VIII. Graduate Programs
The objective of the PhD program is to train individuals who already have a strong background in economics to become independent and skilled researchers, in preparation for a career in academia, government or the private sector. Course offerings cover a broad range of topics in theoretical and applied economics. PhD candidates may write a dissertation in any of the areas of expertise of the graduate faculty in the department. In addition, the Department offers a PhD program in Resource and Environmental Economics in collaboration with the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics. (See PhD in Resource and Environmental Economics.)
Graduates are expected to have demonstrated competence at an advanced level in the core areas of Microeconomic theory, Macroeconomic theory, and Econometrics, to have demonstrated competence at the cutting edge of knowledge in their area of specialization and advanced competence in at least one other area, and to have demonstrated mature scholarship, research and communication abilities.
Applicants to the PhD program should have a master's degree in economics with a minimum average of 80% (A-) in their postgraduate studies. Applicants without a master's degree but with an outstanding record at the baccalaureate level, may be admitted initially to the MA program in economics. For students who achieve a superior record and show an aptitude for research, The Board of Graduate Studies, on the recommendation of the Department, may authorize transfer to the PhD program without requiring the student to complete a master's degree.
The program requires the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 12 courses covering core theory, econometrics, and field courses. (Students with an MA will be given credit for courses already in hand, where appropriate). The following sequence of milestones represents the typical path through the PhD program.
Year I: Core Courses
Students must complete the following courses, in preparation for the comprehensive examinations in economic theory, which is written at the end of Year I:
Year II: Research Paper
During the summer of the second year and only after the theory comprehensive exams are passed, students must prepare a research paper under the supervision of a faculty member. Once the paper is deemed to be acceptable, the advisor notifies the Graduate Coordinator who in turn notifies the Dean of Graduate Studies that the student has passed the "Qualifying Examination" requirement as set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. At this point, the student becomes a "candidate" for the PhD.
Year III and IV: Thesis
Submission and defence of an acceptable thesis on a topic approved by the student's advisory committee completes the requirements for the PhD. The thesis is expected to be a significant and original contribution to knowledge in its field and must demonstrate scholarship and critical judgement on the part of the candidate. Theses must be submitted within 48 months of completing the minimum duration.