The Ph.D. program in economics emphasizes analytical and quantitative skills, and exposes students to a broad range of contemporary policy issues to prepare them for careers in academia, business, or government. The Ph.D. program consists of distinct stages. In the first two semesters of study, students receive rigorous training in three core areas: microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics.
The core courses form an integrated sequence of courses that develop the theoretical and quantitative tools students will build on later in their careers. They are followed by qualifying exams, and students successfully completing the first year move on to specialized study in field courses.
In the second year students choose three fields of specialization for intensive study. We offer fields of specialization in Advanced Theory, Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Econometrics, Financial Economics, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Labor Economics, Monetary Economics and Public Economics. Typically field courses are taken in the second and possibly third year, and students choose one field as their major field to be examined in the field exam.
Most students begin work on their dissertation in the third year, and this occupies them through the fourth or fifth year of residence. During this time students work on their research in conjunction with faculty advisors, and students participate in a series of research workshops and outside seminars in their specific research areas.
An undergraduate major in economics is not a requirement, but students are generally expected to have taken some economics courses, including at least intermediate theory courses. Students should have a solid background in mathematics. It is expected that students will have at least completed courses in calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical statistics, but more math is generally considered better. A master's degree is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program, nor for completing the Ph.D. degree.
Life in College Station
College Station and the adjoining city of Bryan have a combined population exceeding 130,000. They are located in east-central Texas in Brazos county, approximately 100 miles from Houston, 105 miles from Austin, 175 miles from Dallas, 160 miles from San Antonio, and 140 miles from the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Lake Somerville, a 24,500 acre lake surrounded by a state park, is located thirty miles from the University. The average rainfall is 39 inches. The average temperature in the winter is 52ºF, in the spring 69ºF, in the summer 93ºF, and in the fall 71ºF. College Station is served by two commuter airlines which connect with Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston Intercontinental airports.
The College Station-Bryan community, given its central location, serves as a favorite meeting place for corporate and academic organizations, and offers an excellent variety of hotel accommodations. As in many typical college towns, several well-established groups (vocational theater, the Brazos Valley Symphony and the Brazos Choral, among others) complement the cultural endeavor of the University. The International Festival Institute at Round Top located 55 miles from College Station, is a first-class international music center attracting internationally renowned performers.