Overview PhD Program
The Department’s goal is for all students to finish their PhD in four to five years, with a possible exception for students who may excel on the international job market and for whom a sixth year of study may be appropriate. The median student finishes in five years. Subject to normal progress through the program, PhD funding is provided for five years and can be extended to a sixth year for the most promising PhD students.
Key milestones mark the end of each year of study.
During the 1st year, the sole focus of students is to excel in their PhD coursework and successfully pass their final exams (taken in the summer).
During the 2nd year, students attend field courses during the first three quarters of the academic year. During the fourth quarter, the department offers specialized courses (i.e., short courses, a writing course) and students spend time preparing and submitting a draft of their second-year research proposal. The final second-year research proposal is due at the end of the summer. In this year, they also select a thesis supervisor.
During the 3rd year, students focus on turning their research proposal into a finished paper as well as developing topics for the other papers in their dissertation. Regular seminar attendance and presentations are also required. This culminates in a Dissertation Proposal at the end of the year.
During the 4th year, students continue to focus on their research, give presentations, and attend seminars. At the end of the 4th year, a typical student will have a Job Market Paper (JMP) ready for entering the (academic or private-sector) job market.
During the 5th year, a typical student goes on the job market and defends their thesis. At the end of the year, they are ideally off to a job as an assistant professor, post-doctoral researcher, or research economist!
Students with the potential to succeed on the international academic job market are invited to apply for a sixth year of teaching-free funding via a Dissertation Fellowship. For such students, the 5th- and 6th-year activities correspond to the 4th- and 5th-year activities of a typical student described above.
The following illustration provides a graphical overview of this schedule. The grey arrows represent the milestones required to for normal progress through the program.