The PhD program in Economics provides in-depth, rigorous training in the theory and application of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. Entering students aim for research and teaching careers in academia or research-oriented positions in government, consulting, or private industry. Faculty members work closely with PhD students, generating a collaborative, stimulating intellectual environment.
The basic coursework is usually completed in the first two years. During the first year, students take core courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and research methods. The second year is devoted to field courses, and students begin to develop their own research ideas through this coursework. Students’ independent research begins in the summer after the second year when they begin working on their “second-year” paper, which is typically the first step in building a dissertation. After the second year, students also have the opportunity to teach their own class, building additional core knowledge and developing important classroom skills.
Beyond the second year, students are strongly encouraged to attend our weekly seminar series and participate in brown bag lunch and reading groups. There is ample opportunity to present ongoing research both to obtain critical feedback and develop important presentation skills.
Students are required to complete three fields of specialization, one of which must be econometrics. The department offers fields in advanced macroeconomics, industrial organization, health economics, and labor economics. Please visit our faculty directory for additional insight into the research focus within our department.
To earn a PhD a student must:
- Complete a minimum of 54 semester hours of course work, including required courses in micro and macroeconomic theory, econometrics and research skills.
- Pass two out of three written comprehensive (core) exams in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and econometrics in their first summer (at the end of their first year).
- Complete three fields of specialization, including one in econometrics.
- Complete a second-year paper assignment.
- Complete a Thesis Committee Form, which is typically done by the fall of your third year and must be done before your oral examination.
- Complete a Final Program of Study Form. This is typically done by the fall of your third year and must be done before your oral examination.
- Pass the Oral Examination by the end of your third year. Once you pass your oral examination and complete the Admission to Candidacy Form you will be formally admitted into candidacy.
- Present your research in the department’s seminar series.
- Write and defend an acceptable dissertation.
Students enrolled in the PhD program in Economics are required to complete a set of core and selected field courses of specialization. The core curriculum consists of courses in mathematical economics (ECON 8000), microeconomic theory (ECON 8010 and 8020), macroeconomic theory (ECON 8040 and 8050), statistical methods (ECON 8070) and introductory econometrics (ECON 8080).
In addition, to satisfy the university’s research skills requirement, students must attend the workshops and seminars sponsored by the department (ECON 8980), and successfully complete Research Methods in Economics (ECON 8090). The research methods course requires students to write a research paper to be presented in the department’s summer workshop series.
Students are required to complete three fields of specialization, one of which must be econometrics. To earn credit for this sequence you must take at least two of three advanced econometrics courses (ECON 8110, 8120, and 8130). At least one of the two elective fields must be from courses offered by the Economics Department. Besides econometrics, the department offers fields in advanced macroeconomics, industrial organization, health economics, and labor economics. With permission of the department's graduate coordinator, students can satisfy one of the elective fields through course work in a related department, such as finance. A field is completed after passing two courses in an area of specialization with a minimum average grade of 3.0.
Written Preliminary Examinations
At the end of the first year, students are expected to have completed the Micro Theory (ECON 8010 and ECON 8020) and Macro Theory (ECON 8040 and ECON 8050) sequences and to take the Micro Theory and Macro Theory core exams. These theory core exams are given in June after the first year. Students who do not pass may retake the exam(s) later in the summer. Students must pass both exams during the summer after their first year in the program to maintain satisfactory academic progress towards their degrees.
An intensive introduction to the process of doing economic research typically begins in the fall of students’ second year when they take the Research Methods Course. The class is designed to help students transition from coursework to research and ultimately to writing their dissertation. The course is designed take students through the process of identifying, developing, and answering a research question. The tools students learned in their first year and are learning in their second are applied to this process under the close supervision of the course instructor.
Students’ development towards becoming independent researchers continues with the second year paper. By the summer after their second year of coursework, students form a second year paper committee and propose a topic for their second year paper. Over the next six months, students work under the supervision of this committee to craft a completed economic research paper. By January of their third year, successful students will have completed a paper having the potential for publication in a scholarly journal.
Progress towards becoming an independent researcher culminates in a student’s dissertation. Students establish a thesis committee during their third year. The completed dissertation must demonstrate original research, independent thinking, scholarly ability and technical mastery. Its conclusions must be logical, its literary form acceptable and its contribution to knowledge should merit publication. Students should establish a thesis committee by the spring of their third year.
Typical Course Sequence
- ECON 8010 Microeconomic Theory I
- ECON 8040 Macroeconomic Theory I
- ECON 8070 Statistics for Econometrics
- ECON 8000 Mathematics for Economists*
- ECON 8020 Microeconomic Theory II
- ECON 8050 Macroeconomic Theory II
- ECON 8080 Introduction to Econometrics
- ECON 8980 Seminar
- Microeconomics Theory Preliminary Exam
- Macroeconomic Theory Preliminary Exam
- Late July
- Microeconomics Theory Preliminary Exam Retakes
- Macroeconomic Theory Preliminary Exam Retakes
- Second-year paper draft
Economics PhDs have placed at various prestigious academic institutions. Placements include tenure-track positions at Baylor University, Miami (OH) University, Cleveland State University and St. Joseph's University, and post-doctoral positions at Columbia University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina. Our students have also placed at prominent positions in government and industry, such as the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Treasury, The Analysis Group and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Admissions + Financial Aid
Individuals holding a four-year baccalaureate degree in any discipline from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale are eligible to apply. Applicants are required to have college credit in differential calculus. Because of the necessary rigor of the curriculum, we also strongly recommend taking courses in integral and multivariable calculus and linear algebra prior to applying.
The General Test of the GRE is required for admission into the program. The GMAT will not be accepted as a substitute for the GRE. All international applicants whose native language is not English and who wish to be considered for financial aid must submit a TOEFL iBT score along with their application, irrespective of their graduating institution. There are no waivers for the TOEFL requirement.
All applicants to the PhD program are automatically considered for financial assistance. The Terry College of Business offers a variety of teaching and research assistantships, scholarships and fellowships. Qualified incoming graduate students are typically offered 9-month (academic-year) teaching or research assistantships from the college, as recommended by the department. The department provides these assistantships to continuing PhD students for five years of study. All assistantships carry a tuition waiver and a stipend.
The application process is spelled out in detail on the Terry College’s application process and materials page. All application forms and instructions for completing them are available there. Send the completed application directly to the PhD/MA Program Admission Office of the Terry College:
PhD/MA Admissions Office
Terry College of Business
University of Georgia
620 S. Lumpkin Street
Athens, GA 30602
The application deadline is January 20. Department and Terry College financial-aid decisions are typically made in late February or early March. The UGA Graduate School only accepts electronic letters of recommendation, which can be submitted through its homepage.
PhD students are admitted for the fall semester only; there are no spring or summer admissions. In addition, the department does not transfer degree credit from other graduate programs. Students already holding a Masters degree from another program are usually asked to take all core and field courses in residence at Terry. Under certain circumstances, the mathematics and statistics preparatory classes may be waived on a case-by-case basis.
Please see the Bursars’s Office for information about tuition and fees.
All applicants to the PhD program are automatically considered for financial assistance. The Terry College of Business offers a variety of teaching and research assistantships, scholarships and fellowships. Qualified incoming graduate students are typically offered 9-month (academic-year) teaching or research assistantships from the college, as recommended by the department. The department provides these assistantships to continuing PhD students for four years of study. The total value of these awards is approximately $18,000, depending on the applicant’s qualifications and work assignment. All assistantships carry a tuition waiver. Teaching and research assistants are expected to devote 16 hours per week toward their assistantship duties, which are determined by the faculty member or members to whom the student is assigned.