PhD Courses

Departmental prerequisite: Graduate courses in economics (except 6214, 6217-18, 6219, 6220, 6221-22, 6247, 6249, 6250, 6280, 6283, 6284) are designed for graduate students in economics. Graduate students in other disciplines may register for these courses after having completed Econ 6217-18, or 6218 and 6219, or 2101/2103 and 2102/2104, and any other prerequisites of a particular course, unless the course description indicates that these prerequisites have been waived. Intermediate-level micro and macro courses taken elsewhere usually satisfy this requirement, but undergraduate introductory or first-year courses do not. In addition to these prerequisites and any others specific to the particular course, calculus is required for some 6000-level courses and for all 8000-level courses. Most of the 8000-level courses require familiarity with multivariable calculus and matrix algebra.

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The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.

Pre-candidacy Requirements

Pre-candidacy requirements include satisfactory completion of required courses and achievement of an acceptable grade in the general examination.

Core theory and econometrics
ECON 8301Microeconomic Theory I
ECON 8302Microeconomic Theory II
ECON 8303Microeconomic Theory III
ECON 8305Macroeconomic Theory I
ECON 8306Macroeconomic Theory II
ECON 8307Macroeconomic Theory III
ECON 8375Econometrics I
ECON 8376Econometrics II
24 credits in 8000-level (or approved 6000-level) courses.
Passing grade in the general examination.

General examination

The General Examination consists of two preliminary examinations, one in microeconomic theory and one in macroeconomic theory, and two field examinations. The requirements for the microeconomic and macroeconomic preliminary examinations must be met before any field examinations may be taken. To pass the General Examination, students must earn a grade of "pass" or “pass with distinction” in the preliminary examination in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory and earn a grade of “pass” or “pass with distinction” in two field examinations.

Two of the examinations, either preliminary or field, may be taken a second time with the approval of the department. Students are allowed a maximum of two failures in total across all exams taken and can retake an exam in the same preliminary or field subject only once. Field exams may be taken in no more than three fields.

Students are required to take the microeconomic and macroeconomic preliminary examinations in May of their first year in the PhD program. The exams may be retaken at the start of the following semester, with the approval of the department, and both must be passed by the second attempt.

Time limits

The pre-candidacy stage must be concluded within five years after entry into the program. Upon successful completion of pre-candidacy, students are considered for admission to post-candidacy, i.e., the dissertation stage, which must be completed within five years after entry. In all cases the student is expected to complete the doctorate within eight years after admission.

Candidacy requirements

Candidacy requirements include formulation of a dissertation proposal, a formal presentation of the proposal by the student to a potential dissertation committee for approval, completion of a dissertation that demonstrates the candidate's ability to do original research as determined by the dissertation committee, and 24 credits of coursework at the 8000 level.

The 24 credits of coursework must include 3 credits of ECON 8397 Dissertation Proposal Seminar and a minimum of 12 credits in ECON 8999 Dissertation Research. All students, including those whose dissertation proposal has already been accepted by their committee, must complete ECON 8397 Dissertation Proposal Seminar in the first semester in which it is offered after their advancement to candidacy.

In cases where knowledge outside the discipline of economics is critical to the student's research field, up to 6 credits in candidacy coursework may consist of courses taken outside the Department of Economics, with the approval of the advisor.

Once the student has successfully completed 24 credits in coursework, they must register for 1 credit in ECON 8998 Advanced Reading and Research each subsequent fall and spring semester until they have successfully defended their dissertation to the Dissertation Oral Examination Committee, thereby completing the degree program.

Further information regarding the proposal and dissertation defenses can be found on the Department of Economics PhD Dissertation Guidelines page.