Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 42

Required Courses:

Core Courses
ECON 8001Microeconomic Analysis 13
ECON 8002Macroeconomic Analysis 13
ECON 8003Mathematics for Economics I 13
ECON 8005Microeconomic Theory I3
ECON 8007Macroeconomic Theory I3
ECON 8009Econometrics I3
ECON 8108Macroeconomic Theory II3
ECON 8119Econometrics II3
Specialization or Elective Courses12
Dissertation Research 26
ECON 9994
Field Examination/Dissertation Proposal Research 3
ECON 9998
Dissertation Proposal Research 4
ECON 9999
Doctoral Thesis Research 5
Total Credit Hours42

These courses can be waived upon passing the departmental waiver exams. 


Upon finishing coursework, the student enters the research stage, which involves studying Economic literature and models, preparing a dissertation proposal, and writing a dissertation. This process is structured and monitored by the use of ECON 9994 Field Examination/Dissertation Proposal Research, ECON 9998 Dissertation Proposal Research, and ECON 9999 Doctoral Thesis Research.


ECON 9994 is designed for students who have finished all coursework and passed the theory prelims. Along with preparing for the field exams, they must choose a topic and start researching their dissertation proposal.


ECON 9998 is designed for students who have passed all theory and field qualifying exams. The students are expected to complete their dissertation proposal and submit it to the Graduate Affairs Committee for consideration.


ECON 9999 is designed for students who have an accepted dissertation proposal. Their research should be divided into several stages, each leading to a successful dissertation defense.

Culminating Events:
Preliminary Examinations:
The purpose of the preliminary examinations is to demonstrate critical and interpretive knowledge of current research. There are two theory exams, one each in microeconomics and in macroeconomics, and two field exams. The theory exams must be passed by the end of the second year, while the field exams must be completed within three terms of passing the last theory exam.

The subject areas of the field exams are chosen by the student, in consultation with the Graduate Director. To prepare for a field exam, the student must take one or two courses in the subject area. The number of required courses is specified by the Field Examination Committee. If a required course is not offered, it can be substituted by ECON 9183 Directed Study. Students who are preparing to write their preliminary examinations should confirm a time and date with their departmental advisor.

Members of the Economics Department write the questions for the preliminary examinations. The student must answer every question on the examination in order to be evaluated. The Department Committee evaluates the examination. The evaluators look for a breadth and depth of understanding of specific research areas; a critical application of that knowledge to specific phenomena; and an ability to write technical prose. Each member votes to pass or fail the student. In order to pass, a majority of the committee members must agree that the exam has been satisfactorily completed.

Dissertation Proposal:
The dissertation proposal demonstrates the student's knowledge of and ability to conduct the proposed research. The proposal should consist of the following:

  1. the context and background surrounding a particular research problem,
  2. an exhaustive survey and review of literature related to the problem, and
  3. a detailed methodological plan for investigating the problem.

The proposal should be completed and approved no more than one year after passing the last field exam. Upon approval, a timeline for completing the investigation and the writing process is established.

The doctoral dissertation is an original empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field. It should expand the existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's knowledge of both research methods and a mastery of her/his primary area of interest. Dissertations should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standard of the field; demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the primary area of interest and the broader discipline of Economics; and be prepared for publication in an academic journal.

The Doctoral Advisory Committee is formed to oversee the student's doctoral research and is comprised of at least three Graduate Faculty members. Two members, including the Chair, must be from the department. The Chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress, coordinating the responses of the committee members, and informing the student of her/his academic progress.

If any member of the Doctoral Advisory Committee decides to withdraw from the committee, the student shall notify the Chair of the committee and the Director of the Ph.D. program. The student is responsible for finding a replacement, in consultation with the Chair. Inability to find a replacement shall constitute evidence that the student is unable to complete the dissertation. In such a case, the student may petition the Director of the Ph.D. program for a review. Once a review of the facts and circumstances is completed, the Director rules on the student's progress. If the Director rules that the student is incapable of completing the dissertation, s/he is dismissed from the program. This decision may be appealed to the Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and, if necessary, to the Graduate School.

The Dissertation Examining Committee evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. This committee is comprised of the Doctoral Advisory Committee and at least one additional faculty member from outside the department. It examines the student's ability to express verbally her/his research topic, methodological approach, primary findings, and implications. The committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

Students preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Dissertation Examining Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary at least 15 days before the defense is to be scheduled. The Graduate Secretary arranges the time, date, and room within two working days, and forwards the appropriate forms to the student. The student then sends a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms,” at least 10 working days before the defense to the Graduate School. The Economics Department posts an announcement of the defense.