Main Content

The PhD Program - Curriculum, Timeline, and Highlights

The PhD program offers rigorous training designed to lead students to the forefront of advanced economic research and policy.

Years 1 and 2

  • After completing the first year (normally four courses per semester, including Advanced Microeconomics, Advanced Macroeconomics and Econometrics), students then take preliminary examinations in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.
  • After completing field courses, usually in one or two years, students take examinations in two areas of specialization.
  • After the first year, all PhD students in residence enroll in ECON 399a (Topics in International Economics and Finance). The workshop provides opportunities for advanced students to present papers and define thesis objectives. 
  • PhD students begin the transition to research in the second year when they are required to take part in the PhD seminar.
  • PhD students may enroll in the internship course (ECON 297a) that corresponds to outside research activities, but are limited to taking this course up to three times within the first two years.

Year 3 and beyond

  • By the third year, the PhD candidates should begin work on the dissertation, prepare initial work on the thesis, and submit a 3rd year paper.
  • In the third year and beyond, the thesis takes shape and a formal committee is assembled. Once a thesis defense date is scheduled, the student presents the core of the thesis work, and once completed, the degree is awarded during the next degree period. 
  • In years 3-5, students are required to take 2 credits of independent research and attend internal and outside research seminars. Many students also engage in other outside experiences, either doing research, teaching a course, or spending a summer or semester working full or part-time at a government institution or firm. This gives Brandeis IBS PhD candidates important real world experience. Students enroll in either an internship course (ECON 297a) or as an independent study (ECON 298a) with a Brandeis IBS faculty member as an advisor.

Key facts about the program:

  • PhD students are required to work as either a teaching or research assistant at Brandeis IBS in years 1-5 of the program.
  • Students receive the Master of Science degree upon successful completion of two years of study in the PhD program.