Ph.D. in Economics

The Ph.D. program provides thorough training for future economists through graduate courses, seminars, tutorial instruction and research workshops. It is designed to give students a solid foundation in economic theory, quantitative methods and fields of specialization in preparation for careers in universities, research organizations, industry and financial institutions.

Currently offered fields of specialization are health economics, labor and human resources, and industrial organization. The Ph.D. degree offered by the economics department is a scholarly degree. It indicates not only a superior knowledge of economics but also intellectual initiative and an ability to design and carry out independent research.

Our Ph.D. curriculum is solidly grounded in techniques of economic analysis, with important applications in a wide variety of applied fields. The program usually involves three years of coursework, followed by one to two more years of effort on doctoral research. Because the program is rigorous and adheres to strict timetables, it is unusual to combine doctoral study with full-time employment. Ph.D. graduates are in demand at universities, corporations, financial institutions, and government agencies.


Ph.D. students must successfully complete 90 semester hours of graduate study, 60 in course work plus 30 in dissertation research. They must pass sequences in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and quantitative methods, acquire a basic knowledge of the history of economic thought, and demonstrate competence in multivariate calculus.

Two of the following specialized fields must be elected for study:

  • Health economics
  • Industrial organization
  • International economics
  • Labor and human resources
  • Applied macroeconomics

The department, in rare cases, will approve one special area in economics or one cognate field outside of economics in place of one of the above areas of specialization. Students achieve Ph.D. candidacy by passing the written and oral qualifying examinations in economic theory and their two elective fields and by completing a dissertation outline approved by the department and the graduate division.

For more information, please see the Economics Ph.D. Graduate Handbook .


Visit Ph.D. admissions for specific graduate admission criteria and requirements.


A limited number of teaching and research assistantships providing tuition, stipends and health insurance are available each year to new Ph.D. students.

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.

Contact 💬

For more information, please contact the director of graduate studies.