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Doctor of Philosophy in Economics

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Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

In addition to meeting general requirements, the Ph.D. candidate in economics must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of course work, at least 48 of which must be in economics.

  1. All Ph.D. candidates must complete these core courses in economic theory and quantitative methods:
    ECON 800 Optimization Techniques I
    ECON 801 Microeconomics I
    ECON 802 Microeconomics II
    ECON 809 Optimization Techniques II
    ECON 810 Macroeconomics I
    ECON 811 Macroeconomics II
    ECON 817 Econometrics I
    ECON 818 Econometrics II
    MATH 727 Probability Theory
    MATH 728 Statistical Theory
  2. Course work beyond these required core courses is a matter of choice for the student in consultation with his or her graduate adviser. The graduate adviser develops a program to assist the student in specialized interests. Each program must include a sufficiently broad range of topics in economics to prepare the student for comprehensive examinations.

Qualifying Examinations

Ph.D. degree aspirants must pass written qualifying examinations in microeconomics and macroeconomics after completion of the core courses in these areas, ordinarily at the beginning of the fourth semester of full-time study. A student who does not pass a qualifying examination may be permitted one retake, ordinarily at the end of the fourth semester of full-time study

Fields of Specialization

Each student must demonstrate competence in at least 2 fields of specialization in economics by completing 2 courses in each of these areas. Current fields of specialization include financial economics, economic development, industrial organization, international economics, labor economics, econometrics, economic history, economic theory, and macroeconomics.

Seminar-Workshops and Third-Year Paper

Beginning in the third year of the program, each student must enroll in ECON 910 and attend the weekly department seminars for 6 continuous semesters. Each student must complete a third-year seminar paper. This would typically be in one of the fields of specialization. Usually the third-year paper becomes part of the student’s doctoral dissertation.

Comprehensive Oral Examination

Upon completion of most of the course work and other requirements for the doctoral degree, inclusive of research skills and residence requirements, the student must prepare a dissertation proposal under the direction of a thesis adviser and pass a comprehensive oral examination related to the dissertation proposal.


Following the comprehensive oral examinations, the candidate must organize and write a dissertation on his or her chosen topic under the supervision of a dissertation committee.

Final Oral Examination

The candidate must defend the dissertation successfully in a final oral examination.

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