Making Satisfactory Progress

Below is a reasonable timeline to help students plan for completing the Ph.D. program. This illustrates how all program requirements can be satisfied in a timely manner.

First Year

  • The Graduate Program Director is the student’s academic advisor until a Program of Study is filed with the Graduate School in the student’s second year. Students work with the Program Director for course selection and advising.
  • Students enroll in six courses that include the core Ph.D. courses of Microeconomics Theory I and II (ECON 702 and 712), and Econometrics I and II (ECON 741 and 742) and Macroeconomics I and II (Econ 703 and 704).
  • Students take qualifying exams in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics Theory in August. Students who do not pass the qualifying exam the first time may take a second attempt in January.
  • Students develop researchable ideas for a dissertation proposal.

Second Year

  • Upon passing comprehensive exams, the next step is to formulate a research and dissertation proposal. Two faculty members from the economics department should validate and approve proposed research agenda.
  • Present research in brown bag seminar. This should be done in the first semester after passing the comprehensive exams and no later than the Spring of the second year.
  • Formulate the remainder of the dissertation committee. The committee consists of three members from the economics department, one member from a related department, and one external member. Your committee chair can help you with the formulation of your committee.
  • Complete the Declaration of Advisor/Major Advisor/ form.

Third Year

  • Complete a paper by October, so as not to be at a disadvantage when applying for jobs in your fourth year. Ideally, submit your paper for publication in "B+" journal, subject to advisor approval.
  • Present research at an academic conference. Department funding for academic conferences is based on the suitability of your research and the conference. A student may apply for funding from the Graduate Student Association. Conference selection must be approved by your advisor and the department chair.
  • Defend dissertation proposal no later than December of your third year. Proposal defense should be made to the entire committee.

Graduate School Forms to be Completed

Fourth Year

  • A chapter of your dissertation should be submitted for publication to an academic journal and ideally published or under revision for submission.
  • The second chapter of the dissertation should be near completion and ready for presentation.
  • Present your job-market paper in the department seminar series. This should be done early in the Fall semester (September or October) before going on the job market.
  • Defend dissertation by Spring. Dissertation chapters should be publishable in academic journals.

Graduate School Forms to be Completed

Fifth Year

  • Funding and extension of above guidelines subject to adequate progress and approval of the department's graduate committee in consultation with the committee chair.

Request for Academic Consideration

Failure to maintain satisfactory progress as defined by these milestones is the responsibility of each student who holds a 20-hour Graduate Research or Teaching Assistantship in the Economics Ph.D. program. If a student fails to meet a milestone, the Graduate Committee reserves the right to terminate the assistantship. It is recognized that temporary setbacks can occur in a research program. In the case where a student has not met a milestone listed above due to academic problems beyond their control and can demonstrate that they can still complete their program in four years, he/she may submit a written petition to maintain assistantship status.

The petition must clearly state the following:

  • Cause for the missed milestones
  • Detailed plan explaining how the student will be back on track to complete the dissertation in the fourth year

The petition will be considered by the Graduate Committee. Students who have been granted academic consideration on the basis of a petition will be able to retain the Assistantship status only on a semester-by-semester probationary status through the end of their program. A second petition will not be accepted. Because the demand for graduate assistantships is highly competitive, once a student is on a probationary status, their continuation as a research or teaching assistant will be reassessed each semester based on overall program needs.