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Ph.D. in Economics

University & Department Requirements for Ph.D. Candidates:

  • maintain full time status (12 units) to be eligible for financial support
  • complete a minimum of 6 quarters in residence
  • pass the qualifying examinations
  • complete a computation course (ECON 280)
  • complete an empirical project (as part of ECON 220F)
  • maintain at least a 3.0 GPA
  • complete the elective requirements
  • successfully complete an oral qualifying examination
  • complete a second year Spring written project
  • complete a third-year original paper
  • complete and successfully defend a dissertation
  • must complete Graduate Research Workshop (Econ 286) at least one time to maximum of four times

Notes: There is no foreign language requirement. The typical program matriculation time is 5 years. Program requirements are subject to change.

Please review specific information on requirements here:

Master of Arts in Economics

The Department of Economics does not offer a Master's program. Students in the Ph.D. program may apply for the M.A. upon completion of the degree requirements below, usually following the first year of study in the doctoral program.

History of the Degree

The M.A. degree meets the needs of three types of students:

  • Students who, though capable of satisfactory academic performance, decide not to continue their studies toward the Ph.D.
  • Students advised by the department not to continue in the Ph.D. program but who have mastered certain basic segments
  • Students who will continue in the program but need an M.A. degree for summer or part-time jobs

The M.A. is not a degree that students in the Ph.D. program routinely obtain in the course of their Ph.D. work; it is strictly incidental to the program.  The University will not award an M.A. in Economics if one has been awarded by another department or institution in similar fields.


To qualify for the M.A. degree, a student must have been admitted to the Ph.D. program. The requirements for the degree are:

  1. Complete with at least a B average thirty-six units in upper-division undergraduate or Ph.D. level economics courses, of which at least twenty-four units must come from the core first-year Ph.D. sequence (ECON 200, 210, 220).
  2. Complete one of the following:
    1. Receive at least a Master's pass in two core Ph.D. qualifying exams.
    2. Receive at least a Master's pass in one of the core Ph.D. qualifying exams, and a B+ average in the first-year courses in a second core field.
    3. Receive at least a Master's pass or receive a B+ average in one core field and write an independent paper approved by three Economics faculty members (one outside faculty member allowed) as a M.A. thesis.

A minimum of one quarter must elapse between application for candidacy for the M.A. degree and the filing of the final report for the award of the degree.  Forms turned in by the end of second week of the quarter may be conferred at the end of that quarter.