Course of Study (2013-Present)

A year-by-year description of the course of study in the Ph.D. program is detailed on this page. Please note that the information given here pertains to students entering the program in the Fall 2013 semester or later. To view the previous version of this page please click here. 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.

First Year

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, and Econometrics. Specifically, during the first year, all students must take the following courses:

In the Fall:

  • Microeconomics I
  • Macroeconomics I
  • Econometrics I

In the Spring:

  • Microeconomics II
  • Macroeconomics II
  • Econometrics II

Each of these is a four-credit course in which the required mathematical tools are developed in conjunction with their applications.

Comprehensive Exams are taken in August before the beginning of the student’s second year. Students must pass these exams to continue in the Ph.D. program. For further information relating to Comprehensive Exam see Satisfactory Progress.

Second Year

During the second year of study, students must take 6 courses, typically four in the Fall and two in the Spring semester. In the second year, each student is required to take at least two full-sequence fields. A full-sequence field consists of a formal two-course sequence. The content of the field is determined by the relevant course instructors.

Students may fill out the remaining credit requirements by taking courses that are complementary to his/her two fields (e.g. Micro and Econometrics with the Labor field).

Nine fields are offered. Field offerings may change according to faculty availability. Students may choose among the following fields:

  • Econometrics
  • Economic Development
  • Economic Theory
  • Industrial Organization
  • International Macro and Finance
  • International Trade
  • Labor Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Public Economics and Political Economy

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.  

Third Year

In the third year, students register for and participate in one of the workshops (Micro, Macro, Econometrics, Development) in both semesters. Finally, they register for thesis research in both semesters.

By the end of the fall semester of the third year, each student must have the Graduate School’s official Outline of the 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 to the department faculty in the appropriate workshop by the end of the third year. For further information about the thesis proposal, see Satisfactory Progress.

Fourth, Fifth, (and possibly Sixth) Year

Students must accumulate a total of six credits for the microeconomics and macroeconomics workshops. Two of these are acquired in the third year; the remainder are acquired in the fourth and fifth years. At this stage, students are expected to be focusing solely on their doctoral theses under the supervision of their faculty committees. Finally, each student is expected to present at least one seminar in the appropriate workshop by the end of the fourth year.