Course of Study

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. For an informal description of the learning goals of our Ph.D. Program, please click here


First Year

Incoming first year students are required to arrive two 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 one semester of Math for Economics and 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
  • Math for Economics

In the Spring:

  • Microeconomics II
  • Macroeconomics II
  • Econometrics II

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 take 7 elective courses, typically four in the Fall and three in the Spring semester.

The Fall schedule includes the following tools courses:

  • Microeconometrics
  • Macroeconometrics
  • Micro III
  • Macro III

In addition, field courses are offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters. Field course offerings will vary from year-to-year depending on student interest and faculty availability. In recent years field courses have been offered in:

  • Development Economics
  • Industrial Organization
  • Labor Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Economic Theory
  • Political Economy
  • Public Economics

Although deviations from credit loads described here are not encouraged, students may consult with 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 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 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.