Doctor of Philosophy in the Field of Economics

Specific admission requirements are shown on the Graduate Program Finder.

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 required courses and achievement of an acceptable grade in the general examination.

Core theory and econometrics
ECON 8301Microeconomic Theory I
ECON 8302Microeconomic Theory II
ECON 8303Microeconomic Theory III
ECON 8305Macroeconomic Theory I
ECON 8306Macroeconomic Theory II
ECON 8307Macroeconomic Theory III
ECON 8375Econometrics I
ECON 8376Econometrics II
24 credits in 8000-level (or approved 6000-level) courses.
Passing grade in the general examination.

General examination

The general examination consists of two preliminary examinations, one in microeconomic theory and one in macroeconomic theory, and two field examinations. The preliminary examinations are offered at the end of the spring semester examination period. Field examinations are given in econometrics, economic development, environmental and natural resource economics, health economics, industrial organization, international economics, international finance, labor economics, monetary theory and policy, public finance, and regional and urban economics.

To pass the general examination, students must earn:

  1. A grade of “pass” or better in the preliminary examinations in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory; and
  2. A grade of “satisfactory pass” or better in one of the two field examinations and no grade below “bare pass.”

Two of the examinations, preliminary or field, may be taken a second time with the approval of the Department. No further opportunity to take the examinations is permitted. Substitution of a field examination (in an area not originally chosen by the student) to satisfy the requirements of the general examination is equivalent to taking a field examination a second time. Students should consult with the faculty members responsible for their fields and notify the Department two months in advance of their intention to take the examinations. If sufficient notice is not given, it may not be possible for the student to sit for the examination.

Time limits

The pre-candidacy stage must be concluded within five years after entry into the program. Upon successful completion of pre-candidacy, students are considered for admission to post-candidacy, i.e., the dissertation stage, which must be completed within five years after entry. In all cases the student is expected to complete the doctorate within eight years after admission.

Candidacy requirements

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

The 24 credits of coursework must include 3 credits of ECON 8397 Dissertation Proposal Seminar and a minimum of 12 credits in ECON 8999 Dissertation Research. All students, including those whose dissertation proposal has already been accepted by their committee, must complete ECON 8397 Dissertation Proposal Seminar in the first semester in which it is offered after their advancement to candidacy.

In cases where knowledge outside the discipline of economics is critical to the student's research field, up to 6 credits in candidacy coursework may consist of courses taken outside the Department of Economics, with the approval of the advisor.

Once the student has successfully completed 24 credits in coursework, they must register for 1 credit in ECON 8998 Advanced Reading and Research each subsequent fall and spring semester until they have successfully defended their dissertation to the Dissertation Oral Examination Committee, thereby completing the degree program.

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