Course of Study

A year-by-year description of the course of study in the Ph.D. program is detailed on this page. A PhD degree requires the completion of 54 credits. For performance standards associated with the course of study, see Satisfactory Progress. Read an informal description of the learning goals of our Ph.D. Program. 


Incoming first year students are required to arrive three weeks before Fall Semester classes begin to take an intensive mathematics refresher course (Summer Math Camp). The math refresher course typically begins in mid August and provides some basic background material needed for first year courses. All students are required to take two semesters each of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics and one semester of Math for Economics. Specifically, during the first year all students must take the following courses:

In the Fall:

  • Microeconomics I
  • Macroeconomics I
  • Econometrics I
  • Math for Economics

In the Spring:

  • Microeconomics II
  • Macroeconomics II
  • Econometrics II

Comprehensive Exams are taken in mid-June before the beginning of the student’s second year. If retakes are necessary, they occur in mid-August. Students must pass these exams to continue in the Ph.D. program. For further information relating to the Comprehensive Exam see Satisfactory Progress.


Students are required to take (minimum) 7 courses during their second and third year. The most typical are four and three (or three and four) in the second year, but it is also acceptable to take three and three in the second year and take one more course in the third year.  If one wants to take a course outside the department, he/she has to receive a permission from the Director of Graduate Studies.  An outside course does not substitute the 7-course requirement.

Course offerings will vary from year to year. Although deviations from credit loads described here are not encouraged, students may consult with the Graduate Program Coordinator and/or Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) about possible alternative arrangements. These must be defined no later than the Fall semester of a student’s second year.  


In each semester of the third-year students register for and participate in one of the following workshops: Econometrics, Development, International Trade, Macro, or Micro. Finally, they register for thesis research ECON 999-03 in both semesters. Students wishing to take more than one workshop must gain approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

By the end of the fall semester of the third year, each student must have the Graduate School’s official Outline of Thesis or Dissertation approved by a faculty advisor (who will normally be the student’s dissertation advisor). Each student must present an oral defense of his or her dissertation proposal. The presentations take place in fall and spring.


Students must accumulate a total of six credits for workshops.

Each student who wants to receive the department’s service at the job market has to present his/her paper in the appropriate workshop.