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PhD in Economics


Applications must be made online; please go to the Graduate School Admissions web site. In addition to the information below, please read the Frequently Asked Questions section of this page and also the Prospective Student Information provided by the LSU Graduate School. Any additional questions not answered by the information in these web pages can be addressed to the Graduate Director 

Introduction

 

The Master's and PhD programs have different objectives. The MS program is designed to provide the training necessary for careers in government and business where original research is generally not the primary concern. The PhD program is designed to train economists capable of adding to the knowledge of economics, doing independent research, and teaching at college or university levels.

 
 Admission Policies
 

Applicants for graduate studies in Economics must meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School and be accepted by the Department of Economics. Detailed information can be found at the LSU Graduate School website, Prospective Students link. Kindly note that the LSU Graduate School Requirements, in addition to the ones specific to the Economics Department described in the next paragraph, are only for consideration and do not guarantee admission.

 

In addition to the Graduate School requirements, we would like students to have completed undergraduate courses in calculus, statistics, and intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics before entering the PhD program. It would be preferable for students interested in pursuing the PhD degree to also take at least a year of calculus, a linear algebra course, and probability and statistics.

 

Non-economics majors with strong academic records are encouraged to apply. It is likely that students who have not had many undergraduate courses in economics or have not had the courses indicated above can make them up in one semester, before taking the core program courses.

 

The Department also requires three letters of recommendation.  We do not requre writing samples.

 
 

Financial Assistance

 

All PhD students, both domestic and international, including entering graduate students, are eligible to apply for assistantships. A full time (20 hours/week) graduate student assistant currently receives a stipend of $16,100 per academic year, and is also provided a full tuition waiver. Students holding assistantships are expected to assist the faculty in their research and teaching for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Teaching assistantships, which involve teaching an entire section, are available to those advanced graduate students who have successfully passed the PhD qualifying exams. Graduate School Supplement Awards are available to outstanding graduate students entering the PhD program. These awards range from $1,000 to $3,000 per year and are generally renewable for a maximum of four years. A minimum GPA of 3.0 every semester is required to retain the award. Summer stipends for teaching or research have been available in the past and will be available in the future, but their number varies from summer to summer.​

 

Requirements for the PhD Program


Students may first earn a MS degree and then enter the PhD program, or may immediately enter the doctoral program. The PhD in economics consists of a core of macro and micro theory and three fields of specialized study. The courses and sequencing are as follows: 

    1.       Required Courses
      • Year 1, Fall Semester (12 hours)
        • Price Theory II (Economics 7720)
        • Macroeconomics II (Economics 7715)
        • Mathematics for Economists (Economics 7610)
        • Econometric Methods I (Economics 7630)​

      • Year 1, Spring Semester (9 hours)
        • Advanced Micro Theory (Economics 7725))
        • Macroeconomics III (Economics 7735)
        • Econometric Methods II (Economics 7631) 

      • Year 2, Fall Semester (9 hours)
        • Advanced Macroeconomics Field Course*
        • Applied Micro Course**
        • Econometric Methods III (Economics 7632) or elective for students focusing on the Advanced Macroeconomics Field 

      • Year 2, Spring Semester (9 hours)
        • Advanced Macroeconomics Field Course*
        • Applied Micro Course**
        • Dynamic Econometric Theory (Economics 7633) or an elective for students focusing on the Applied Micro Field
      • Year 3, Fall Semester (and subsequent semesters) (9 hours)
        • Pre-dissertation/Dissertation Research (9 hours)
    *Advanced Macroeconomi​cs fields include Economic Growth and International Macroeconomics (Economics 7070 and 7570) and Monetary Economics (Economics 7590 and 7595). The Advanced Macro field for each entering class will be determined by student preferences and by faculty availability and preferences.
    **Advanced Micro courses are selected from Industrial Organization, Health Economics, International Trade, Public Finance, Game Theory, and Labor Economics. The courses making up the Applied Micro field for each entering class will be determined by student preferences and by faculty availability and preferences.
    2.       PhD Qualifying Examination
    Qualifying examinations are required over microeconomics and macroeconomics. Students will take both qualifying exams soon after the end of their second semester. The exams will cover all micro and macro coursework taken, normally Price Theory II and Advanced Microeconomic Theory and Macroeconomics II and III, and will together constitute the General Exam required by the Graduate School.

    A failing grade on an exam requires the student to take that exam a second time. A second exam will be given in August following the first attempt. Each exam can be taken no more than twice, and exams are given only twice a year.

    The student must pass both micro and macro exams with superior performance for continuation in the PhD program. Performance on these exams may be adequate to grant the student a MS, but not admit the student into the PhD program. Performance may be so poor, however, that the student receives neither a MS nor is allowed to continue the PhD program.
    3.       Original Research Paper 
    Students will finish all required course work by the end of the second year.  At this time they will choose a graduate advisory committee that will approve and ultimately grade an original research paper (aka the "third-year paper"). 
    Students will be expected to complete the paper by the end of the Fall semester of their third year.   Upon approval of their faculty advisory committee, they will present and defend the third year paper in an open department seminar by the end of this semester.  The faculty advisory committee will determine a passing or failing grade.  Students who fail this requirement will not be guaranteed funding in the future.  At the discretion of the advisory committee, students may resubmit the paper by the end of February of the third year.  Students who fail to pass in the second attempt will not be allowed to continue in the program after the spring semester. ​
    4.       Completion of 39 Hours
    A total of 39 hours of coursework must be completed. These consist of the core macro and micro theory courses, the mathematical economics course, the econometrics courses, and the field courses. Any coursework taken for an outside minor is in addition to the 39 hours of economics courses.
    5.       Dissertation
    A satisfactory doctoral dissertation must be presented by each candidate.
    6.       Final Examination
    The final examination is an oral defense of the dissertation. Graduate School regulations require that the Final Exam cannot be held until at least one academic year has elapsed since the student was admitted to candidacy (i.e., passed the General Exams).
    7.       Other Requirements of the PhD Program
    Time Limit

    No less than one academic year must elapse between the passing of the General Examination and completion of all requirements for the PhD. In addition, the student must complete all PhD requirements within seven calendar years of being classified as a student in the doctoral program. If this time period is exceeded, the student must retake the General Exam (i.e. retake both the macro and micro qualifying exams), and this can be allowed only under the discretion of the Economics Graduate Committee.
    8.       Fields and Course Descriptions
    Courses available for graduate students are in the General Catalog and Graduate Bulletin.
    9.       Minor in Economics
    A Minor in economics requires the following 12 hours of coursework:
      • ECON 7700
      • ECON 7710
      • ECON 7000 level elective
      • ECON 4000 level or above elective other than 4710 and 4720.
    A minimum of a 3.0 average across these four courses is required. If the student fails to maintain a 3.0 average across these four, he or she has two options: 1. pass the MS Comprehensive Examination in Economics; 2. take ECON 4000-level courses other than 4710 and 4720 or take Econ 7000-level courses until the average in 4000-level or above Economics coursework is at least 3.0.
     10.     Specialization in Econometrics
    Non-economics students can obtain a Specialization in Econometrics. This requires earning a minimum of a 3.0 average in 4 courses from among:
      • ECON 7610
      • ECON 7630
      • ECON 7631
      • ECON 7632
      • ECON 7633

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