2017-2018 Bulletin 
    May 24, 2024  
2017-2018 Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Economics, PhD

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees Offered

The rigorous training and applied nature of the department’s core offerings and doctoral fields provide the analytical expertise and practical experience for both domestic and international positions.

Students fulfill a standard set of core requirements and qualify in one major doctoral field. Students must complete the coursework described below, pass the written and oral qualifying examinations, complete a satisfactory dissertation, and defend it in an oral examination.  A typical program for the doctoral student may be envisioned to focus study in the following way:

  • First year: core courses, research tools
  • Second year: core and field courses, research workshops
  • Third year: elective courses, research workshops, written qualifying exams, dissertation proposal and advancement to candidacy
  • Fourth year: composition of the dissertation

Degree Requirements

Coursework.  A minimum of 72 units of graduate-level coursework is required, including completion of the core course requirements listed below.

Concentration.  Student must successfully complete five courses in one major field of study. For interfield students, some of the economics fields require only four courses. Standard fields include the following.

Research Tool.  Completion of the institutional research tool requirement. This requirement is met by successful completion of the Mathematics and Econometrics sequences.  Other guidelines and forms are available on the registrar’s Research Tools webpage.

Qualifying Exams.  Successful completion of qualifying examinations in microeconomics, macroeconomics and the major field of study.  Exams are comprehensive and written by those most closely involved with the area being examined. Each type of qualifying exam is scheduled twice each year. Failure to pass the required qualifying exams results in the student’s termination from the doctoral program.  Two attempts are permitted for each qualifying exam.  A third attempt may be petitioned to the examination committee, however, approval is generally subject to the student having passed other qualifying exams.

Other guidelines and forms are available on the registrar’s Qualifying Exams webpage.

Transdisciplinary Course.  All doctoral students are required to enroll in a transdisciplinary course before the second year of the student’s enrollment.

Dissertation.  Dissertation procedures are detailed in the Doctoral Degrees section of the Bulletin.

University Policies.  University policies detailed in the Academic Policies section of the Bulletin apply.

Core Requirements


Microeconomics (8 or 12 units)

  • ECON 313 - Microeconomic Analysis I (if needed)
  • ECON 316 - Consumer Theory and General Equilibrium
  • ECON 317 - Game Theory and Asymmetric Information

Macroeconomics (8 units)

  • ECON 302 - Macroeconomic Analysis I
  • ECON 303 - Macroeconomic Analysis II

Research Tool (12 units)

  • ECON 382 - Econometrics I
  • ECON 383 - Econometrics II
  • ECON 384 - Econometrics III

Field Options


Courses in the non-transcripted fields below provide students with the background to successfully complete the field qualifying examination. To maximize exposure to key concepts, students should consult with their advisors before embarking on a particular field.  Additional fields may be proposed, provided a faculty member is available to supervise the field with the rigor commensurate with existing fields.  Approval of the department executive committee is required for all new fields.

International Economic & Development Policy (20 units)


This field provides a broad overview of the key elements of global economics, including international trade theory and policy, international money and finance, and development economies. Additional advanced courses promotes expertise in an area of specialization.  The strong background gained from this track is ideal for academic appointments as well as work in the public and private sector. 

  • ECON 350 - Global Money and Finance
  • ECON 355 - International Trade Theory & Policy OR ECON - 374 Trade & Development Policy
  • ECON 359 - International Finance and Economic Development OR ECON 304 - Growth & Development

Two courses from the following options:

  • ECON 342 - Asian Economic Development
  • PP 366 - Political & Economic Development in Latin America
  • SPE 411 - International Political Economy
  • SPE 418 - Seminar in International Political Economy


International Money and Finance (24 units)


This field emphasizes the key concepts essential for students wishing to pursue careers in academics, government, and the private sector in the areas of international finance, global macroeconomics, and the political economy of international monetary and financial relations. Specialists in any of these areas require a broad understanding of the interrelationships among exchange rates, international financial markets, open economy macroeconomics, and the political economy influences which drive government policies in these areas.

  • ECON 336 - Financial Economics
  • ECON 337 - Behavioral & Empirical Finance OR ECON 339 - Complexity Economics & Finance
  • ECON 350 - Global Money & Finance
  • ECON 358 - Advanced Topics in International Money & Financial Economics
  • ECON 384 - Time Series Econometrics

One additional approved field-relevant course from the following:

  • ECON 355 - International Trade Theory & Policy
  • SPE 411 - International Political Economy
  • ECON 359 - International Finance and Economic Development
  • ECON 327 - Applications of Behavioral Economics

Behavioral Economics & Neuroeconomics (20 units)


The Neuroeconomics track focuses upon the use of neuroscientific techniques and psychology to understand economic decisions and behaviors. While not becoming neuroscientists, students learn sufficient neuroscience to be critical consumers and producers of the literature, including laboratory techniques. In addition to studying neuroeconomics, students also specialize in a second economics field.

  • ECON 312 - Behavioral Neuroscience of Decision-Making
  • ECON 318- Foundations of Psychology & Economics

Three additional field-relevant courses from the following:

  • ECON 319 - Topics  in Psychology & Economics
  • ECON 320 - Experimental Economics
  • ECON 321 - Advanced Topics in Experimental Economics
  • ECON 322 - Behavioral Economics & Institutions Seminar
  • ECON 373 - Labor & Health Economics
  • ECON 375 - Behavioral Public Finance

Political Economy and Public Economics


The Public Choice and Public Economics field encompasses the application of microeconomics to political behavior and to the role of the state in economic life. Alterations in the institutions of politics are approached as outcomes conditioned by such variables as transaction costs, property rights, social values, and technology and factor quantities. Considerations focus upon issues of voting, coalition formation, and types of representation, such as autocracy, bureaucracy, public enterprise, and outsourcing.  Constitutional and legal structures are examined. The traditional role of taxes, public expenditures, and regulations are analyzed using public choice under the rubric of public economics.

  • SPE 318 - Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • SPE 471 - Strategic Modeling for Politics, Economics, and Business
  • PP 331 - Policy Evaluation

Two additional approved field-relevant courses including:

  • SPE 411 - Advanced International Political Economy
  • SPE 418 - Seminar in International Political Economy
  • SPE 351 - Comparative Institutional Analysis
  • SPE 352 - Comparative Political Economy
  • Econ 472 - Political Economy in Macroeconomics
  • Econ 373 - Labor & Health Economics
  • Econ 375 - Behavioral Public Finance


Students are required to take 16-24 units of electives, depending on core courses taken and chosen field. Electives cannot double count if taken as a core course, tool, or part of the field requirement.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees Offered