Doctor of Philosophy in the Field of Economics

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.

Pre-candidacy requirements

Pre-candidacy requirements include satisfactory completion of 48 credits, including 18 credits in required courses and 30 credits in elective courses, and achievement of a passing grade in the general examination.

Core theory and econometrics
ECON 8301Microeconomic Theory I
ECON 8302Microeconomic Theory II
ECON 8305Macroeconomic Theory I
ECON 8306Macroeconomic Theory II
ECON 8375Econometrics I
ECON 8376Econometrics II
30 credits in 8000-level (or approved 6000-level) courses.
Additional requirements
Students must achieve a passing grade in the general examination and on the research paper proposal.

General examination

The General Examination consists of two preliminary examinations, one in microeconomic theory and one in macroeconomic theory, and a research paper proposal. To pass the general examination, students must earn a grade of "pass" or “pass with distinction” in the preliminary examinations in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory and earn a grade of “pass” or “pass with distinction” on the research paper proposal.

Students are required to take the microeconomic and macroeconomic preliminary examinations in May of their first year in the PhD program. The exams may be retaken at the start of the following semester, with departmental approval. Both exams must be passed by the second attempt.


Students must complete 30 credits in 8000-level or approved 6000-level courses. Research credits such as those taken in ECON 8998 or ECON 8999 do not count as elective credits in pre-candidacy, nor does ECON 8397.

In cases where knowledge outside the discipline of economics or outside Department of Economics course offerings is critical to the student's research field, students may take up to 6 credits in pre-candidacy coursework outside the department, with departmental approval. In exceptional circumstances, a student may take 9 such credits, with departmental approval.

Research paper proposal

Students must submit the research paper proposal by the end of their third year in the program. Part-time students may submit the research paper proposal in the fourth or fifth year of the program, subject to departmental approval.

Further information regarding the proposal and dissertation defenses can be found in the Department of Economics PhD Dissertation Guidelines.

Post-candidacy requirements

Post-candidacy requirements include successful completion of 24 credits at the 8000 level, the formulation of a dissertation proposal, a formal presentation of the proposal by the student to a potential dissertation committee for approval, and completion of a dissertation that demonstrates the candidate's ability to do original research as determined by the dissertation committee.

The 24 credits must include 3 credits in ECON 8397 and a minimum of 6 credits in ECON 8999. All students, including those whose dissertation proposal has already been accepted by their committee, must complete ECON 8397 in the first semester in which it is offered after their advancement to candidacy.

Once a student successfully completes 24 credits, they must register for 1 credit in CCAS 0940 each subsequent fall and spring semester until they have successfully defended their dissertation to the dissertation oral examination committee, thereby completing the degree program.

Students may apply for the master of philosophy (MPhil) degree after successfully defending a dissertation proposal.

Further information regarding dissertation defenses can be found on the Department of Economics PhD Dissertation Guidelines page.

Time limits

The pre-candidacy stage must be concluded within three years of matriculation in the program; part-time students may conclude the pre-candidacy stage within five years of matriculation, subject to departmental approval. Upon successful completion of pre-candidacy, students are considered for admission to candidacy, i.e., the dissertation stage. The dissertation stage must be completed within five years of entry into candidacy, or within eight years of matriculation in the program, whichever is sooner*.