The Department of Economics at the Darla Moore School of Business has a well-established
doctoral program featuring a comprehensive yet flexible curriculum. Graduates have
been placed in leading academic institutions, prominent corporations and numerous
governmental agencies. Alumni are currently in positions with Memphis University,
Cambridge University (U.K.), Indiana University, College of Charleston, University
of North Carolina - Charlotte, Furman University, East Carolina University, the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Central Intelligence
Agency, the International Monetary Fund, BellSouth, Bank of America and PricewaterhouseCoopers,
Doctoral Program in Economics
Application Process and Contact Information
The Ph.D. in Economics program will next admit students during the 2019-2020 academic
year (to start Fall 2020).
For detailed information about requirements, application process, and admissions timeline,
as well as contact information for questions regarding the application/admission process,
please visit the Admission Requirements.
Each candidate must complete 48 hours of course work with at least a "B" average and 12
hours of dissertation credit to satisfy the university's Graduate School requirements
to obtain a Ph.D. Owing to the lock-step nature of the program, admission is limited
to the fall semester (admits every other year), and all students are required to take
at least nine hours of course work during the fall and spring semesters.
Each entering student must have satisfied the following requirements:
Basic Statistics and Probability (ECON 692: Quantitative Methods I or equivalent)
Calculus (ECON 523: Introduction to Mathematical Economics or equivalent)
A planned course of study is organized at the beginning of the student's period of
residence. This plan is formulated by the student in conference with a three-person
advisory committee designated by the director of graduate studies. Changes and departures
from this plan will be subject to the approval of the student's advisory committee
and the director of graduate studies.
The required core of 18 hours consists of:
ECON 811 — Microeconomics Theory I
ECON 812 — Microeconomics Theory II
ECON 815 — Topics in Microeconomics
ECON 821 — Macroeconomic Theory I
ECON 831 — Econometrics and Regression I
ECON 832 — Econometrics and Regression II
There will be six field courses offered in the second year. All students will be required
to take these six courses. These offerings will take advantage of the department's
strengths in international economics and applied microeconomics. The six courses will
include international trade, international monetary economics, economic growth and
development, and three courses in three separate applied-microeconomics areas (selected
from environmental economics, experimental economics, health economics, industrial
economics and labor economics). The particular course offerings will be announced
during the student's first year. Up to two courses may be taken outside the department
with the approval of the student's advisory committee and the graduate director. If
this option is chosen, the student is required to take the remaining field courses
from those offered by the department.
The candidate must demonstrate competency in a computer programming language or statistics
as demonstrated by appropriate course work or examination by the student's Ph.D. advisory
The candidate must present a dissertation which gives evidence of original and significant
research. The dissertation must be completed no later than five years after successfully
completing the oral comprehensive examination.
Residence at an approved university is required for at least three academic years
after the student has begun graduate work. At least two of the three years must be
spent in full-time residence in the Department of Economics. A student has 10 calendar
years to complete a program beginning with the first semester of matriculation.
Endowed Chairs in Economics
The department has three endowed chairs that provide salary supplements designed to
attract and retain outstanding professors.
Journal Activities in Economics
Economics of Education Review, a journal edited by USC professor Elchanan Cohn, is
supported by the department. The journal is published by Pergamon Press.
Teaching and Research
Prior to receiving the Ph.D. degree, each student is required to teach and participate
in research for at least one semester under the direction of a faculty member in the
Department of Economics.
The student must successfully complete a written examination during the summer following
the first year in the program. This examination is an admission to candidacy, will
cover all economic theory core courses required during the first year in the program,
and will be constructed and evaluated by a committee of at least three faculty members
appointed by the department chair.Taken after the second year, the comprehensive examination
consist of two parts. The written part is constructed and evaluated by a committee
of at least four faculty members appointed by the department chair. It covers material
from the student's second-year field courses. The oral part of the exam will also
be evaluated by a committee of four faculty members. It will consist of either a defense
of the dissertation proposal or a research presentation to the general faculty.