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PhD Program Degree Requirements for Current Students

PhD Degree Requirements

A normal courseload 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 and field courses is required, and a grade of B- or above is necessary to gain credit for having taken any course for a student enrolled in the PhD program. 

Note that your degree requirements align with the program guide information in the year you began the PhD program. Below are current degree requirements, which may differ if you did not begin the program this year. Please check Kathryn Graddy's website for archived program guides from previous academic years. 

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 

In addition, during their first semester, all students will be enrolled in ECON 184 Econometrics.

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 Options and Derivatives II
FIN 305f 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 398a Independent Study in International Business
ECON 340a Industrial Organization
International Development (2 courses) ECON 360a International Trade Theory (req'd)
ECON 370a Development Economics 


To complete the 14-course requirement, students also take some electives. Suggested electives for the various fields are as follows: 

Field of Interest Suggested Elective
International Trade ECON 260a International Trade Policy
International Development ECON 270a Economic Development Strategies
International Business

BUS 265a Emerging Markets
BUS 260a Competition and Strategy

International Macroeconomics

ECON 202a Applied International Macroeconomics


FIN 204a Advanced Corporate Finance: Theory and Practice
FIN 261a Fixed Income Securities
Background Course: FIN 201a Investments

Students can choose from fields within or 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 student's advisor or the PhD Program Director. 

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. 

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. 

For more information on the PhD curriclum, including detailed information on your third year and beyond, please click here. For more information about PhD dissertation requirements and timelines, please click here