PhD in Economics
A student in the doctoral program must successfully complete three sets of requirements: coursework, comprehensive exams, and thesis. These stages should be completed in 4 years.
A doctoral candidate must complete the theory sequence (consisting of 721, 722, 723 and 724), the econometrics courses (761 and 762), and approximately eight one-term electives. It is likely that a student promoted from our own masters program will already have completed the required courses and two electives; such a student would require six more electives. Students coming to McMaster to do their doctoral work may be given credit for Masters courses taken elsewhere, although most of these students are required to take the Micro and Macro theory sequence and other courses relevant to their chosen fields.
Each student is allowed to take up to two one-term graduate courses offered by other departments. For example, a number of students have recently taken finance courses offered by the DeGroote School of Business. Other students have taken courses in health sciences and in statistics. Students wishing to take a course outside of the economics department must obtain the approval of the graduate chair (economics) and of the course instructor.
The electives must be chosen so that the student satisfies the coursework requirements of his chosen fields (see the list below).
A doctoral candidate must also pass comprehensive exams in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory and two fields. The available fields are:
Growth and Monetary Economics
The theory comprehensives are normally written after the first year of coursework, and the field exams are normally written after the second year of coursework. Candidates are allowed two attempts at the theory exams and at the exam in their chosen fields; a candidate who has not passed an exam after two attempts is not normally permitted to continue in the program. The comprehensive exams must all be completed within two years of a student’s admission to the program.
Students are given wide latitude in their choice of thesis topic, but each topic must be approved by a supervisory committee consisting of three faculty members. Students who have reached the thesis stage of their program must attend the graduate students’ workshop and give several presentations on their research. Once a thesis has been submitted, the student must defend his work at an oral examination.
All students registering in economics 721 or 723 are required to take the mathematics preparation course, an intensive four-day refresher course in mathematics. This course is given in early September, prior to the start of the regular graduate courses. After the completion of this course, students are required to write an exam testing their mathematics preparation. The score on this exam will count as 10% of each student’s final grade in economics 721 and in economics 723. Click here for the course website.
The department has particular strengths in the following areas: