Economics (Ph.D.) Program Details

Degree Requirements

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Dissertation 
    ❱   Final oral examination/Dissertation defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   Urban economics
    ❱   Labor economics
    ❱   International economics
    ❱   Growth and development

Research Areas & Interests 

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Contract theory and household economics
  • Intimate partner violence and economics of crime
  • Impact of unemployment insurance and staying at home on crime
  • Industry dynamics, resource, and environmental economics
  • Urban sprawl, family stability, and gentrification
  • Vulnerable populations and climate change
  • Valuation of weather forecast products and urban renewal programs
  • Labor market conditions and racial/ethnic differences in college enrollment
  • Student debt and labor market outcomes (racial wealth gaps)
  • Dynamics of exports and foreign direct investment to African economies
  • Investment liberalization, credit constraints, and trade volatility
  • Stock return predictability over business cycles
  • Spatial patterns of economic segregation in major U.S. metropolitan areas
  • Economics of Retirement
  • Impediments to adequate health care delivery and health outcomes of underserved populations
  • Racial and ethnic disparities: essential workers and the coronavirus pandemic
  • Barriers to an inclusive economy

Program of Study* 


*Up to 24 approved credits from the student's master's program may be transferred into the Ph.D. program. For students with a master's degree who attain advanced standing (approved transfer of graduate-level credits from prior master's degree), eighteen (18) credit hours must be earned in the core courses noted below with an asterisk. 

ECOG 200   Microeconomic Theory I

ECOG 201   Microeconomic Theory II*

ECOG 205   Microeconomic Theory III*

ECOG 203   Macroeconomic Theory I

ECOG 202   Macroeconomic Theory II*

ECOG 206   Macroeconomic Theory III*

ECOG 204   History of Economic Analysis

ECOG 207   Workshop in Econ Research

ECOG 211   Econometrics I

ECOG 212   Econometrics II*

ECOG 216   Advanced Topics in Econometrics*

ECOG 213   Mathematics for Economists


Major and Minor Field Courses (15 CR)*

*Students take 9 credits in a chosen major subfield area and 6 credits in a chosen minor subfield area. Subfields or areas of specialization are noted below. Students must achieve a grade of B or better in each course.  See here for elective requirements for students with a master's degree who attain advanced standing (transfer graduate-level credits into the Ph.D. program).

ECOG 220, 221, 228   Growth and Development 

ECOG 230, 231, 237   Urban Economics 

ECOG 261, 262, 263   Labor Economics 

ECOG 244, 245, 249   International Economics 

The Major Field

Each student chooses a primary area of specialization (the Major Field) from among the four areas. The student completes the three required courses (all three courses in the area of specialization labeled I, II, and III) with a grade of B or better in each course. The student then takes the comprehensive examination or chooses to write a field paper related to their Major Field. To acquire certification in their Major Field, the student must pass the three courses (with a grade of B or higher), pass the comprehensive examination, or, instead of the field comprehensive examination, write a research paper that, in the judgment of the faculty in that field of specialization, demonstrates mastery of that field.

The Minor Field

Each student chooses a second area of specialization (called the Minor Field) either from the four areas (Growth and Development, Urban, Labor, or International) or from the elective field courses. If the minor field is chosen from the four areas, students must complete two courses (either I and II or I and III) in their area of choice with no grade lower than a B. If the student chooses the minor field from among the elective field courses, the student must complete the field course and either Independent Study (ECOG 290, 291, 292, 293, or 294) or Research Topics in Economics (ECOG 295, 296, or 297) related to their field of choice. The student must receive a B or better in each of these two courses. There are no further requirements for certification of the Minor Field. Neither a comprehensive examination nor a field paper is required for the Minor Field.

Other Elective Courses (9 CR)**

**Students may earn up to 6 credits in an internship program as part of their elective choices (Internship I, ECOG 298 and Internship II, ECOG 299). 

A sampling of elective courses

ECOG 248   Industrial Organization

ECOG 233   Health Economics

ECOG 238   Environmental Economics

ECOG 274   Financial Intermediation

ECOG 315   Empirical Analysis of Topics in Fin. Lit.

ECOG 240   Public Finance

ECOG 250   Cost-Benefit Analysis

ECOG 216   Advanced Topics in Econometrics



View Economics department course descriptions here.

*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Admitted students may be eligible to compete for Graduate School competitive awards, which provide tuition remission and a stipend during the academic year. Additionally, graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants). Please see the Funding website for more detailed information.