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PhD in Economics


Welcome to the website of the PhD Program in Economics at LSU. Our department is committed to excellence in teaching and research. Our faculty are frequent recipients of teaching awards, publish regularly in prestigious professional journals, and several serve as editors of professional journals.

 

Our goal is to provide our graduate students with analytic skills and a breadth of economic understanding that prepares them for careers in academics, government, or business. To this end, we encourage our students to begin their research as soon as possible. Once our students finish their course work, they immediately begin their research with their advisors. Many of them publish papers before they complete their PhD, which helps them perform better in the job market. We have a strong job placement record, and more information can be found here.

 

In addition to having a strong PhD program in economics, LSU has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. It is conveniently located on the bank of Mississippi river, close to downtown and many attractions in the city.  New Orleans, one of the top touristic destinations in the world, is just about an hour’s drive from the campus. Louisiana​ (known as the Sportsman's Paradise) has a perfect climate for outdoor activities year-around. The weather is pleasant from October to May. Many outdoor festivals, concerts and events are held throughout the year and often involve cooking, eating, and socializing in the temperate weather. 

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.


The Eco​nomics Department has the following requirements. Applications must be made by February 1. 

  •  GPA should be at least 3.0 (A=4.0)
  •  GRE: Those who are accepted usually have a minimum GRE score of 300, and at least a  score of 160 on the quantitative section.
  •  TOEFL/IELTS/PTE: A minimum TOEFL score of 80 (internet-based exam) or 213 (computer-  based exam); or a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS; or a minimum score of 59 on the  PTE is required for international students.
  •  References: 3 letters of recommendation should be submitted. At least 2 letters should be  from your professors.
  •  Statement of Purpose: 2-page summary of your purpose for applying to the PhD program.

It would be preferable for students interested in pursuing the PhD degree to take calculus, statistics, and intermediate macroeconomics and microeconomics before entering the PhD program​

 
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 receives a competitive stipend, and is also provided a full tuition waiver but must pay university fees. 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. 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.​
 

PhD Pr​ogram: Details

The PhD in economics consists of a core of macro and micro theory and three fields of specialized study--a macroeconomics field, a microeconomics field, and the econometrics field. The courses and sequencing are as follows: 

    1.       Required Courses
      • Year 1, Fall Semester (9 hours)
        • Advanced Microeconomics I (Economics 7702)
        • Advanced Macroeconomics I (Economics 7718)
        • Econometric Methods (Economics 7630)​

      • Year 1, Spring Semester (9 hours)
        • Advanced Microeconomics II (Economics 7703)
        • Advanced Macroeconomics II (Economics 7719)​
        • Econometric Methods II (Economics 7631) 

      • Year 2, Fall Semester (9 hours)
        • Advanced Macroeconomics Field Course*
        • Applied Microeconomics Field Course**
        • Microeconometrics (Economics 7632)  

      • Year 2, Spring Semester (9 hours)
        • Advanced Macroeconomics Field Course*
        • Applied Microeconomics Field Course**
        • Dynamic Econometric Theory (Economics 7633)  
      • Year 3 and beyond, Fall Semester (and subsequent semesters) (9 hours)
        • Pre-dissertation/Dissertation Research (9 hours)
    *Advanced Macroeconomi​cs courses are selected from Economic Growth, Monetary Economics, International Macroeconomics, and Advanced Topics in Macroeconomics. The courses making up the Advanced Macro field for each entering class will be determined by student preferences and by faculty availability and preferences.
    **Advanced Microeconomics 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 macroeconomics and microeconomics theory. Students take both qualifying exams in August following the first year of coursework. The exams cover all macro and micro theory coursework taken and together constitute the General Exam required by the Graduate School. To be eligible to take the qualifying exams, a student must have at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA and not more than one C grade or lower in a first-year course.

    The qualifying exams are marked as PhD pass, Masters pass, or Fail by the graders. A student must receive a PhD pass on both the macro and micro theory exams to continue in the PhD program.  If a student receives a Masters pass on one or both of the exams, the student can retake the exam(s) at the beginning of the spring semester of the second year. Each exam can be taken no more than twice, and exams are given only twice a year. If, on the first try, a student receives a Fail on one or both of the exams, the student will not be allowed to retake the exam and hence will not be able to continue in the PhD program. 

    PhD students receiving either a PhD pass or a Masters pass on the qualifying exams are eligible to receive a Master of Science in Economics degree.  For students who receive a PhD pass on both qualifying exams, the third-year paper (discussed in the next section) will constitute the final exam for the MS degree.  For students who receive a Masters pass on one or both exams on both the first try and also on the retake, the retake will serve as the final exam for the MS degree and also on the retake, the retake will serve as the final exam for the MS degree.​

     
    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 faculty advisory committee that will approve and ultimately grade an original research paper (aka the "third-year paper").  The third-year paper is between the general exam (i.e., the qualifying exams described in the previous section) and the dissertation defense (which constitutes the final exam for the PhD).  The third-year paper is the final exam for the MS in Economics degree for PhD students. 

    ​ 

    Students will be expected to complete and present the paper in an open department seminar by mid-February of the Spring semester of their third year. Students who ultimately fail to pass this requirement will not be allowed to continue in the program. 

    4.       Completion of 36 Hours
    A total of 36 hours of coursework must be completed. These consist of the core macro and micro theory courses, the econometrics courses, and the macro and micro field courses. Any coursework taken for an outside minor is in addition to the 36 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 Catalog​.
    9.       Minor in Economics
    A Minor in economics requires the following 12 hours of coursework:
      • ECON 7701 (Introduction to Advanced Microeconomics)
      • ECON 7717 (Introduction to Advanced Macroeconomics)
      • 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.     Graduate Certificate in Econometrics (click title for information)

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