Economics, PhD

The graduate economics program at Penn is a Ph.D. program administered by the Graduate Group in Economics, which consists of the faculty of the Department of Economics, and some of its secondary appointments in the Wharton School and the School of Arts and Sciences. A master's program in Economics is not offered at the University of Pennsylvania.

The program trains students to conduct outstanding research in economics. All major areas of economics are covered, with particular strengths in theoretical and empirical microeconomics, and in modern macroeconomics. Graduates of the program obtain positions at leading universities, research institutions, and government agencies around the world.

Students in this program first acquire a thorough knowledge of economic theory and econometric methods before they begin their own research. They meet a series of requirements during their first years in the program, and thereafter devote most of their time to the writing of a dissertation. The median length of time required for completion is 5.25 years. Almost all students are supported by combinations of fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships during at least their first five years of study.

View the University’s Academic Requirements for PhD Degrees.

Required Courses

A minimum of 16 course units are required. A minimum of 12 course units must be taken at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mathematics Pre-Requisite
Select Mathematics Pre-Requisite course
Core Courses
ECON 701Microeconomic Theory I1
ECON 702Macroeconomic Theory I1
ECON 703Microeconomic Theory II1
ECON 704Macroeconomic Theory II1
ECON 705Econometrics I: Fundamentals1
ECON 706Econometrics II: Methods & Models1
Upper Level Course Requirement
Select Upper Level Course4
Empirical Economics Requirement
Select Empirical Economics course1
Department Workshops
Select two workshops2

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2018 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Sample Plan of Study

Year 1
Microeconomic Theory I
Microeconomic Theory II
Econometrics I: Fundamentals
Macroeconomic Theory I
Macroeconomic Theory II
Econometrics II: Methods & Models
Year 2 1
Select (3) Upper Level ECON PhD Electives
Select (3) Upper Level ECON PhD Electives
Year 3
Select (3) Upper Level ECON PhD Electives
Dissertation status – select and attend workshop for grade
Completion of 3rd year paper (graded)
Year 4
Thesis/Dissertation Research – attend 2nd workshop for grade
Complete Proposal Defense by the end of the 4th year in residence.
Year 5
Dissertation Defense

By the end of the 3rd year in residence, students must have passed four 700-level econ courses (excluding 701-706 and 7x9, the workshops) with a grade of A- or higher. Credits must total 16 before going on dissertation status.