Ph.D. Program in Economics

The Economics Ph.D. program provides students with the advanced training and knowledge necessary to pursue positions leading to careers in research and teaching at other institutions of higher learning, careers in economic analysis and forecasting, and careers in public policy analysis within local, state or federal government. The Ph.D. is awarded to students who excel in the comprehensive examination and who write a dissertation that demonstrates their ability to do independent research. The coursework for the Ph.D. is an initial exposure to major contributions in the literature and applications of the methodology. Students acquire competence through study of the literature and development of research skills. The program develops this competence.

As a part of the regular sequence in the Economics Ph.D. program, students are required to pass a qualifying examination, which is administered at the end of their first year of study. The exam is normally offered in May.

The exam is comprised of two parts: microeconomics and macroeconomics. To be eligible to continue in the Ph.D. program, a student must pass both parts of the exam. If a student has successfully passed both parts of the exam by the end of August, the student will be allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program.

During the third year, students are expected to commence work on the dissertation. Students are transferred from the program committee to a dissertation committee and formally begin work on their thesis defense.

Writing a dissertation is the final test of research skills. It requires an understanding of relevant literature and methodology, as well as the ability to think independently. Ph.D. candidates must find an original topic, plan a test of hypotheses, and write and defend at a final oral examination a document acceptable to the dissertation committee and to the Graduate School.