Upon entry, students are advised by the Director of Graduate Studies. Once a field of specialization is chosen (by the end of the second year), the major supervisor of the dissertation will become the student’s advisor.
The minimum credit hour requirement for the PhD track is 72 credit hours. Of these, a minimum of 36 credits must be earned in economics courses. The remaining 36 credit hours may be earned from graduate courses inside or outside the department and from Independent Study, Supervised Research or Thesis Guidance in Economics.
In selecting all outside courses, students must seek advice from their doctoral dissertation committees or from the Director of Graduate Studies (if such committees are not yet in place). Please note: Inappropriate outside course selection against advice may affect a student's financial aid decision.
All students are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) at all times.
Please note: Any request for deviation from these requirements must be addressed in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies.
A first-year student must enroll in all of the following courses (except when a waiver has been obtained). These courses have been designed to provide a strong foundation in the major introductory aspects of economics. Each first-year course is worth 3 credits (for a total of 18 credit hours), and is scheduled to meet for three hours per week. A student is expected to take no more than 25 credits in their first year, with language or the introductory econometrics sequence being possible additions to the basic courses at the student’s discretion.
*Math for Economists I is a service course for the Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory and Econometrics courses.
Written Waiver Examinations
To enable PhD students to begin their dissertation research as early as possible, the department offers all incoming students the opportunity to take written waiver exams in any of the required first-year courses. Success in a waiver exam exempts the student from the relevant course, but does not count toward the 72 credit hours required for the PhD degree. Should a student pass a waiver exam in one of these subjects, the student would be expected to replace that course sequence with the introductory econometrics sequence. Please note: There is no penalty for failing a waiver exam; the student simply takes the course.
Faculty Research Seminar
There is one additional 1-credit course required for all first-year students. Individual faculty present their research interests to provide some research insight to the students and to familiarize the students with each of the faculty. The course meets every other week throughout the academic year.
Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Preliminary Examinations
In August at the end of the first year, students must take either or both of the Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Preliminary examinations which are prepared by two separate faculty committees. If a student chooses to take only one prelim in August, the other must be taken the following January.
The purpose of the Preliminary Examinations is to ascertain whether students have acquired a knowledge sufficient to conduct their own original research using microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts and methods of analysis. If a student fails either examination, the student must retake the examination the next time it is given. Two failures in any one examination will ordinarily result in the termination of the student’s program of study. A student may request an exception to this by submitting a written petition to the Graduate Studies Committee.
Possible grades on the preliminary examinations are “high pass,” “pass,” “marginal pass,” “master's pass” and “fail.” A master's pass represents a fail with respect to the PhD program but is deemed a pass for a Master’s degree.
In the second year of the program, students are normally expected to take the sequence in introductory econometrics (ECO 613 and ECO 614) and a sequence preparing for their field exam. Students are expected to take between 18 and 24 credits in their second year, with a minimum of 9 credits each semester. A student should also select a principal dissertation supervisor by the end of their second year.
Instructors of advanced economics courses file outlines and reading lists describing the contents of the courses with the graduate program secretary. These are available to help students decide which courses they would like to take. The department does not offer all second-year field courses every year.
The list of fields offered for the PhD (see below) plays an important role in shaping the offerings of advanced courses by the department. The department’s objective is to offer good training to students choosing one or more of these fields of study by teaching appropriate advanced courses in these fields so that students are prepared to take the corresponding Field Examinations.
If at all possible, each student should attempt to take and pass at least one field examination by the end of August of their second year. This is a written examination. The field examination is designed to test a student’s knowledge of a specialized area of economics. Typically, the area will be closely related to a topic that the student intends to make the subject of the dissertation. Please note: One field examination must be passed. A student can elect to take a second field examination.
A major field must be a cohesive and focused subgrouping of economic studies. Examples of fields include:
Other fields may be possible, but the student must petition the Graduate Studies Committee for approval.
Master of Arts Degree
Completion of 30 credit hours of course work with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0, as well as receipt of the master's pass or better in both Preliminary Examinations, qualifies students for the MA in Economics degree. Students are also able to obtain an MA degree without taking Preliminary Examinations, by completing 30 units of credit in designated courses with a 3.0 GPA and writing a Master's Project.
ECO 505 Microeconomic Theory – ECO665
ECO 507 Macroeconomic Theory – ECO609
ECO 576 Topics in Microeconomics – ECO666
ECO 580 Econometric 1 – ECO613
ECO 581 Econometrics 2- ECO614
and 5 economics electives
During the third year, the student make substantial progress on their dissertation. Some students also elect to take one or more courses in the third year. This is most appropriate when a course of particular interest was not offered during the student’s second year, or when additional coursework related to a dissertation topic is offered by the department or university.
By the end of the third year, students must:
Application to Candidacy for the PhD Degree
Once the student has selected a three-member committee for the dissertation, the student should file an Application to Candidacy (ATC) form with the Graduate School. This form is also needed for Certification of Full time Status if a student is registered less than full time in the program. If the student’s plans change, the ATC form may be revised by filing a Graduate Student Petition. Students should complete the ATC form, attach their unofficial transcript and send both documents to the PhD Secretary for processing. For more information, visit the UB Graduate School.
|For Degree Conferral On:||Feb. 1||June 1||Sept. 1|
|Completed application to candidacy submitted to the divisional committee by:||Sept. 1||Feb. 1||June 1|
|Completed and fully-signed application to candidacy received by the graduate school by:||Oct. 1||March 1||July 1|
|All required materials received by the graduate school by:||Friday before Spring classes begin||Last day of Spring exams||Friday before Fall classes begin|
|Students registered as a graduate student for the immediately preceding:||Fall semester||Spring semester||Either Spring or Summer semester|
The student is expected to complete the dissertation during their fourth year. Participation in dissertation workshops is strongly encouraged. Limited amounts of dissertation funding may be available through the University Graduate Student Association.
Students should also anticipate that considerable time may be required during this fourth year to prepare themselves and their vitae for entry into the job market.
Defense of Dissertation
This is an oral examination presenting the student's thesis work. It will be scheduled after completion but prior to final submission of the PhD dissertation. The defense of dissertation examination is open to all members of the Department of Economics. Examiners include the three members of the student’s dissertation committee.
Sample Dissertation Topics