Department of Economics
PhD Economics

Admission  | PhD Handbook  | Course Requirements | PhD Student Profiles

The Economics concentration in the Ph.D. program provides students with both the theoretical background and strong empirical skills necessary to be a professional economist. The strong analytical skills and extensive training in empirical methods using the latest econometric software make our graduates highly sought after. Recent graduates have found employment opportunities at Fortune 500 firms, government agencies and major Universities.

The Economics Department has a very productive faculty conducting research in many areas, including health economics, social capital, international economics, macroeconomic theory and industrial organization.  Faculty and graduate students have access to excellent computing facilities and data sources for research.  Graduate Assistantships provide an opportunity for students to interact with faculty and often lead to joint research projects and publications in scholarly journals.  Publications have appeared in leading economics journals including the American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, Econometrica, the Economic Journal, Review of Financial Studies, International Journal of Industrial Organization, Journal of Economic Behavior, Health Economics, Gerontology, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Economic Issues and the Southern Economics Journal. In addition, faculty and graduate assistants are active in sponsored research projects that lead to reports for government organizations like the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress and studies for private corporations like Federal Express. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research also provides professional opportunities for students and faculty alike.  Further, the department hosts a research seminar allowing visiting scholars to present the latest research on topics of interest to faculty and students.

The basic curriculum includes macroeconomic theory, microeconomic theory and a research core including statistics and econometrics.  Students then focus on a field of interest such as health economics or international economics, among others.  All students in the Ph.D. program then add a minor field, which may be outside of economics.  Recent students have selected minors ranging from finance, to statistics, to sociology, depending on their professional interests and specific career plans.  More detailed information about the all aspects of the program is provided in the Students Guide to the Ph.D. in Business Administration with a Concentration in Economics produced by the Economics Department.

With a strong curriculum and supportive faculty, students receive the highest quality education in contemporary economics.  Graduate research and teaching assistantships provide hands on experience and financial support as well.  The end result is a graduate with excellent analytical skills and strong training in empirical methods that give our graduates a competitive edge in today's global labor market.

Dr. Albert Okunade
Ph.D. Program Coordinator, Economics
Phone: (901) 678-2672

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Course Requirements

A. Total Credit Hours
A total of at least 72 credit hours of classes, beyond an earned Baccalaureate degree, allocated between three types of classes, must be completed. Each group of classes is described below. A student entering the Ph.D. program with the Baccalaureate degree can, upon successful completion of MA work, apply for graduation to receive the MA Economics degree. (All of the MA courses, passed with a B- or better grade, are automatically credited towards the Ph.D. degree.) The Graduate School requires a Ph.D. student opting to receive the MA degree along the way to simultaneously file for ‘continuance’ in the Ph.D. degree program.

Theory and History of Thought 18 hours
Research Core 12 hours
Field and Directed 24 hours
Electives Dissertation 18 hours
Total 72 hours

B. The Research Core (12 Hours)
Ph.D. students are required to take a set of classes designed to provide basic research skills. For Ph.D. students in the concentrations of Accounting, Economics, and Finance, the research core consists of the following sequence of classes:
1. ECON 8120: Advanced Quantitative Economic Analysis
2. ECON 7125/8125: Applied Statistical Methods for Business & Economics
3. ECON 8810: Econometrics I
4. ECON 8811: Econometrics II or ECON 8812: Econometrics III

C. The Concentration (42 Hours)
Concentration courses are economics courses in theory, a field of specialization and directed electives.
1. Theory (15 Hours) These courses provide the advanced theory that will be utilized in the field courses:
a. ECON 7300: Economic Theory
b. ECON 8310: Advanced Microeconomics I
c. ECON 8320: Advanced Macroeconomics I
d. ECON 8311: Advanced Microeconomics II
e. ECON 8321: Advanced Macroeconomics II
2. Field of Specialization (6 Hours)
We offer three main fields of specialization: Health Economics, International Economics, and Applied Microeconomics. Each requires two classes. Students are required to have one field of concentration, but they may bundle their elective hours to form a second field of interest.
The fields we currently offer are:
a. Health Economics
(1) ECON 8711 Applied Health Care Economics
(2) ECON 8910 Problems in Economics – Advanced Readings in Health Economics 2
b. International Economics
(1) ECON 8175: International Trade Theory and Policy
(2) ECON 8176: International Monetary Theory and Policy
c. Applied Microeconomics Two of the following four courses:
(1) ECON 8130: Industrial Organization
(2) ECON 8210: Labor Economics
(3) ECON 8312: Economic Behavior and Organizations
(4) ECON 8313: Economics of Risk and Uncertainty
3. Directed Electives in Economics (18 hours)
Students must take eighteen hours of electives in addition to the economics field. The courses should complement the student’s choice of field and may include independent studies courses and courses from other departments in a plan of study approved by the Ph.D. coordinator or advisor.

D. Dissertation Hours (18 hours)
After completing all course work and passing the comprehensive exam students must complete a dissertation. Students must be continuously enrolled until the time of graduation for at least 18 credit hours.

E. A Schedule of Classes by Semester and a Program of Study
To facilitate planning, Table 1 summarizes when classes will be provided each year. This is tentative, and the department cannot guarantee that all classes will be offered as scheduled.

Table 1

The Cycle of Classes

Fall of the First Year
ECON 7300: Economic Theory and Decisions
ECON 8120: Advanced Quantitative Economic Analysis
ECON 7125/8125: Applied Business and Economics Statistics, or equivalent

Spring of the First Year
ECON 8310: Advanced Microeconomics I
ECON 8320: Advanced Macroeconomics I
ECON 8810: Econometrics I Field or elective course

Fall of the Second Year
ECON 8311: Advanced Microeconomics II
ECON 8321: Advanced Macroeconomics II
ECON 8811: Econometrics II and/or Econometrics III

Spring of the Second Year
Field or elective courses
ECON 8901 Teaching Practicum or ECON 8900 Research Practicum

Fall and Spring of the Third Year and Fourth Year
Field or elective course
ECON 8900 Research Practicum
BA 9000 Dissertation hours

Note that students may also enroll in BA 8800: Reading for Comprehensives as necessary.

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Last Updated: 4/7/15