Field Requirements & Policies for the Ph.D. in Economics

Students in the Department of Economics are required to demonstrate expertise in two or more fields of study. At least one field must be a primary field, expertise in which is established by passing a field exam.
Cooper Library
Field exams are given on an as-needed basis. Students who have taken two or more courses in a field sequence can request that a field exam be given by contacting the head of the field committee. Field committee heads are appointed by the Chair of the PhD Examination Committee. If a field exam has not been given in the past twelve months, it is the responsibility of the field committee head to prepare an exam to be taken within six weeks, provided that this six week period falls entirely within the normal academic year and during a period when the University is not on break. The six week window is extended for periods when the University is on break. Exam requests made late in the spring must be accommodated no later than six weeks from the start of classes in the fall semester.

Field exams may be given in consecutive semesters at the discretion of the head of the field committee. When a field exam is planned, the head of the field committee notifies the Chair of the PhD Examination Committee, who then insures that all graduate students are notified of the intent to offer the exam. Results of the exam are to be forwarded to the Chair of the PhD Examination Committee and the Graduate Program Director for purposes of record-keeping.

Field exams are expected to draw from course content in recent semesters. Nevertheless, their purpose is to assess student knowledge in fields that are much broader than the content from a short list of courses. Study beyond course content is required of a professional economist. Thus, in assessing student knowledge and preparation for professional qualifications, field exam questions will often cover problems and topics that have not been included in recent course content.

With the exception of Applied Econometrics, expertise in a secondary field is established by taking and passing a two course sequence in that field, in some cases coupled with a third year paper approved by the field committee head.

A secondary field in Applied Econometrics can be claimed by passing the qualifying exam and passing two courses from 808, 809, and Computational Economics.

Important Restriction: Two fields (both primary, or one primary and one secondary)
must be established using an independent set of courses, with no double-counting. Once
established, courses can double-count for adding a secondary field.

Fields & Committee Heads
With Course Pairings & Paper Requirements for Secondary Fields

Regularly offered fields (with annual or biennial course sequences):

  • Micro: Environmental Econ, Financial Econ, Industrial Organization, Labor, Public
  • Macro: Growth & Development, International

Fields listed with an asterisk are offered as secondary fields only

Anti-trust and Regulation* (Robert Tollison): Antitrust (825) and Regulation (826), plus a third year paper

Environmental / Natural Resource Economics (Molly Espey): Any two from Advanced Natural Resource Economics (809), Economics of Environmental Quality (811), Seminar in Resource Economics (904), plus a third year paper

Financial Economics (Sergey Mityakov): Financial Economics (855) and either of Time Series Econometrics (909) or Computational Finance (Math 982), plus a third year paper

Growth and Development (Robert Tamura): Economic Development (831), Advanced Economic Growth (916)

Industrial Organization (Matt Lewis): Organization of Industry (824), and either Antitrust Economics (825), Theory of Regulation (826), Property Rights (827), or Advanced IO (924)

International Economics (Scott Baier): International Trade (840), Int’l Finance (841)

Labor Economics (Curtis Simon): Labor Economics (816), Advanced Labor (917)

Monetary Economics (Michal Jerzmanowski): Monetary Economics (950), Int’l Finance (841), plus a third year paper

Public Economics / Public Choice (William Dougan): Public Finance (820) and either Public Choice (821) or Empirical Public Economics (920)