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PhD Program Degree Requirements for Current Students

PhD Degree Requirements

A normal course load in the first two years is four courses per semester. In addition to the PhD research seminar (ECON 399a) for students in their second and later years, PhD students are required to complete a total of 14 semester courses while in the program. Of the 14 courses, 8 are core requirements. A grade-point average of at least 3.0 in core courses is required (no grade lower than a B- is considered acceptable). 

PhD Degree Core Requirements (offered every other year)
Theory (4 courses) ECON 301a Advanced Microeconomics I
ECON 302a Advanced Microeconomics II
ECON 303a Advanced Macroeconomics I
ECON 304a Advanced Macroeconomics II
Econometrics (2 courses) ECON 311a Econometrics I
ECON 312a Advanced Econometrics II
International Trade (1 course) ECON 360a International Trade Theory
Advanced Macroeconomics (1 course) ECON 330a International Macroeconomics 

Courses in two of the following fields are required for the PhD degree (offered every other year). 
ECON 360a and ECON 330a are part of the core requirements. 

Field Courses
International Trade (2 courses) ECON 360a International Trade Theory (req'd)
ECON 340a Industrial Organization
Finance (3 courses) FIN 270a Options and Derivatives
FIN 271a Pricing Derivatives on Equities
FIN 310f Advanced Asset Pricing
Advanced Macroeconomics (2 courses) ECON 330a International Macroeconomics (req'd)
ECON 307f Empirical Methods for Dynamic Economic Models
International Business (2 courses) BUS 270a Managing International Business
ECON 340a Industrial Organization
International Development (2 courses) ECON 271a Agents of Development
ECON 370a Development Economics

* Other advanced finance electives may be substituted.


To complete the 14-course requirement, students must take electives (four semester courses or an equivalent). Students can choose from fields outside their specialization and from other appropriate courses offered by Brandeis or consortium schools in the second year and beyond. Students may take only one course per semester outside of Brandeis IBS. 

Electives must be approved in advance by the PhD Program Director and/or the student's advisor. 

Core and Field Examinations

Following the satisfactory completion of the core courses, students must pass written general qualifying exams in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. These exams are given in May of the student's first year. A student who fails one or both parts of the general qualifying exam will have one automatic opportunity to retake the exam early in the fall of their second year.

After the first year, all PhD students in residence enroll in ECON 399a (Topics in International Economics and Finance). This workshop provides opportunities for advanced students to present papers and define thesis objectives. 

Students must also pass exams covering their two fields of specialization following the completion of field coursework. These exams are usually taken in May of the student's second year in the PhD program. A student who fails one or both field exams may, with permission, retake the exam(s) early in the fall of their third year.