PhD Requirements

Degree Requirements

The PhD in Economics requires 60 semester hours of coursework including dissertation research. Up to 18 hours of the 60 hours may be accepted from the MA in Applied Economics at UNCG or a comparable master’s in economics program.

First Year

Students generally take 9-12 semester hours each semester. During your first fall semester, you might be advised to take one or more of the MA-level core courses to supplement your previous studies. You might also begin taking field courses in labor economics, public economics, health economics, or environmental economics. During the spring semester, you will begin taking the PhD core courses that will provide you with advanced training in microeconomics theory and econometrics.

Qualifying Exams

Qualifying exams covering economic theory and econometrics are administered during the summer after completion of the first year of coursework. You must pass each exam with a grade of B- or better. If you do not pass an exam, you may re-take that exam one time.

Second Year

During the fall semester, you will complete the PhD core courses with advanced microeconomics and advanced econometrics. You will take an additional 3 hours of field course work this semester and 9 hours of field course work in the spring semester. At this point in the program, you can begin to branch out into the fields of specialization in applied economics. You may, after consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, choose to pursue special interests by taking coursework outside the Department of Economics in other graduate departments including Finance, Educational Research Methodology, Gerontology, Geography, or Information Systems. You also have the option of taking field courses through the economics departments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or Duke University.

During the second year of doctoral work, you should identify a member of the graduate faculty to serve as the chair of your dissertation committee. In consultation with your committee chair, you will also select the faculty members to serve on your dissertation committee.

Third Year

During your third year of doctoral study, while you may continue to take field courses relevant to your areas of interest, your primary focus will be on identifying the field of research and topic or topics you would like to address in your dissertation. Your course work will include surveys of literature in your chosen field. You may also begin to identify and collect data for one or more empirical research projects.

Preliminary Comprehensive Exams

After you have completed your field courses, your dissertation adviser, in consultation with your committee, will administer written and oral examinations covering your fields of study. Upon successful completion of those exams, you will be admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Fourth and Subsequent Years

Once you have been admitted to candidacy, you will register for dissertation credit and prepare and present a dissertation that reflects an independent investigation of an economic topic approved by your dissertation committee.