Ph.D. in Economics
The PhD degree requires at least 104 hours beyond the bachelor's degree and 72 hours beyond the master's degree. Our program is designed to be completed in five or six years. Below are our course requirements, exams, and research requirements. Our PhD program is classified as a STEM program.
Degree Requirements Heading link
Descriptions of each course can be found in the UIC Graduate Catalog.
1. Economics Core – 28 hours (7 courses)
The economics core consists of two courses each in microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory and three courses in econometrics (Econ 509, 510, 511, 512, 534, 535 and 539).
2. Areas of Concentration – 16 hours (4 courses)
Students must choose either Applied Microeconomics or International Macroeconomics as their area of concentration.
The Applied Microeconomics concentration requires the following courses:
Labor Economics I (Econ 531) and Public Economics I (Econ 575), plus two courses from Development Economics (Econ 516), Labor Economics II (Econ 532), Economics of Education (Econ 551), and Health Economics (Econ 555)
The International Macroeconomics concentration requires the following courses:
International Monetary Policy (Econ 515) and Time-series Econometrics (Econ 537), plus two courses from Development Economics (Econ 516), Labor Economics I (Econ 531), Labor Economics II (Econ 532), Economics of Education (Econ 551), Health Economics (Econ 555), and Public Economics I (Econ 575)
3. Electives- 12 hours (3 courses)
Students must take at least one additional 500-level course in economics and two graduate courses related to their field of study in either economics or in any other discipline. Generally, Econ 594, 596, and 599 cannot count toward elective credit.
1. Comprehensive Examinations
After completion of their core coursework, students must pass comprehensive examinations in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics that are designed to test their scholarly competence and knowledge in these subjects. Unlike final examinations administered at the conclusion of specific courses — which are limited to material covered in that course — the comprehensive exams test the ability to handle a range of material related to core concepts in economics within two years after admission to the program. Students who receive a failing grade on any qualifying exam on two occasions, or who have not passed all examinations by the end of their second year of study, will not be allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program. Each examination is 4 hours and is offered twice a year.
2. Preliminary Examinations
Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exams and field coursework the student is eligible to take the preliminary examination. This exam will consist of required questions for each area of study (Applied Microeconomics or International Macroeconomics) and optional questions based on specific topics courses that the student has taken.
Third Year Paper
During the third year of study students write a paper that explores a specific area of research in-depth, under the direction of two faculty members who mentor and guide the student in their work. This paper is an important part of graduate training since it facilitates the transition from coursework to independent research that will ultimately lead to a dissertation.
The dissertation is an original scholarly contribution and is the culmination of graduate education. Students write their dissertation under the direction of a five-member committee. Part of the preparation of the dissertation is a dissertation proposal, which states the topics to be explored, a summary of the relevant literature, the relevant theoretical and empirical issues, the data to be used and methods of analysis, and a statement of the anticipated significance of the research project.
Students should enroll in a minimum of 24 total credit hours of Econ 599 while preparing a dissertation. Econ 599 credit hours are available in variable amounts each semester, but students are recommended to enroll in 12 hours per semester when not enrolled in other coursework. Students may not enroll in Econ 599 for dissertation hours until they have completed all required coursework and passed the preliminary exam.