You can download a one-page summary of all program requirements, by clicking hereAs described in detail below, students must demonstrate (i) competence in the core areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics, and (ii) mastery of two subfields in economics. The student's dissertation research should demonstrate independent and creative thinking, intellectual synthesis, and skill in written communication. Students are expected to complete their dissertation by the end of their fifth year. The maximum time permitted is six years.

Core Course Work

All students must show competence in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics by earning a "B" grade or higher in Economics 210A-B-C, 210D-E-F, and 220A-B-C, and a grade point average across all core courses of at least 3.25. Students receiving a grade lower than "B" in any of these core courses will be given one opportunity to retake the course and earn a "B" grade or higher. Students must also satisfactorily pass the econometrics lab courses 221A-B-C.

Students pursuing a masters degree in statistics along with their Ph.D. studies in Economics can substitute STAT 200A-B for Econ 202 and Econ 220A/221A.

Preliminary Exams

Students must pass preliminary exams in microeconomics and macroeconomics following their first-year course work. Students who fail to pass either exam at the PhD level the first time will have a second opportunity just before the beginning of the Fall Quarter of the next academic year.

Fields of Specialization

Students must show mastery of two subfields in economics by taking a two-course sequence (possibly including independent reading courses) and writing a sole-authored research paper in each field. For details on the field course requirements click here. Each field paper must be approved by two faculty supervisors chosen by the student who attests that the paper represents the student's independent ideats and research. In order to be judged as making normal progress in the Economics Ph.D. program, one field paper must be completed and approved by the end of the Summer Quarter of the second year and the second paper completed and approved by the end of the Summer Quarter of the third year.

You can view the Field Requirement Completion Form: 2nd year or  3rd year

Advancement to Candidacy

Students having successfully completed the course and preliminary exam requirements as described above are eligible to take the oral candidacy exam based on one of their field papers (described above) or in rare occasions on a very well developed research proposal.  This oral exam will typically take place at the end of the second year, although in some circumstances it can take place at the end of the third year.

The exam is administered by a five-person candidacy committee consisting of four faculty members  of the department and one member outside the department.  The examiners shall determine whether or not the candidate has mastered the technical and expository skills necessary to complete a dissertation. As such, they may ask questions about any material covered in the core courses as well as the candidate's research paper. Questions about core material asked in the context of the research paper are to be expected. If the candidacy exam committee unanimously determines that the candidate has the necessary skills, then they will appoint a dissertation committee to guide the preparation of the dissertation. Students who fail a candidacy exam are given only one more opportunity to pass.

Oral Examination of the Dissertation Prospectus

Two or three quarters before the expected completion of the dissertation, the dissertation committee will organize an oral examination of the candidate’s dissertation prospectus. Ordinarily, the prospectus will describe in detail the dissertation, and will typically be accompanied by at least one completed chapter of the dissertation. The examination committee is the candidate’s dissertation committee.  This committee will also certify that the candidate has successfully completed the departmental field requirements. Students should complete this exam before the end of their fourth year.

The candidate must notify the Director of Graduate Studies of a planned examination at least two weeks ahead of time. Examination materials (completed elements of the proposed thesis and the field papers) must be submitted to all committee members and the Director of Graduate Studies at least one week before the examination.

The student must receive the unanimous approval of the examination committee to pass the prospectus exam.

You can view the Dissertation Prospectus Proposal Exam Form here.


Students are required to enroll in at least four quarters of the graduate colloquium (Economics 200A-B-C), in which they hear and discuss papers presented at a regular faculty colloquia series. The colloquium is designed to assist students, through class discussions and supplementary readings, in relating their knowledge to actual research practice by active professionals, including their own faculty. Students may take as many additional quarters of the colloquium for credit as they wish. Whether or not they are enrolled in the course, all students are strongly urged to attend colloquia on a regular basis as an important means of learning about current research.

Teaching Assistantships

Students who are planning an academic career are expected to serve as teaching assistants for at least three quarters.


Courses offered are described below. Economics 200A-B-C, 210A-B-C, 210D-E-F, and 220A-B-C are normally offered every year. Other courses are offered at times determined by student and faculty interest. Economics 100A-B-C, listed as a prerequisite to many graduate courses, is an undergraduate core course entitled Intermediate Economic Theory I, II, III. All students are urged to take Mathematics for Economists (203A), so-called "Math Camp", and Probability and Statistics (202). Both are offered before the start of the Fall Quarter. 

A Sample Ph.D. Program

Year 1

Fall Quarter
Mathematics for Economists: 203A*
Microeconomics I: 210A
Macroeconomics I: 210D
Econometrics & Statistics I: 220A/221A

Winter Quarter
Microeconomics II: 210B
Macroeconomics II: 210E/211L
Econometrics & Statistics II: 220B/221B
Spring Quarter
Microeconomics III: 210C
Macroeconomics III: 210F
Econometrics & Statistics III: 220C/221C

Year 2

Fall Quarter
Field I
Field II or related elective
Colloquium 200A
Winter Quarter
Field I
Field II
Colloquium 200B
Spring Quarter
Field II or related elective
Research Writing 205A
Colloquium 200C

*This course is offered in the summer before the fall quarter starts. Although not required, you are strongly encouraged to take before your first quarter. 

To summarize, during the second year, students complete one field paper and advance to candidacy. During the third year students complete a second field paper. During the fourth year students prepare and take the oral examination of their dissertation prospectus. Students are encouraged to take additional elective and colloquium courses in their third and fourth years. The fifth year is devoted to completing the dissertation.

Requirements for the Master's Degree

The Master's degree is awarded only to students admitted to the Ph.D. program who have completed the following requirements:

The nine core courses in microeconomics (210A-B-C), macroeconomics (210D-E-F), and econometrics (220A-B-C), with no grade lower than a B and with a grade point average across all graduate courses of at least 3.1.

Pass the written preliminary exam following the first-year courses at least at the Master's-pass level.


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