The Ph.D. Program

Doctoral candidates complete 48 credits of course work, 24 credits of research, qualifying examinations in microeconomics and macroeconomics, a second-year research paper, and a doctoral dissertation. Courses include a minimum of 12 credits (four semester courses) in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, six credits in Statistical Methods and Econometrics, one course in Economic History, one course in Applied Econometrics, and six credits in each of two elective fields.

The qualifying examination consists of written tests in microeconomics and macroeconomics. These exams are taken in the summer of the first year completing the courses Microeconomic Theory I and II and Macroeconomic Theory I and II.  Each student must also successfully complete two elective fields by obtaining a minimum grade of B+ in two field courses (for each elective field). Doctoral students are also required to complete a research paper over the summer of their second year and write a dissertation proposal in the summer of their third year.

The doctoral dissertation is an original investigation of an economic problem, and makes a meaningful contribution to knowledge within the discipline. Each student works closely with his or her dissertation committee, consisting of three members of the Economics faculty and one external member. The doctoral candidate defends the completed dissertation at a final oral examination.

Completion of the Ph.D. requires a minimum of four years of full-time study of which at least one year is devoted to research. The rules of the Graduate School provide that the Ph.D. must be completed within seven years from the date of initial enrollment. The typical number of years for completion is five.

The following information is for doctoral students currently in the program who either: (i) wish to obtain a Master’s degree during their progress towards their Ph.D.; or (ii) have decided to end their pursuit of a Ph.D. and wish to obtain a Master’s degree.


Students have two options for completion of the Master's degree:


The essay option requires that students take 30 credits of course work and complete a Master's essay. The courses include a minimum of 12 credits (four semester courses) in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics (Microeconomic Theory I and II and Macroeconomic Theory I and II), nine credits in Quantitative Economics (Statistical Methods and Econometrics I) plus one additional course from the following: Econometrics II, Applied Econometrics for Microeconomics, Applied Econometrics for Macroeconomics, Seminar in Econometrics, or Seminar in Applied Econometrics. Two elective field courses are also required. Essays are expected to show insight and originality of interpretation.


Students who complete 30 credits (including course requirements listed above) and pass the microeconomics and macroeconomics qualifying examinations are eligible for the M.A. degree without writing a Master's essay, but do have to satisfy a writing requirement.