Ph.D. Program

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apply now Program Rankings

The Iowa State Economics Ph.D. program ranks at or near the top when compared to those at other schools, whether judged by research activity, faculty productivity, student support, or quality of education. The evidence of excellence shows in the numerous rankings of Economics Ph.D. programs.

Job Placement

Providing rigorous training in theoretical and applied economics, the Ph.D. program leads to careers in teaching, research, and more. Our PhD graduates' job placements show they fill vital positions in academia, government, and businesses around the world.


Majors: Economics, Agricultural Economics

Ph.D. Normal Progress Guidelines (pdf)

Fields of Concentration: Students select two fields of concentration from among the following:

Coursework: Students earn 72 graduate credits for the Ph.D. degree, at least 48 of which must be earned in formal coursework. The remainder of these credits may be earned through dissertation research, workshop courses and/or additional coursework. Students may transfer a limited number of graduate credits earned at other institutions with the approval of the Graduate College and the student’s dissertation committee.

Well-qualified students may enter the Ph.D. program directly from a bachelor’s degree program, but most students enter with a Masters degree or after completing one year in our M.S. program before beginning the Ph.D. core theory sequence. The first-year core Ph.D. coursework prepares students to pass qualifying exams in macroeconomics and microeconomics.

Qualifying Exams: Each student is given two opportunities to pass the exams during the summer following their first year. Students who have not passed exams in both macroeconomics and microeconomics by the second attempt may transfer to the M.S. program.

Third Year Paper: In the third year of the program, students develop and complete a formal research paper. This paper, directed by the major professor and evaluated by a faculty committee, is expected to be the basis for the dissertation research.

Workshop: After the Preliminary Oral Exam and before Final Dissertation Defense, students present a formal research seminar on their work.

Dissertation: The dissertation is completed under the supervision of a major professor. Guidance on the dissertation is also provided by a Program of Study Committee composed of at least four additional faculty members. A dissertation proposal is presented in a Preliminary Oral Exam, usually taken early in the fourth year. An oral defense-of-the-dissertation Final Exam is the last requirement prior to graduation.

Contact us

Contact us at econgrad@iastate.edu, (515) 294-2702

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