The PhD preliminary exams consist of a four-hour exam in microeconomic theory and a second four-hour exam in macroeconomic theory. These exams are offered in June after the first year of study. If a student fails either or both preliminary examinations, a second attempt is offered two months later in August. Students must pass both exams by the second attempt to continue in the program.
All students must attain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in 2000- and 3000-level course work in economics as well as maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all courses qualifying for graduation to be certified for the PhD in economics, as well as to qualify for continued financial assistance.
Comprehensive Exam Requirement (Research Paper)
All students are required to complete a single authored, original research paper demonstrating their ability to do research in economics. This is typically begun in the latter half of the second year and completed in the first term of the third year. The paper is reviewed by two faculty members, who may ask for revisions or additions. Following their approval of the paper, the student is certified as having completed the comprehensive examination requirement.
Students are required to take coursework in two major fields, consisting of two graded courses and one graded seminar in each field, and one minor field consisting of two graded courses. The two major fields must be completed within separate areas of research, as follows:
- Applied Microeconomics
- Experimental Economics
- International, Comparative, and Developmental Economics
The list of fields offered within each area is periodically updated by supervising faculty members within the relevant area.
Dissertation Overview (Admission to Candidacy)
Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student begins to work full time on the doctoral dissertation. This involves searching for a topic, finding a faculty advisor, and beginning preliminary research. When a topic is selected and preliminary research is underway, the student, in consultation with the advisor, forms a dissertation committee. A dissertation overview is held at which the student presents his proposal for doctoral research, preliminary findings, and a strategy for completing the work to the dissertation committee. If the dissertation committee approves of the topic and research strategy, the student can file an application for admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy.
The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community.