The Ph.D. program in economics provides a solid foundation in modern economic analysis, develops expertise in two fields in economics, provides milestones and incentives for dissertation research, and supports graduate student professional development and placement. The department has a long-standing tradition of producing Ph.D. economists with strong foundational skills and expertise. Please visit the department website for additional information.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

The economics department seeks well trained economists with strong quantitative skills for its Ph.D. program. In particular, applicants should have taken the equivalent of a minimum of three courses in calculus (twelve to fifteen semester hours) and a course in linear algebra. A course in real analysis is not required, but exposure to logical mathematical derivation is very useful. Recent doctoral program data are available at

The department strives to provide a comprehensive financial aid package to strong applicants. This may include a graduate teaching assistantship for up to a student’s fifth year in the program. Outstanding applicants may receive a fellowship that reduces or eliminates teaching commitment for one or two semesters and may include funding for summer research. The department also strives to provide partial financial support for students to present research at academic conferences every year. For more information, please contact the economics office at

The University of Kansas requires the following thresholds for English proficiency: Please note that requirements for admission are different from those for a teaching/research assistant.

The deadline for an applicant to be considered for admission and financial aid is January 2. The final deadline for an applicant to be considered for admission (but not necessarily financial aid) is March 30. Applicants should submit a graduate application online. Supplemental materials that cannot be uploaded may be sent to the department address.

The University of Kansas
Department of Economics
Graduate Secretary
Snow Hall
1460 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 415
Lawrence, KS 66045-7514

Note. The department of economics has approved (in Fall 2017) significant changes to improve the Ph.D. program. These changes are going through administrative approvals. After approval, incoming Ph.D. students for Fall 2018 may opt into the new program structure. Approved changes are expected to be included in the catalog for 2019-20. For additional details, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies in Economics.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

In addition to meeting general requirements, the Ph.D. candidate in economics must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours of course work, at least 48 of which must be in economics.

  1. All Ph.D. candidates must complete these core courses in economic theory and quantitative methods
    ECON 800Optimization Techniques I3
    ECON 801Microeconomics I3
    ECON 802Microeconomics II3
    ECON 809Optimization Techniques II3
    ECON 810Macroeconomics I3
    ECON 811Macroeconomics II3
    ECON 817Econometrics I3
    ECON 818Econometrics II3
    MATH 727Probability Theory3
    MATH 728Statistical Theory3
  2. Course work beyond these required core courses is a matter of choice for the student in consultation with his or her graduate advisor. The graduate advisor develops a program to assist the student in specialized interests. Each program must include a sufficiently broad range of topics in economics to prepare the student for comprehensive examinations.

Qualifying Examinations

Ph.D. degree aspirants must pass written qualifying examinations in microeconomics and macroeconomics after completion of the core courses in these areas, ordinarily at the beginning of the fourth semester of full-time study. A student who does not pass a qualifying examination may be permitted 1 retake, ordinarily at the end of the fourth semester of full-time study

Fields of Specialization

Each student must demonstrate competence in at least 2 fields of specialization in economics by completing 2 courses in each of these areas. Current fields of specialization include financial economics, economic development, industrial organization, international economics, labor economics, econometrics, economic history, economic theory, and macroeconomics.

Seminar-Workshops and Responsible Scholarship

Beginning in the third year of the program, each student must enroll in ECON 910 and attend the weekly department seminars for 6 continuous semesters. Every doctoral student is required to have training in responsible scholarship pertinent to economics research. Each semester there will be 1 90-minute seminar on this topic led by either a faculty member or a visiting speaker.

Third-Year Paper

Each student must complete a third-year seminar paper. This would typically be in one of the fields of specialization. Usually the third-year paper becomes part of the student’s doctoral dissertation.

Comprehensive Oral Examination

Upon completion of most of the course work and other requirements for the doctoral degree, inclusive of research skills and residence requirements, the student must prepare a dissertation proposal under the direction of a thesis advisor and pass a comprehensive oral examination related to the dissertation proposal.


Following the comprehensive oral examinations, the candidate must organize and write a dissertation on his or her chosen topic under the supervision of a dissertation committee.

Final Oral Examination

The candidate must defend the dissertation successfully in a final oral examination.

Plan of Study

Year 1
ECON 8003ECON 8093
ECON 8013ECON 8103
MATH 7273MATH 7283
 9 9
Year 2
ECON 8023ECON 8183
ECON 8113Specialization3
ECON 8173Specialization3
 9 9
Year 3
ECON 9101-3ECON 9101-3
 7-9 7-9
Year 4
ECON 9101-3Elective/Specialization13
Elective/Specialization13ECON 9996-9
ECON 9993-6 
 7-12 9-12
Total Hours: 66-78


If needed.