The aim of the doctoral program in economics at the University of Pittsburgh is to prepare students to be professional economists in academia, business, or government.
The normal time to complete the PhD is five years. The Department of Economics does not offer a master’s degree program. Nevertheless, graduate students may apply for a Master of Arts (MA) under specific circumstances as described below.
- Continuing Master’s Degree
Continuing students may apply for an MA in economics after they have passed all preliminary examinations and have at least 30 credits in graded coursework at the 2000 or 3000 level. In addition, their GPA must be 3.0 or higher in all courses counting toward the 30-credit minimum.
- Non-continuing Master’s Degree
The Graduate Committee may recommend that a MA in economics be awarded to a student who is leaving the PhD program either voluntarily or because of dismissal. The requirements for the terminal master’s degree are: 1) either passing each of the seven first year courses with a minimum grade of B or passing one of the preliminary exams; and, 2) completing 30 credits of graduate level coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Continuing students do not qualify for a non-continuing master’s degree.
Faculty members have a wide variety of research interests. Currently, the department’s strengths are greatest in the following fields:
- Comparative Systems and Development Economics
- Economic History
- Experimental Economics
- International Economics
- Labor Economics
- Microeconomic Theory
- Public Economics
- Urban Economics
Department Chair: Lise Vesterlund
Director of Graduate Studies: Marla Ripoll
Main Office: 4901 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Additional information concerning the department’s graduate program may be obtained from the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, Graduate Administrator Brian Deutsch, 4914 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Phone: 412-648-7270. Fax: 412-648-1793. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants for admission must submit transcripts of all college-level work, three letters of recommendation, a career statement that addresses the applicant’s personal and professional goals and the reasons for pursuing doctoral study in economics, as well as and scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination. International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit official scores from either the TOEFL administered by the Educational Testing Service with a minimum score of 90 on the internetbased test (with at least a score of 22 in all four sections). Applicants may also submit scores from the IELTS administered by the University of Cambridge, Local Examinations Syndicate. The minimum acceptable score is 7.0, with at least a score of 6.5 in each of the 4 sections (taking the academic writing and reading modules). Application must be received by January 15. The department admits students only for the fall term.
The department generally offers financial support beginning with the first year of graduate study. Awards are competitive; not all students who are admitted to the program are offered fellowships. All fellowships and assistantships offer full tuition as well as a stipend and some include medical coverage. Students who are admitted without funding may qualify for funding if they pass the preliminary examinations in microeconomics and macroeconomics at the end of the first year of study.
Provided there are adequate funds, students with fellowships or teaching assistantships who make satisfactory progress toward completion of the PhD can expect their financial support to continue for up to four years beyond the first year of study.