Program Requirements

Ph.D. Program in Economics


First Year

Coursework occupies most of the students' first two years in the program. The first year is devoted to developing a strong foundation in the basic tools of economics, including full-year courses in micro and macro theory, one course in econometrics, and a distribution course.

Fall Semester
Econ2010a (Microeconomic Theory)
Econ2010c (Macroeconomic Theory)
Econ2120 (Econometrics)
Distribution requirement

Spring Semester
Econ2010b (Microeconomic Theory)
Econ2010d (Macroeconomic Theory)
Econ2140 (Econometrics)
Distribution requirement

Econometrics Requirement
Students satisfy the econometrics methods requirement by completing Economics 2120 and Economics 2140 with a grade of B or better. The econometrics requirement may be satisfied with a more advanced course with the approval of the instructor.

Distribution Requirement
The distribution requirement is fulfilled by taking an approved field course in Economic History, Political Economy or Behavioral. The purpose of the requirement is to ensure that students are exposed to non-standard ways of thinking about issues central to economics. The course must be passed with a grade of B+ or better.

This requirement is frequently satisfied in the first year. The course must be taken during the time students are enrolled in the graduate program. (Courses taken as an undergraduate or in other graduate programs will not be considered.) Courses offered primarily for undergraduates may be acceptable provided there is a provision for graduate students to take the course with additional requirements.

Students may petition the chair of the committee on the distribution requirement to count a course not on the list. Students who choose to petition the committee should include as supporting materials the course syllabus and a statement of how the course fits into their general plan of study, as well as a statement as to how the course meets the spirit of the distribution requirement, namely, to insure that economics students temper their intensive study of economic theory and its applications with some exposure to non-standard ways of thinking about economic issues.

Second Year:

The Written Field Examination
The Written Field Examination is comprised of a three hour exam in each of two fields and administered at the end of the second year of graduate study. Students are required to take two courses for credit for each field and must complete the written examination in economic theory, the course requirements in quantitative methods, the distribution requirement and the second year research paper in order to sit for the written examination. A letter grade of "B" or better must be obtained to successfully meet this requirement.

In selecting fields for the written examination, the candidate must choose two fields from the following list of fields:
Economic Theory
Behavioral/Experimental Economics
Public Economics
Industrial Organization
Labor Economics
Political Economics
Economic History
International Economics

Third Year

Ec 3000 (Research Paper)
Students must register for Ec3000 in the fall term of their third year and complete a research paper under the supervision of a faculty member. Students have one year to complete the paper and he/she must submit to the Graduate Office with the signature of at least two faculty members.The Ec3000 paper can be co-authored.

Seminar Requirement
After passing the Written Field Examination, students must enroll in a working seminar (i.e., one of the 2000-level research seminars).  Each student in their third year and above must present in a working seminar (or informal lunchtime seminar) each semester, beginning in the spring term of their third year.

Advisor and Field Requirement
In the third year, students must select a primary Advisor within the Economics Department and designate a Primary field. Students are allowed to change their primary Advisor according to their research interests and should report changes to the Graduate Office.

Time Limits
In order to remain in good standing, students must complete the requirements to this point within three years of residency. Students who are not in good standing in the Department will not be allowed to register in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Year 4 and beyond:

Seminar Requirement
Students are required to present their work each semester in a working seminar.

Thesis Proposal Requirement
Within one year of passing the Field Examination, students must assemble a thesis committee consisting of at least two faculty members, and must complete a preliminary research plan of at most five pages, which is signed by the thesis committee. The signed research plan will become part of the student's file kept in the Graduate Office.

The Thesis Defense and Special Examination
The Thesis Committee consists of three faculty members, of whom one must be a senior faculty member. At least one additional committee member should be a member of the department. The third member may be from another department, or from another university.

The Special Examination is administered during the thesis defense. It is much like the defense itself, except that questions are not limited to the thesis. The date and time of the thesis defense and the special exam are arranged by the student after consulting with his/her committee. The date should be set well enough in advance to allow time for revisions to be made to the thesis before it must be bound and submitted to the Registrar's Office. The Graduate Office will reserve a room for the examination. In preparing your thesis for submission to the Registrar, you should consult The Form of the Doctoral Thesis.

Time Limits
In order to remain in good standing, the student must complete the thesis within three years of residency after passing the Field Examination. Students are allowed one additional year for leave of absence and/or may apply for a year of grace to extend this time limit. The thesis must be completed, however, within a maximum of five years after taking the Field Examination. Students who are not in good standing in the Department will not be allowed to register in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.