In the first year, students take foundational courses, including departmental core courses, economics and statistics. At the end of the first year they take a written qualifying exam.
Over the course of the first year, students also identify an area in which they wish to focus their education and research, and during the first summer, they work on a research project in their chosen areas under the supervision of a faculty member. A student completes a paper based on this research project by the end of the first summer.
Early in the fall of the 2nd year students present their research results as a part of an oral qualifying exam. Together the written exam, summer paper, and oral exam constitute a student’s qualifying exam.
During the second year, students continue to take classes and pursue research, developing programs of in-depth study and research organized around their interests. Advanced courses help in the final choice of an area of specialization and advisor.
In the second year, students also begin to work as teaching assistants (TAs) for the equivalent of one 1-semester course each year. These TA responsibilities help to prepare students for future work as instructors, and they continue each year the student remains in the program.
During the summer between their second and third years, students write a second research paper under the supervision of their faculty advisors. This paper provides an important transition between coursework and dissertation research and often becomes a part of the dissertation.
In the third year, students complete any unfinished course work and begin the preparation of a dissertation proposal. This proposal provides some initial results and a specific plan for the completion of a dissertation. The formal defense of the dissertation proposal generally occurs early in the fourth year.
After formal approval of the proposal, the student completes the dissertation, typically at the end of the fourth of fifth year. A student completes the program by successfully defending his or her dissertation.