Last Updated: April 22, 2021
Top programs for PhD in Economics
A Ph.D., or Doctorate, in Economics, is a graduate-level degree for students interested in careers in Economics such as analysts or economists for the government, multinational corporations, higher education, and business organizations. Often students who earn this degree choose to work as teachers, teaching economics at the university level as the demand for industry professionals is low. Students who pursue this high-level degree are often interested in mathematics, comfortable exploring theories, and possessors of strong research skills.
Top Universities for PhD in Economics
The top-ranked school for a PhD in Economics
is Harvard University, followed closely by other reputable universities.
- Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
- Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
- Stanford University, Stanford, CA
- University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
- Yale University, New Haven, CT
- Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
- University of Chicago, IL
- Columbia University, NY
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Admissions Procedures and Requirements
Students seeking admissions into graduate programs in Economics had better be prepared for a grueling admissions process. Most schools require all transcripts from well-respected undergraduate programs, letters of recommendation from former professors, and a Statement of Purpose. Additionally, student scores in high-level mathematics classes are especially scrutinized to judge suitability for a rigorous graduate program. Finally, GRE scores are of utmost importance to receive admission into nearly any reputable graduate program in Economics.
Most of the high-ranking scores accept students with an average GRE score in the 700s or above, with most falling in the upper 700's. For example, Harvard's average GRE score among admitted students is 770-780 and Stanford and Princeton typically admit students with 790 and above. For lower ranked programs aim for a score of 700 or above as most do not admit students on average scoring below 700 (although a few do), and 750 is an average admittance score across the board.
International Students are expected to meet the same admissions requirements as United States students in addition to scoring satisfactorily on the TOEFL.
Acceptance rates for Doctoral programs in Economics are low because the competition is stiff. Often schools only maintain a small economics program, so only a few students will be admitted. The top school in the nation, Harvard, only admits on average 5% of the students that apply each year. Further explanation for this low admission rate is the simple fact that many students apply to economics programs that are challenging without the proper skills. One of the most important factors admissions boards are looking for is exceeding scores in high-level mathematics courses, which not all prospective candidates possess.
PhD in Economics-Harvard University
Harvard is ranked as the topmost college for taking a Ph.D. in Economics and it is due to this very reason that out of all applicants they are able to select less than 5% for their seats. The course lets students take up the career of an economist or even go into teaching in the same field. They offer only a full-time Ph.D.
Harvard offers 4 different Ph.D. programs relating to Economics every year. These are in subjects like Business Economics, Political Economy and Government, Public Policy, and Health Policy. The programs overlap each other at various levels and provide students with the opportunity to be in close contact with the economics department and the professors in it. Students can only apply for 2 different programs at the same time if they are interested in taking up additional programs.
Eligibility Requirements for Harvard University
The eligibility requirements for enrolling for Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard is as follows-
- Students must have knowledge in economics beyond the basic principles
- Students should demonstrate an ability to do research either by doing research beforehand or by being a research assistant. If they have been a research assistant, they should produce a letter from the supervisor stating the same.
- Students must be well-versed in mathematics especially in topics like calculus and linear algebra.
- GRE is optional
- The writing sample that is submitted shouldn’t be less than 15 pages.
PhD in Economics- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Amherst has at least 120 applicants every year for around 10-12 available seats. They focus on subject areas like political economy, developmental economics, economic history, international economics, comparative economic systems, applied micro-and macroeconomics which are deemed the prominent concepts in the field.
They also provide interdisciplinary approaches to economics through which students can apply a neoclassical, Marxist, feminist, or institutionalist approach to economics as part of their research.
Eligibility Requirements for Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Students applying for a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology should have
- Completed one semester of intermediate micro theory, intermediate macro theory, linear algebra, and statistics. They should also have completed a year of calculus before applying.
- GRE is compulsory with a quantitative score of 151 or above.
- International students without English as their native language must have cleared TOEFL or IELTS with a band score of 6.5.
PhD in Economics- Princeton University
The Princeton University offers one of the most premier economics programs in the world and is currently ranked the 3rd best college for taking a Ph.D. in Economics. They offer only a full-time program that is spread across 5 years. Students applying for this course are required to have knowledge of multivariate calculus and matrix algebra.
The application fee for this program is just $95. Students who have been admitted to the program will have to complete 6 advanced courses in both their first and second years and complete them with a minimum of 2.5. After this, they will be required to join the Directed Research course where they will be required to formulate their research questions and enter the research framework officially.
Eligibility Requirements for Princeton University
The eligibility requirements that must be fulfilled by students before applying are
- Statement of Academic Purpose
- Curriculum Vitae
- Recommendation Letters
- Fall Semester Grades
- GRE is compulsory
- Students who do not have English as their native language must clear TOEFL or IELTS.
PhD in Economics- Stanford University
The Stanford University offers a full-time Ph.D. program to aspirants where students can specialize in specific fields by being part of seminars and other specific lunches. In order to complete the Ph.D., they will have to complete both their core course requirement and their field requirements. The core course requirements include Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. The field requirements, unlike core requirements, are more spread out and include Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Developmental Economics, Econometrics, Economic History, Finance, and Labor Economics among others.
Eligibility Requirements for Stanford University
Students can apply to the Stanford University Ph.D. program online only. The eligibility requirements in Stanford University for taking a Ph.D. in Economics are as follows-
- Statement of Purpose
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Scanned copies of transcripts from every college and university the student has attended
- Students without English as their native language must submit their TOEFL scores.
- GRE is not required
- Students must complete the coursework spreadsheet that is available as part of the online application.
Career after PhD
The good news about this challenging career choice is that the market is growing and the demand for skilled economists is increasing each year. Students who earn a Ph.D. in Economics may have a challenge finding a job, but there are jobs out there to be had, not just in the U.S.A. but around the world as these skills have become in high demand in the ever-changing economies of today's world.
Students will find that specializing in a particular field will increase their chance of being hired after graduation. While the competition will always be fierce, there is also a growing need for people with economics degrees to pursue a career in teaching at the secondary or higher education level. Many high schools are requiring students to study economics, so the number of Secondary School Economics Teaching positions is growing.
The pay for a typical career in economics ranges widely depending on your position. Economists can earn anywhere between $39,000 and $120,000, but the average salary typically ranges between $60,000 and $90,000. People who go into careers in the private industry, often as economists for business or multinational corporations will find that their pay prospects increase dramatically as they take management or consulting positions in growing industries.