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Economics, Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Course Requirements for the Economics Doctorate

The University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School requirements for doctoral coursework include a minimum of 72 graduate credits, with:

  • at least 48 credits in course work and
  • at least 30 credits in 700-level courses, exclusive of dissertation credits.
  • 2 consecutive semesters (excluding summer sessions) of 9 credits each, and
  • a minimum of 24 dissertation credits.

A maximum of 24 credits of course work (with grades of "B" or better) from a master's degree program may be allocated toward the Ph.D.. Students may use as many as 18 700-level credits from a master's degree program. The student's advisory committee, the Graduate Program Director and the Dean of the Graduate School all must approve a Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form.

The first year of the Ph.D. program includes core theory courses which are followed by theory comprehensive exams. Students should focus on their coursework (and not any dissertation work) particularly in that year.

The three categories of coursework for the Ph.D. in Economics are:

  • 6 core courses,
  • 4 field courses, and
  • 6 or more elective courses.

Math Camp

New graduate students are expected participate in Math Camp, an intensive review/summary of the mathematics necessary for the Ph.D. core courses. Math Camp is held during the week prior to the start of classes each fall semester.

If after Math Camp a student determines that he or she would benefit from additional coursework during the first year to remediate deficiencies, changes in her or his schedule can be made prior to the start of classes.

Math Camp does not count toward graduate course credit. Math camp takes place the week prior to the start of classes. A full schedule and material for the upcoming math camp will be available here

Core Courses

Three two-course sequences comprise the Ph.D. core curriculum:

  • Microeconomic Theory I and II (ECON 702, ECON 712),
  • Macroeconomic Theory I and II (ECON 703, ECON 704), and
  • Econometrics I and II (ECON 741, ECON 742).

Students are expected to give their full attention to these core courses as they will take 2 comprehensive exams on microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory to test knowledge of core course content at the end of their first year. These comprehensive exams are graded on a pass/fail basis.

Students are expected to take a total of 6 courses in their first year. These courses must include the 2 microeconomic theory courses, two macroeconomic theory courses, and two econometrics courses. Students should normally take all 6 Ph.D. core courses during their first year; those who do not must complete all core courses by the end of their second year.

Comprehensive Exams

Students must be accepted into the Ph.D. program in order to take the comprehensive exams. Ph.D students are required to take the comprehensive exams in the first summer following the completion of the core microeconomic and macroeconomic theory courses. Failure to take the comprehensive exams at this time will be considered a Fail and the student will have only one additional opportunity to re-take the exams in January. 

Fields of Specialization

Students choose specializations in 2 fields from the following four:

Each field consists of two 700-level courses, but these would typically be complemented by other courses from a list of recommended electives. In cases where the same course satisfies requirements of two fields, students are still required to take a minimum of four 700-level courses for their two fields.

Recommended electives listed for each field are not a comprehensive list of possible electives. Students may find that other elective graduate courses effectively complement their chosen fields.

Elective Courses

The 6 Ph.D. core courses and 4 field courses account for 30 700-level graduate credits. Students take 6 additional elective graduate courses (18 credits) to complete their course requirements.

Elective courses are typically chosen in consultation with the student’s academic advisor to support the student’s doctoral research, to strengthen fields of specialization. Most 600 or 700 level courses in the departments of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics, and some in other departments in the College of Business are approved electives.

Students who are engaged in research applications that are related to other fields may find it helpful to take graduate courses in another field. These can be counted toward fulfilling the elective requirements as long as they are at the graduate level (600 or 700 level) and are approved by the student’s advisory committee.

Courses from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics supplement core economics coursework and provide technical expertise for research. Students who desire additional preparatory coursework may take some of these early in the program to support the Ph.D. core coursework. A list of some of these courses is below. Courses that are particularly useful in preparing for the Economics Ph.D. Core sequence are noted with a *.

  • MATH 612 – Functional Analysis
  • MATH 619 – Topics in Analysis (Techniques of Problem Solving)*
  • MATH 620 – Math Modeling
  • MATH 629 – Dynamical Systems
  • MATH 640 – Topology
  • MATH 661 – Probability Theory*
  • MATH 662 – Introduction to Stochastic Processes
  • MATH 666 – Numerical Methods 1
  • MATH 667 – Numerical Methods II
  • MATH 686 – Game Theory* MATH 687 - Deterministic Operations Research
  • MATH 685 – Graph Theory and Combinatorics
  • MATH 701 – Numerical Analysis 1
  • MATH 713 - Abstract Real Analysis I
  • MATH 751 - Operations Research I: Linear Programming and Extensions*
  • MATH 752 – Operations Research II: Stochastic Operations Research
  • MATH 753 – Stochastic Models and Simulation
  • MATH 786 – Cooperative Game Theory*
  • STAT 652 – Statistics: Continuous Methods*
  • STAT 653 – Statistics: Discrete Methods*
  • STAT 667 – Statistical Theory*
  • STAT 756 – Survival Analysis
  • STAT 758 - Time Series Analysis

Transfer of Graduate Coursework from Master's Programs

Students who have completed a Master’s degree prior to enrolling in the Doctoral program may transfer up to 24 credits of graduate coursework with a grade of “B” or better, including up to 18 credits of 700-level credits to partially fulfill elective requirements. The Program director and the Dean of the graduate school must approve these credits.

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