May 24, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Economics, Ph.D.

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The Ph.D. in Economics program seeks to develop in the student a high level of competence in conducting basic and applied research and to prepare the student for a career requiring a doctoral degree in economics. To accomplish these objectives, the program provides a rigorous and in-depth course of study emphasizing the latest theoretical knowledge, quantitative techniques, research methodology, and empirical evidence in the student’s field of specialization.

The doctoral program requires the student to demonstrate mastery of a large and complex body of knowledge and a high degree of proficiency in the techniques of teaching and research. This is evidenced by the successful completion of coursework and examinations, effective performance in classroom instruction, participation with faculty members in research, presentation of papers and reports, and the writing of a dissertation. Given the substantial commitment of intellectual effort and time required to achieve these competencies, students are expected to enroll on a full-time basis.

The Department of Economics has designated a faculty member to serve as doctoral coordinator for the Ph.D. in Economics program. The doctoral coordinator is charged with oversight of the program. This faculty member also serves as an advisor and liaison for students, and is available to provide assistance in developing a program of study.

Degree Requirements

Program of Study

The student’s doctoral coordinator must approve a program of study indicating how the student will fulfill each of the degree requirements by the end of the first semester of enrollment. This program of study becomes part of the student’s file; it may be revised, as appropriate, but must be kept current, as it will be a key factor in determining satisfactory progress in the program. Fifty-four semester hours of coursework, beyond the baccalaureat degree, as a minimum, must be successfully completed for graduation. When feasible, registration in 15 hours per semester is encouraged; at a minimum, students must register for nine hours per semester (excluding summer session). Information on this requirement and program of study forms may be obtained from the Office of Academic Assistance. The following courses may not be used for degree credit toward the Ph.D. in Economics: ECON 8080, ECON 8150, ECON 8180, ECON 8220, ECON 8230, ECON 8300, ECON 8320, ECON 8850, and ECON 8860. Exceptions may be granted by the doctoral coordinator. All programs of studies are subject to final approval by the doctoral coordinator.

Foundation Coursework

Students entering the doctoral program are presumed to have background and current knowledge in the following areas:

  • Multivariable calculus including integrals, partial derivatives, and infinite series
  • Matrix algebra including linear transformations, determinants, and inverses
  • Computer skills for empirical research including statistical packages and the use of data tapes and files
  • Macroeconomics and microeconomics through the intermediate level

Students may remedy a deficiency in any or all of these areas by taking credit or noncredit courses, auditing appropriate graduate or undergraduate classes, and/or attending tutorial sessions. Students who believe their background is not adequate may consult with the doctoral coordinator or Office of Academic Assistance for recommendations on overcoming deficiencies. Courses at the university that provide these foundations are as follows:

  • Multivariable calculus: ECON 6030  (3) or MATH 2215 (4)
  • Matrix algebra: ECON 6030  (3) or MATH 3435 (3)
  • Computer skill/data files: BA 6000 (2)
  • Macroeconomics: ECON 3900 (3)
  • Microeconomics: ECON 3910 (3)

Areas of Study

Students are required to take coursework in the following areas of study:

Mathematical and Statistical Tools (12 Credit Hours)

Mathematics for Economists (3 Credit Hours)

Mathematical Statistics (3 Credit Hours)

Econometrics II (3 Credit Hours)

  • 3 Credit Hours Students may not enroll for courses that satisfy this requirement until the program of study is approved.
Advanced Econometrics (3 Credit Hours)

Elective Fields (9 Credit Hours)

Each doctoral student must complete a minimum of three courses in one of the following areas:

  • Environmental Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • Health Economics
  • Labor Economics
  • Public Finance
  • Urban and Regional Economics

The courses available in these fields are listed below:

Environmental Economics

Experimental Economics


Health Economics


Labor Economics


Public Finance


Urban and Regional Economics


  • Select one of the Primary courses from another Economics Field

Optional Secondary Field (6 Credit Hours)

A minimum of two courses will be selected by the student with approval from the doctoral coordinator. The two courses must fit together in one of the subdisciplines of economics. There is no comprehensive examination required for this secondary field. Students are not required to claim a secondary field, in which case they still must select two courses (6 credit hours) to fulfill this requirement.

Dissertation Research (3 Credit Hours)

All doctoral students must register for a minimum of three credit hours of

Required Examinations

  1. Theory:
    • Written examinations in macroeconomic and microeconomic theory must be completed successfully by each student. Students will be expected to take these examinations, when first offered, at the end of the theory sequence. This requirement must be satisfactorily completed within one year after completion of the prescribed coursework in economic theory. Students will not be permitted a second attempt to pass each theory examination except upon request and approval by doctoral coordinator. A maximum of two attempts is permitted to pass each examination.
    • Students can apply for an exemption from taking a theory examination. Separate applications are required for each exam (macroeconomics and microeconomic theory). To qualify for an exemption students must have a 3.85 GPA in the theory sequence associated with the examination and no grade lower than a B- in other first year courses. Exemptions may be denied for students who violate the student code of conduct and/or who do not meet the graduate assistantship expectations.
  2. Elective Fields:
    • Students must successfully complete a written or oral examination in one elective field. This examination must be taken at the first time it is offered following completion of all fieldrelated coursework.
    • Students will not be permitted a second attempt to pass the field examination except upon request and approval by doctoral coordinator. A maximum of two attempts is permitted.

Regulations for the Degree

  1. Transfer Credit.
    • A maximum of 15 semester hours may be transferred from other institutions. Transfer credit, whether from other institutions or from Georgia State University, must have been completed within five years of the semester of entry to the doctoral program. The course must have been limited to graduate students only and a grade of A or B must have been received.
    • At the time the program of study is planned with the doctoral coordinator, the student who requests transfer credit must submit a course description from the catalog of the institution, a syllabus or course outline, and written justification stating why the course is relevant to the program of study. Final approval for the acceptance of transfer credit rests with the doctoral coordinator and the Office of Academic Assistance.
  2. Scholastic Warning and Termination.
    • The doctoral grade-point average (GPA) is defined as the GPA for all courses numbered 6000 or higher taken after admission to the doctoral program which applies toward the degree as listed on the program of study. Each student must maintain a 3.00 doctoral GPA (B average). A student whose doctoral GPA falls below 3.00 is on “scholastic warning.” After being placed on scholastic warning, a student must attain a 3.00 doctoral GPA within two consecutive semesters; otherwise the individual will be terminated from the doctoral program. The doctoral GPA could differ from the GPA calculated by the university and reported on the student’s official transcript, since the university GPA could also include the grades from all courses taken at Georgia State after bachelors degree and before admission to the doctoral program. For graduation, a student may have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above in all courses at Georgia State taken at the graduate level, regardless of the degree program.
    • No student, without permission of doctoral coordinator, will be permitted to sit for any examination required for the doctoral degree, other than course examinations, without having a minimum 3.00 doctoral program GPA at the time the examination is to be taken. A student with a doctoral GPA below 3.00 is ineligible for graduate assistantship appointments as either a GRA or GTA. A student who has been terminated from the doctoral program will not be permitted to reapply or reenter the program. Should a student be granted the opportunity to miss a sitting of one of the theory examinations, with specific approval by doctoral coordinator, the student is required to take the exam at the next available sitting.
  3. Standards of Performance.
    • The requirements and regulations listed in this catalog refer to minimum standards of performance. The department may have additional requirements, as set forth in writing that exceeds the minimum standards outlined here. If a student fails to meet these additional requirements, either the department or the doctoral coordinator may require that the student withdraw or be terminated from doctoral study.
    • To continue in the program, a student must make reasonable and timely progress toward the degree in terms of coursework completed and examinations. If a student fails to make reasonable and timely progress, either the department or the doctoral coordinator may require that the student withdraw or be terminated from doctoral study.
    • The determination of a student’s reasonable and timely progress is to be made by the doctoral coordinator.
  4. Petitions.
    • Where a student believes that unusual circumstances invalidate any of the regulations or requirements relating to the degree in his or her particular case, the student may write to the doctoral coordinator and request exemption from or change in the policy. The petition by the student must be submitted with accompanying justifications. If the doctoral coordinator supports the request, he or she will write a letter of support for the student and submit the material to the Office of Academic Assistance for a decision in consultation with the associate dean.
  5. Continuous Registration.
    • Beginning with the semester of acceptance, a doctoral student must register for a minimum of nine hours a semester (excluding summer session) until graduation. ECON 9000 - Doctoral Research  may be used to satisfy this requirement until the student has passed the theory and field examinations. ECON 9500 - Dissertation Research  may be used to satisfy this requirement once the student has passed the field examination. These courses include supervised research as an assistant to faculty memebers. Students who fail to meet the continuous registration requirements are subject to withdrawal from the program.
    • Graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of 12 hours each semester. These credit hours consiste of courses required for the prescrived 54-hour program of study, as well as additional hours in ECON 9000   or ECON 9500  .
  6. The Dissertation.
    • The purpose of the dissertation is for the Ph.D. candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to conduct a research program leading to a significant contribution to the candidate’s discipline.
  7. The Dissertation Committee.
    • After successfully completing the three qualifying examinations, the student forms a Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee is to consist of a chair plus three members. One of the committee members must be from outside the department. The Office of Academic Assistance, based on the recommendation of the doctoral coordinator, appoints the committee, and any subsequent change in its membership. As the student develops an interest in a potential dissertation topic, he or she should discuss this topic with individual faculty members, both to determine the topic’s feasibility and merit and the faculty members’ interest and expertise in that area. When the student is ready to begin initial work on the dissertation, he or she must first discuss with the doctoral coordinator who among the faculty would be the most appropriate person to serve as chair of the dissertation committee. Only after the doctoral coordinator has agreed with the choice should the student invite the faculty member to chair the committee. Once the dissertation chair has been chosen, the chair, in consultation with the student, will recommend the selection of three additional committee members to the doctoral coordinator.
  8. The Dissertation Proposal Defense.
    • Prior to admission to candidacy for the degree, a dissertation proposal defense must be held. After the student completes a written proposal that the Dissertation Committee judges to be ready for a final defense, a dissertation proposal defense will be held before the Dissertation Committee.
    • The student’s dissertation proposal should include a summary of the following: the purpose of the study; the nature of the subject to be investigated and its importance; a brief review of the literature; the theory, if any, to be developed; the empirical methodology, techniques, and data sources, if any, to be used; the nature of the hypotheses to be developed or tested; and a time frame for completion of the dissertation. Normally the proposal should not exceed 40 pages.
    • The proposal defense will be open to all interested faculty and doctoral students and will be announced two weeks prior to the date it is scheduled so that interested faculty and students may attend. After the proposal defense has been held, the committee members will vote to determine if the student is deemed to have a satisfactory research topic. A unanimous decision by the student’s Dissertation Committee is required. The approving members will sign the dissertation proposal defense approval form.
    • Submission of the approval form does not constitute a contractual agreement between the student and the Dissertation Committee. It is within the scope and function of the Dissertation Committee to recommend modifications to the research as it proceeds. Upon submission of the proposal defense approval form, the student is admitted to candidacy for the degree.
  9. Final Dissertation Defense and Graduation.
    • When the candidate’s Dissertation Committee judges that the dissertation is complete, it must be defended orally in a final dissertation defense. At least two weeks in advance of the final dissertation defense, an abstract of the dissertation should be submitted to the Office of Academic Assistance and an announcement will be made to all academic units regarding the scheduling of the candidate’s dissertation defense. While any interested faculty member or graduate student may attend the examination and participate in the discussion, only those individuals who are members of the candidate’s Dissertation Committee may vote on the dissertation’s approval or disapproval. Upon successful defense of the dissertation, a dissertation defense approval form will be signed by the members of the Dissertation Committee and submitted to the Office of Academic Assistance. Unanimous approval is required.
    • Six weeks prior to graduation, the candidate must submit an electronic copy of the dissertation the candidate believes is in final form to the Office of Academic Assistance. After the Office of Academic Assistance has reviewed the dissertation and the final oral has been held, the candidate will make any recommended changes to the dissertation. Guidelines for the dissertation are available from the Office of Academic Assistance or online at
    • At the time the electronic version of the student’s dissertation (ETD) is posted on the Georgia State University Library server, students must choose the availability option, “Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide,” unless they have received approval to restrict distribution from the AYSPS Associate Dean. A letter showing this approval, which will be granted only for a maximum of one year, must be on file in the Office of Academic Assistance prior to graduation.
  10. Time Limits for the Degree.
    • These time limits should be interpreted as the maximum amount of time students may take to complete each of the degree requirements. It is anticipated that most students will complete the requirements much earlier than the maximum time limits specified below:
      1. All coursework on the program of study and required theory and field examinations must be completed within four years from the semester of entry into the doctoral program.
      2. The Dissertation Committee must be appointed; the dissertation proposal defense must be held and approved within 15 months after completion of the theory and field examinations. Failure to do so may result in penalties under the Standards of Performance clause, section 2070.10.5c.
      3. All requirements for the degree, including the dissertation, must be completed within seven years from the semester of entry into the doctoral program. Failure to do so will result in penalties under the Standards of Performance clause, section 2070.10.5c.

Special notes for students completing the M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics concurrently. Students must complete a minimum of 15 semester credit hours (5 classes) that are unique to the second degree (i.e., are not counted in both programs).

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