Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Admission Requirements

Entrance to the PhD program normally requires completion of course requirements for an MA in Economics with an average of at least A- at Dalhousie standards. Students normally prepare for their PhD Comprehensive Exams in two years.

Applicants may be required to submit the results of the Graduate Record Examination in Economics with their application.  They should also consult Faculty of Graduate Studies Regulations on “Admissions Requirements” and English language proficiency.

PhD Program Requirements

The PhD program is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in economic theory and quantitative methods and intensive work in applied fields of economics. A course of study recommended for the three-year PhD program would include:

Year 1
  • ECON 5500.03: Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECON 5509.03: Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON 5575.03: Econometrics I
  • ECON 6600.03: Advanced Macroeconomic Theory
  • ECON 6609.03: Advanced Microeconomic Theory
  • three credit hours of graduate economics elective courses
  • ECON 9510: Qualifying Exam (Summer)
Year 2
  • ECON 6534.03: Advanced Econometrics
  • ECON 6683.03: Special Topics in Advanced Economics.  A special topics course must be taken in a PhD student's field of specialization and normally be taught by one or more members of the department who will also be members of the committee responsible for the comprehensive exam in the student's special field.
  • six to twelve credit hours of graduate economics elective courses
  • ECON 9520: Comprehensive Exam (Summer)
Year 3
  • Thesis research and writing

Students can request from the graduate coordinator a waiver for a course. A waiver shall only be granted if the student can demonstrate that the courses taken elsewhere were at an appropriate level. Approval by the Department and the Faculty of Graduate Studies is required for the program of each student.

After the first two semesters of their course work, candidates for the PhD program will be given a Qualifying Exam in:

After the completion of all their course work, candidates for the PhD program will be given a Comprehensive Exam in:

  • One field of specialization

Fields of specialization for the PhD are open, subject to the following requirements:

  • Applicants to the PhD must clearly indicate on their application the primary field in which they wish to specialize.
  • A faculty member in the Department must agree to be the research supervisor for the student before the student is accepted to the program.
  • Changes to the student’s intended field of specialization after starting the program will also be subject to the agreement of a faculty member in the Department to supervise the student’s research in the proposed area of specialization.

Completion of PhD Program

Qualifying Examinations consisting of written exams in micro and macro economic theory will be written within a designated one-month period following the successful completion of the first-year micro and macro theory courses (ECON 5500, ECON 5509, ECON 6600 and ECON 6609).  A written Comprehensive Exam in one field of specialization will be taken after the completion of all PhD course requirements.  Qualifying exams consisting of one microeconomic theory exam and one macroeconomic theory exam typically taken after the first year.

Students are required to present a thesis proposal at a departmental workshop no later than six months after completion of the Comprehensive Exam. One year after completion of the Comprehensive Exam, and on an annual basis, students are required to present their research results at a department workshop.

Finally, a suitable thesis must be submitted and defended.