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 (however both shorter and longer periods are possible). 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 Rules for PhD Programs.

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 7100Microeconomic Theory I1
ECON 7200Macroeconomic Theory I1
ECON 7110Microeconomic Theory II1
ECON 7210Macroeconomic Theory II1
ECON 7300Econometrics I: Fundamentals1
ECON 7310Econometrics II: Methods & Models1
ECON 9999Independent Study1-3
Upper Level Course Requirement
Select Upper Level Course4
Empirical Economics Requirement
Select Empirical Economics course1
Department Workshops
Select 2 workshops from the 5 listed2
Economic Theory
Monetary Economics
Empirical Microeconomics
Industrial Organization
Third Year mandatory class
ECON 7500AThird Year PhD Seminar0.5
ECON 7500BThird Year PhD Research Seminar0.5
The Empirical requirement is often fulfilled when students finish their 4 upper level courses.
Total Course Units16

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 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
Macroeconomic Theory I
Econometrics I: Fundamentals
Independent Study
Microeconomic Theory II
Macroeconomic Theory II
Econometrics II: Methods & Models
Independent Study
Year 2 1
Select (3) Upper Level ECON PhD Electives
Select (3) Upper Level ECON PhD Electives
Year 3
Select (2) Upper Level ECON PhD Electives
Third Year PhD Seminar
Third Year PhD Research Seminar
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 7000-level ECON courses (excluding 7100, 7110, 7200, 7210, 7300, 7310, 8100, 9110, 9200, 9300, 9400 and 9450, the workshops) with a grade of A- or higher. Credits must total 16 before going on dissertation status.


The Empirical requirement is often fulfilled after students finish taking the four upper level courses requirement.