PhD Program

The Ph.D. Program in the Department of Economics at Harvard is addressed to students of high promise who wish to prepare themselves in teaching and research in academia or for responsible positions in government, research organizations, or business enterprises. Students are expected to devote themselves full-time to their programs of study.

The program prepares students for productive and stimulating careers as economists. Courses and seminars offered by the department foster an intellectually active and stimulating environment. Each week, the department sponsors more than 15 different seminars on such topics as environmental economics, economic growth and development, monetary and fiscal policy, international economics, industrial organization, law and economics, behavioral economics, labor economics, and economic history. Top scholars from both domestic and international communities are often invited speakers at the seminars. 

The Harvard community outside of the department functions as a strong and diverse resource. Students in the department are free to pursue research interests with scholars throughout the University. Faculty of the Harvard Law School, Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Business School, for example, are available to students for consultation, instruction, and research guidance. As a member of the Harvard community, students in the department can register for courses in the various schools and have access to the enormous library resources available through the University. There are over 90 separate library units at Harvard, with the total collections of books and pamphlets numbering over 13 million. 

Both the department and the wider University draw some of the brightest students from around the world, which makes for a student body that is culturally diverse and likely unequaled in the range of intellectual interests of its members. These factors combine to add an important dimension to the educational process. Students are able to learn from one another, collaborate on research projects and publications, and form bonds that are not broken by distance once the degree is completed and professional responsibilities lead them in different directions.