Programs of Study

The PhD program is offered primarily on a full-time basis and students are expected to complete the degree in five to six years.  Occasionally, the PhD program will admit highly qualified part-time students.  The program is divided into a pre-candidacy stage and a candidacy stage. In the pre-candidacy stage, the student takes coursework and completes general examinations in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory as well as a research paper proposal. Students in the PhD program can earn a Master of Science degree in Economics (MS) while pursuing the PhD degree by satisfying the MS degree requirements. These include remaining in good standing with the college: thirty hours of coursework including Econ 8301, 8305, 8375, two courses chosen from 8302, 8306, and 8376; and five 8000-level economics courses. Students who have successfully defended a Dissertation Proposal may apply for the Master of Philosophy degree in Economics (M.Phil).  In the subsequent candidacy stage, the student participates in a dissertation proposal seminar, presents a dissertation proposal to a potential dissertation committee for their approval, completes the written dissertation, and participates in an oral defense of the dissertation. Students must generally enroll in at least three courses (9 credit hours) per semester. For more information on graduate program requirements, please visit our PhD requirements page.

Prospective PhD students should contact Professor Roberto Samaniego for any questions regarding the program and admissions that are not answered on these pages and in the FAQ for Prospective PhD Students.


Please see the University's required application materials for the graduate program in Economics.

Applications are accepted for fall semester admission only. Please see the Columbian College's list of requirements and deadlines for applying. Additionally, you may refer to the University's Graduate Admissions page for information regarding application deadlines and fees. Please note that the Economics Department requires at least three recommendation letters for Ph.D. applications.

All applicants should have training in calculus through multivariable calculus (Calculus III in U.S. curricula) and matrix or linear algebra, as well as intermediate-level microeconomic and macroeconomic theory.  Additional coursework in mathematics, especially in differential equations and real analysis, is strongly recommended.

The GRE General Test is required of all applicants; no Subject Test is necessary. The GMAT may not be substituted for the GRE.

All students who are not U.S. citizens are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency by submitting an acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score.  English language test scores may not be more than two years old from the time you apply.  More information on the CCAS language proficiency requirements can be found here. The minimum scores for admission consideration are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 6.0 with no individual score below 5.0
  • TOEFL: 550 on paper-based or 80 on Internet-based test.

All applicants for graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs) must submit official scores from the TOEFL or academic IELTS. The minimum scores required to be considered for a GTA are:

  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual band score below 6.0.
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based.

For more information about the University's guidelines for English Language Requirements, visit the Columbian College's page on English Language Requirements for graduate students. International applicants should also refer to the University's International Admissions Guidelines.

Apply online! Please note that all application materials, including transcripts, should be submitted directly to Columbian College Graduate Admissions.

For questions about admissions requirements or the status of your application, please Contact Columbian College Graduate Admissions at [email protected] or call 202-994-6210. If you applied online, you may also check the status of your application through the online application program

Financial Aid

All PhD candidates may apply for financial aid, which is awarded on the basis of merit. Most aid is in the form of teaching assistantships, which generally include a salary, stipend and tuition credits.  Teaching assistants typically lead discussion sections of principles of microeconomics or macroeconomics courses, hold office hours, and assist with grading.  Some endowed fellowships and University fellowships are also available. Approximately 50% of the PhD students enrolled in our program receive at least some financial aid.

There are also some opportunities for research assistantships either on campus or with the many economic research institutions near campus.

For more information on available aid and application procedures, please go to the University's Graduate Admissions page. For more information on available aid and application procedures, please go to the University's Office of Student Assistantships and Fellowships.

Cost of Study

See the university's information about tuition costs and other expenses and fees, as well as opportunities for funding your graduate education.


The Foggy Bottom area of Washington, DC is a diverse neighborhood, where residences share the surroundings with the Department of State, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the National Academy of Sciences, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Federal Trade Commission, the Urban Institute, the Office of Management and Budget, and the George Washington University. The University is within easy walking distance of the National Mall and many cultural facilities. For more information on getting to and around D.C. see our D.C. Transportation page.

Living and Housing Costs

There is limited space for graduate students in University-owned apartment buildings. For more information about on-campus graduate housing check out GW Housing. The Foggy Bottom-GWU subway stop is on campus, which makes the University accessible to the large number of students who live off campus in privately owned apartments. The University's Off-Campus Housing Resource Center helps students find adequate housing.  Additional information on housing options is also available on the SAGE website.

Student Groups

In addition to the Student Association for Graduate Economics (SAGE), there are a variety of other student groups, see the University's Student Services, Organizations and Groups page for more information

Correspondence and Information

To receive an application for admission and related graduate program information, please go to the University's Graduate Admissions page. The application is also available online by following the directions on that page. You may also contact the Graduate Admissions.

PhD Advising

Pre-Candidacy & Advising (Unit I)
Professor Labadie
Office Hours: By Appointment
Office: Monroe 270

Admissions and Funding
Professor Samaniego
Office Hours: By Appointment
Office: Government 318

Candidacy (Unit II)
Professor Vonortas
Office Hours: By Appointment
Office: 1957 E 403N

Institute for International Economic Policy

The Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP), which is located within the Elliott School of International Affairs, serves as a catalyst for high quality, multi-disciplinary, and non-partisan research on policy issues surrounding economic globalization. The Institute research program helps develop effective policy options and academic analysis in a time of growing controversies about international economic integration in many countries around the world. The institute's work also encompasses policy responses for those who face continued poverty and financial crises despite worldwide economic growth.