Economics graduate students may write dissertations in any area of economics where faculty are available to serve as advisors. See the list of faculty research interests shown on our faculty and affiliated faculty web pages. In addition, building on its tradition of interdisciplinary research, the Department of Economics also offers concentrations in Public Choice and in Transportation Economics.
Students interested in research on issues that lie at the intersection of economics and political science should consider a program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree in Economics with a concentration in Political Economy / Public Choice. Public Choice, an interdisciplinary field, that draws on sophisticated quantitative tools to model the functioning of institutions. Faculty and student interests cover applied areas of political decision-making such as voter and party choice, electoral systems and constitutional design, regulation, lobbying and rent-seeking activities, issues of banking, securities regulation, and taxation and income distribution and more purely theoretical and mathematical topics in social choice and social welfare theory and the theory of public goods.
The program is administered by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty, primarily from the Departments of Economics and Political Science, but also from the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science and the Paul Merage School of Business . This group includes some of the nation's leading scholars in the area.
Requirements for the program are the same as those for the Ph.D. degree in Economics with the following two modifications. First, students must obtain (if they do not already have) a background knowledge in political science, equivalent to that provided by a one-year undergraduate survey course. Second, as one of their two required fields of competence, students must complete the year-long graduate seminar in Political Economy / Public Choice (Econ 270); the requirement for competence in a second field may be satisfied with a one-quarter course (instead of two), if it provides sufficient fluency in the field.
For a more detailed description of the program click here: Political Economy / Public Choice.
Students interested in careers in transportation research or planning should consider the program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree in Economics with a concentration in Transportation Economics. UCI conducts a considerable amount of transportation research, much of it through the Institute of Transportation Studies, and many opportunities exist for joint student/faculty research.
Requirements for the concentration are the same as those for the Ph.D. degree in Economics with the following exceptions. Students may substitute any two of the following three courses for the third quarters of microeconomics and macroeconomics theory: Discrete Choice Econometrics (Economics 223A), Advanced Travel Demand Analysis (Engineering CE220A), or Operations Research for Management (Management 201B).
One of the two required fields must be Transportation Economics (typically including Economics 282A-B), and the other must be a related field such as urban economics, labor economics, industrial organization, or public choice. Students must take at least one additional course from a list of designated courses in transportation and related subject areas. Students interested in studying transportation without an emphasis on economics should consider UCI's graduate program in Transportation Science.