PhD Program

The Department of Economics offers sequences in micro theory, macro theory, and econometrics in the first year, followed by qualifying examinations (micro and macro) in the summer. Coursework in the student’s chosen fields of specialization is completed in the second or early in the third year. The research components of the degree include a field specific research paper, completed in the third year, and a dissertation, typically completed in either the fourth or fifth year. The PhD program in economics is classified as STEM (CIP Code 45.0603: Econometrics and Quantitative Economics).

Our doctoral program offers the following concentrations:

  • Applied Econometrics
  • Economic Growth and Development
  • Environmental Economics
  • Experimental/Behavioral Economics
  • Game Theory
  • Industrial Organization
  • International Economics 
  • Labor Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Public Economics

Departmental Requirements

Every graduate student seeking the PhD degree in economics at the University of Oregon shall complete the following departmental requirements in addition to university and graduate school requirements:

First-Year CORE Program

The recommended program of study includes three (3) terms each of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and econometrics. Students completing these nine (9) courses with a GPA of 2.9 or higher will be invited to take the qualifying examination offered early summer in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. Files of students with below a 2.9 GPA will be examined to determine if such an invitation is warranted. Students who fail the qualifying examination may be invited to retake the examination the following September.

All students who pass the qualifying examination but have an econometrics GPA below 3.0 must take a competency exam in econometrics, to be administered the Thursday prior to the first week of fall classes. Students who fail the competency exam must successfully retake (earning a grade of "B" or better) each econometrics course in which they received a grade lower than a "B".

Students shall file an approved program of study by December 15 following their qualifying examination.

Field Requirements

Field courses: Students must complete an approved two-quarter (2-quarter) sequence of courses in each of two (2) fields with a 3.0 GPA or better. Credit for EC 601, 603, 605, or 609 cannot be counted toward the field requirement.

Field research paper: Students must complete a research paper in one (1) of their two (2) approved fields and a minimum of six (6) credits of EC 601 (research). The paper must be approved by two (2) members of the faculty who specialize in that field, and be completed by winter term of the third year.

Breadth Requirements

Students must complete at least five (5) elective 600-level quarter courses in economics in addition to their field course requirements with a 3.0 GPA or better. Credit for EC 601, 603, 605, or 609 cannot be counted toward the breadth requirement. Additional complementary courses in other disciplines are strongly recommended.

Dissertation Requirements

Prospectus: A prospectus for a dissertation and a minimum of six (6) credits of EC 601 (research) is required for advancement to candidacy. There shall be an oral defense of the prospectus before the economics faculty prior to its formal approval by the candidate’s dissertation committee. The prospectus should be accepted by the end of the third year for students planning to complete the doctoral program in four (4) years. Upon completion of the first-year CORE program, field and breadth requirements, and acceptance of the prospectus, students may request advancement to candidacy from the Graduate School. Students must be enrolled for at least three (3) credits during the term of their advancement.

Dissertation: Candidates must complete a dissertation and a minimum of 18 credits of EC 603 (dissertation). The dissertation must constitute a significant contribution to the field, as judged by the candidate’s committee. A formal, public defense must take place on campus, on a date set by the committee chair and approved by the graduate school.

Substitutions and Waivers

Substitutions of alternative courses or courses taken elsewhere require the joint approval of the Ph.D. program committee and the department head. Any other waivers or exceptions to departmental requirements for the degree require the approval of the department faculty. In no instance shall the qualifying examination be waived.


All courses taken to satisfy the Ph.D. degree requirements must be taken for a grade (except EC 601, 602, 603, and 609), with at least a 3.0 overall GPA.

Time Limit

The seven-year (7-year) time limit for completing a doctoral degree begins with the first term of admission as a conditional or regular doctoral student at the University of Oregon. The required year of residency spent on the Eugene campus, the passing of the comprehensive examinations required for advancement to candidacy, and the completion of the doctoral dissertation must all be accomplished within this seven-year (7-year) period.

Apply to Our Graduate Program

Ready to apply? Start your application on Slate, the centralized application portal for graduate admissions at the University of Oregon.

Apply Now