PhD in Economics: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Get the details about Ph.D. programs in economics, including the classes you're likely to take and the careers you'll be prepared for. Keep reading for more information about online and campus-based programs in this field. Schools offering Economics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Do Campus-Based Doctoral Programs in Economics Work?

Before gaining admission to a doctoral program, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree. You'll also need to complete undergraduate coursework in microeconomics, calculus, linear algebra and macroeconomics. Additional prerequisites include submission of GRE scores and 2-3 letters of recommendation from past instructors or supervisors.

Most Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Economics programs are campus-based and require 4-7 years of study. You'll take courses throughout your first two years; you may need to complete both a written and an oral exam during this time. In some cases, you'll be expected to teach at least one undergraduate class. Many programs culminate in the dissertation process, which involves selecting a faculty mentor, researching a unique topic and presenting your findings to a faculty committee in oral and written form.

On-Campus Doctoral Programs 4-7 years of study culminating in a written and/or oral exam and dissertation process
Program Curriculum Corporate finance, behavioral economics, econometrics, statistical research methods, history of economic theory
Median Salary (2018)$104,340 (for economists)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)6% growth (for all economists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Common topics in a doctoral economics program may include econometrics, corporate finance, history of economic theory and statistical research methods. Elective courses could include industrial economics, organizational economic theory or behavioral economics. In many cases, a student's curriculum will depend on his or her chosen area of concentration.

What Can I Do After Graduation?

Earning a Ph.D. in this field could lead to work as an economist or postsecondary economics teacher. Economists analyze economic reports for government agencies and private businesses, research the effects of fiscal policies and develop economic forecasts. Many economists specialize in a particular sub-field, like industrial or demographic economics. Job responsibilities for professors include grading assignments and tests, creating lesson plans and teaching classes.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of employed economists was expected to increase by six percent from 2016-2026 ( During this decade, the number of working university instructors was projected to grow by 15%. The median annual wage for an economist was $104,340 in 2018. Economics professors earned a median annual salary of $101,480 during that year, as noted by the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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