The PhD program involves study in two sequential units. Unit I includes satisfactory completion of required course work, and passing the General Examination. This first unit must be concluded within five years after entry into the program. Upon successful completion of Unit I, students are considered for admission to Unit II, the dissertation stage, which must be completed within five years after entry. In all cases, however, the student is expected to complete the doctorate within eight years after admission.
Students admitted to the second unit will be recommended by the Department of Economics for the Master of Philosophy degree. Moreover, students in the PhD program can earn a Master of Arts degree in economics while pursuing the PhD degree by satisfying MA degree requirements (see, e.g., "Option b" under "Master of Arts in the field of economics").
Students must meet the general requirements stated under Columbian School of Arts and Sciences. For Unit I, the requirements include Econ 8301, 8302, 8303, 8305, 8306, 8307, 8375, and 8376, plus 24 additional credit hours of approved graduate course work, and passing the General Examination, consisting of preliminary examinations in microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory and two field examinations selected by the student and approved by the doctoral program committee. Field examinations are given in the following fields: econometrics, economic development, environmental and natural resource economics, industrial organization, international economics, labor economics, monetary theory and policy, public finance, and regional and urban economics.
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. Students are required to take the microeconomic and macroeconomic preliminary examinations within three semesters of entering the program. To pass the General Examination, students must earn a grade of "satisfactory pass" or better in the preliminary examination in microeconomic or macroeconomic theory and in one of the two field examinations and earn no grade below "bare pass." Two of the examinations, either preliminary or field, may be taken a second time with the approval of the department.. No further opportunity to take the examinations is permitted. Substitution of a field examination (in an area not originally chosen by the student) to satisfy the requirements of the General Examination is equivalent to taking a field examination a second time. Students should consult with the professors responsible for their fields and notify the department two months in advance of their intention to take the examinations. If such notification is not given sufficiently in advance, it may not be possible to sit for the examination.
For Unit II, the requirements include formulation of an acceptable dissertation proposal, completion of a dissertation that demonstrates the candidate's ability to do original research, and 24 hours of additional graduate course work, of which at least 12 hours must be dissertation research. Students, including those who have an accepted dissertation proposal, must enroll in a dissertation proposal seminar (Econ 8397) in the first semester after promotion to Unit II. Satisfactory performance in the seminar will be equivalent to 3 credit hours of Unit II course work. In cases where knowledge outside the discipline of economics is critical to the student's research field, up to 6 credit hours in Unit II may consist of required courses outside the Economics Department.