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Ph.D. in Economics

Doctoral - PhD Economics

The Department of Economics at the Darla Moore School of Business has a well-established doctoral program featuring a comprehensive yet flexible curriculum.

Graduates have been placed in leading academic institutions, prominent corporations, and numerous governmental agencies. Alumni are currently in positions with Memphis University, Cambridge University (U.K.), Indiana University, College of Charleston, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Furman University, East Carolina University, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the International Monetary Fund, BellSouth and Bank of America, among others.

The Economics Department will next be admitting students for the 2016-2017 academic year.

General Requirements for the Ph.D. in Economics

The Ph.D. in Economics normally requires a minimum of four years of full-time work beyond the bachelor's degree. Each candidate must complete 48 hours of coursework with at least a "B" average, and 12 hours of dissertation credit to to satisfy the University's Graduate School requirements to obtain a Ph.D. Owing to the lock-step nature of the program, admission is limited to the fall semester and all students are required to take at least nine semester hours of course work during the fall and spring semesters. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission.

Prerequisites

Each entering student must have satisfied the following requirements:

  • Intermediate Microeconomics 
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics 
  • Basic Statistics and Probability (ECON 692: Quantitative Methods I or equivalent) 
  • Calculus (ECON 523: Introduction to Mathematical Economics or equivalent)

Course Requirements

A planned course of study is organized at the beginning of the student's period of residence. This plan is formulated by the student in conference with a three-person advisory committee designated by the Director of Graduate Studies. Changes and departures from this plan will be subject to the approval of the student's advisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

The required core of 18 hours consists of: 

  • ECON 771, Special Topics in Microeconomics
  • ECON 785, Advanced Macroeconomic Theory I
  • ECON 786, Advanced Microeconomics Theory I
  • ECON 788Advanced Microeconomics Theory II
  • ECON 795, Econometrics and Regression I
  • ECON 895, Econometrics and Regression II

There will be six field courses offered in the second year. All students will be required to take these six courses. These offerings will take advantage of the department's strengths in international economics and applied microeconomics. The six courses will include international trade, international monetary economics, economic growth and development and three courses in three separate applied-microeconomics areas (selected from environmental economics, experimental economics, health economics, industrial economics and labor economics). The particular course offerings will be announced during the student's first year. Up to two courses may be taken outside the department with the approval of the student's advisory committee and the graduate director. If this option is chosen, the student is required to take the remaining field courses from those offered by the department.

Language Requirement

The candidate must demonstrate competency in a computer programming language or statistics as demonstrated by appropriate course work or examination by the student's Ph.D. advisory committee.

Dissertation

The candidate must present a dissertation which gives evidence of original and significant research. The dissertation must be completed no later than five years after successfully completing the oral comprehensive examination.

Residence

Residence at an approved university is required for at least three academic years after the student has begun graduate work. At least two of the three years must be spent in full-time residence in the Department of Economics. A student has eight calendar years to complete a program beginning with the first semester of matriculation.

Endowed Chairs in Economics

The Department has three endowed chairs which provide salary supplements designed to attract and retain outstanding professors. 

Journal Activities in Economics

Economics of Education Review, a journal edited by USC Professor Elchanan Cohn, is supported by the department. The journal is published by Pergamon Press.

Teaching and Research

Prior to receiving the Ph.D. degree, each student is required to teach and participate in research for at least one semester under the direction of a faculty member in the Department of Economics.

Required Examinations

The student must successfully complete a written examination during the summer following the first year in the program. This examination is an admission to candidacy, will cover all economic theory core courses required during the first year in the program, and will be constructed and evaluated by a committee of at least three faculty members appointed by the department chair.

Taken after the second year, the comprehensive examination consist of two parts. The written part is constructed and evaluated by a committee of at least four faculty members appointed by the department chair. It covers material from the student's second-year field courses. The oral part of the exam will also be evaluated by a committee of four faculty members. It will consist of either a defense of the dissertation proposal or a research presentation to the general faculty.

 

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