Upon entry, students are advised by the Director of Graduate Studies. During the third 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 courses being possible additions 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. Please note: There is no penalty for failing a waiver exam; the student simply takes the course.
Student Research Seminar
This non-credit seminar is intended to introduce the research process and allow students the opportunity to receive feedback on their own research progress. Students in their second year and above present their research progress and attend student-driven workshops. First-year students attend research presentations by individual faculty members. All current PhD students are expected to enroll and attend regularly. The seminar meets on a weekly to biweekly basis.
This workshop prepares graduate students to support undergraduate students as TAs and provides opportunities for graduate students to receive feedback and develop their instructional skills. Students practice teaching and learn about teaching strategies. All PhD students currently holding a TA line are required to attend regularly. The workshop meets once a week.
Microeconomics and Macroeconomics Preliminary Examinations
In August at the end of the first year, students must take both the Microeconomics and Macroeconomics Preliminary Examinations, which are prepared by two separate faculty committees.
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. Students are allowed a total of four attempts to pass both exams. For example, if a student passes the Macroeconomics Preliminary Examination on the first try, then the student has up to three tries to pass the Microeconomics Preliminary Examination, and vice versa. Failure to pass the Preliminary Examinations after the allotted number of attempts 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 applied econometrics (ECO 614) and a sequence of 700-level field courses preparing them for research in a specialized area of economics. Students are expected to take between 18 and 24 credits in their second year, with a minimum of 9 credits each semester. In addition, students must choose a field of specialization in which to begin research.
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 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 for their chosen field of research.
Second-year students must select a field of specialization in which to write a research paper and identify a faculty member who is willing to advise their research paper. By the end of April, students must notify the Director of Graduate Studies of their choice of field and advisor. Examples of fields include:
Student Research Seminar
Second-year students must attend the student research seminar and present some tentative research ideas. Students may present their plans for their field paper in the student research seminar.
Master of Science Degree
Completion of 36 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 PhD students for the MS in Economics degree. Students are also able to obtain an MS degree without taking the Preliminary Examinations by completing 36 units of credit in the courses designated below with a 3.0 GPA and writing a Master's Project.
ECO 665: Microeconomic Theory I
ECO 609: Macroeconomic Theory I
ECO 611: Math for Economists I
ECO 666: Microeconomic Theory II
ECO 610: Macroeconomic Theory II
ECO 613: Introduction to Econometrics
and 6 additional economics courses at the 500-level or higher
During the third year, students choose a dissertation supervisor and make substantial progress in research. 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.
Third-year students are required to:
1. Find a dissertation supervisor by the end of January.
2. Demonstrate the ability to conduct research in their chosen field of specialization by writing a field paper.
3. Start developing a dissertation proposal deemed acceptable to their dissertation supervisor.
Students have until the end of October to submit the field paper to their faculty advisor with a copy to the Director of Graduate Studies. By the end of November, the faculty advisor must provide the student and the Director of Graduate Studies with a grade for the field paper and an explanation for the grade. The field paper is graded “Pass” or “Fail.” Students must receive a “Pass” to satisfy the field paper requirement.
Student Research Seminar
Third-year students must attend the student research seminar and present their research leading up to the dissertation proposal. Students may present work related to their field paper in the student research seminar.
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 pdf (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 graduate program 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:
Completed and fully-signed application to candidacy received by the graduate school by:
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:
Either Spring or Summer semester
The student is expected to make progress on the dissertation during the fourth and fifth years and complete it by the end of the sixth 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 period 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.
Student Research Seminar
Students in their fourth year and beyond must attend the student research seminar and present their ongoing dissertation research.
Dissertations Recently Completed by PhD Student