomics and macroeconomics after first year, and demonstrate competence in econometrics (evidenced by a combined GPA of 3.0 in Econ 817 and Econ 818)
    3. Specialize in two (or more) fields in economics by completing two courses in each field
    4. Complete three additional elective courses
  2. Papers
    1. Pass second-year paper requirement by end of fourth semester (second year) of study
    2. Pass third-year paper requirement by end of sixth semester (third year) of study
  3. Dissertation
    1. Pass comprehensive oral examination (dissertation proposal) by end of eighth semester (fourth year) of study. It is strongly recommended that a student pass this exam by the end of the seventh semester.
    2. Pass final oral examination (dissertation defense)
  4. Additionally,
    1. Ph.D. students enroll in Econ 910 (in Year 3) and attend weekly department research seminars for 5 continuous semesters or until graduation (whichever is earlier)
    2. Ph.D. students are required to have training in research skills and responsible scholarship pertinent to economics research. Enrollment in one semester of Econ 910 and successfully completing the third year paper requirement satisfies these requirements   

The expected typical timeline for a Ph.D. in economics is as follows.