The Ph.D. Program in Economics prepares students for careers in academics as well as for research-oriented positions in the private and public sector. It provides a cutting-edge education in micro- and macroeconomic theories, the development of a rigorous toolkit of mathematical and econometric techniques, and extensive exposure to various research areas in economics. This education enables students to analyze and contribute to the study of issues in their areas of specialty, as defined by their respective economic literatures.
To prepare students for teaching in academic careers, teaching assistantships will be made available. Teaching assistants will work closely with faculty in undergraduate courses, assisting in courses in the School’s undergraduate program in Economics and Finance. Teaching assistants may also assist in faculty research. Students will be mentored and supervised as they proceed through their training. Furthermore, the curriculum incorporates several components (in a course setting) where students make multiple oral presentations.
To prepare for their academic or non-academic research careers, students will select a topic of study, analyze the literature, conduct their research (developing new theory, collecting data, analyzing data), make oral presentations, and write reports at various stages of the process. This experience is completed with the submission of the research paper for publication in the economics literature. Furthermore, students write a dissertation as part of the graduation requirement. This experience is invaluable for positions both within and outside the academic sector where students may find employment in banking or financial institutions, insurance, corporate strategic planning, real estate, journalism, management, marketing, labor arbitration, regulation of private firms, environmental planning, and urban and regional planning.
Students have access to the computing facilities in the School of Social Sciences and the University’s Computing Center. The School has two computing laboratories which have over 30 computers that are network linked and equipped with major social science software packages, including E-Views, R, Rats, SPSS and STATA. A computerized geographic information system, the Lexis Nexis Database, and WestLaw are also available for student use. The University’s Computing Center provides personal computers and UNIX Workstations. Many important data and reference materials are also available online via the library’s and school’s memberships in numerous organizations.
The University’s general admission requirements are discussed here.
Applicants will be judged and evaluated by the existing admission standards as set forth by the University in its Graduate Catalog. These standards include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or its equivalent, fluency in written and spoken English, a grade average of 3.25 or better in upper-division and graduate course work in economics and related courses, submission of official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Students may also wish to consider submitting their score from the writing component of the GRE test as additional evidence of their writing skills.
Standardized tests scores are only one of the factors taken into account in determining admission. Given the demands that will be placed on the student in his/her study of economics, a strong background in calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical statistics is highly desirable. Furthermore, a student also may be admitted to the Ph.D. program after being accepted by the Master of Science in Applied Economics and achieving at least a 3.0 grade point average in the core courses.
Students should submit all transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a one-page essay outlining the applicant’s background, education, and personal objectives.
Students who lack the necessary background to start the program are advised to take courses at the School of Social Sciences to strengthen their preparation, but they will not receive credit towards their Ph.D. program. The following courses may be used to gain the prerequisite knowledge (i) POEC 5305 Microeconomics for Policy I or ECO 3310 Intermediate Microeconomics; (ii) POEC 5306 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy or ECO 3311 Intermediate Macroeconomics; (iii) ECO 4351 Mathematical Economics; (iv) POEC 5316 Advanced Regression Analysis or ECO 4355 Econometrics; (v) POEC 5313 Basic and Inferential Statistics or equivalent.
Furthermore, given that a study in economics requires significant skills in mathematics, a two-week intensive course is offered each August to help incoming graduate students prepare for our rigorous theory and econometrics courses. While it is not mandatory, students are strongly encouraged to take this course, especially those without training in multivariate calculus. At the beginning of the first year of study, all students will be given a diagnostic exam that measures their mathematical knowledge and readiness to enter the core theory courses. Students who do not display satisfactory mathematical skills, at the level of undergraduate multivariate calculus and linear algebra, may be required to take additional mathematics courses in concert with the core theory courses.
Students who have previous graduate work pertinent to the Ph.D. Program in Economics may be given transfer credit. Up to 45 hours of credit hours may be transferred, but students must fulfill the requirements outlined in the next section below at the University of Texas at Dallas, and they must be students in residence while doing so. Students desiring to transfer graduate courses thought to be equivalent to core courses may be required to demonstrate competency through examination. The award of such transfer credit must be consistent with the University’s “Transfer of Credit” policy.
The University’s general degree requirements are discussed here.
Students seeking the Ph.D. in Economics must (i) complete core courses with an average GPA of 3.25 and no grades lower than B; (ii) pass comprehensive exams in micro- and macroeconomic theory and in econometrics (although the econometrics exam will be waived for students who complete each of the required econometrics courses with a grade of A); (iii) be certified in two research areas within the science of Economics; and (iv) submit an approved dissertation. The following paragraphs elaborate on these requirements.
Students are required to complete the following core courses:
For research area certification, the student must select the two research areas, preferably during the first year of study, and advise the Program Director of the selection. The Program Director will, in conjunction with the Economics curriculum committee, advise the student regarding which research area courses will satisfy the certification requirements. The general guideline for certification consists of (i) making a grade of B or better in three courses within each area; (ii) writing a major literature survey on a topic in each area; and (iii) writing an acceptable research paper in one area. The student will write the literature surveys during the second year and present them orally. The research paper will normally be written during the third year and will also be discussed in various oral presentations. The expectation is that a completed research paper may be submitted for publication, presented at professional meetings or offered at a professional forum. In addition, the student may decide to pursue further work on that topic and develop a dissertation from it.
The submission of an approved dissertation will complete the course of study on the Ph.D. degree in Economics. The procedure for approval of the dissertation is outlined in the UTD Graduate Catalog.
The program highlights six research areas. The definition of these areas offers a guideline; however, students may wish to request a customized research area definition that better suits their research objectives. Such requests will be evaluated by the Program Director in conjunction with the Economics curriculum committee. In the following research area descriptions, courses that are required within the area are denoted by an asterisk.