A focus on policy research

The Economics Department offers a PhD in economics that allows individuals who already hold a master’s in economics degree to earn a PhD in economics. Graduates of the PhD in Economics program work in a broad range of fields including forecasting, policy analysis and evaluation, risk analysis, and economic analysis.  These fields are in high demand by a wide variety of organizations including research institutes, medical centers, financial institutions,  governmental agencies, and academic departments that focus on public policy and applied microeconomics.

Our innovative program provides our students with the advanced theoretical, quantitative, and statistical skills that are required to perform and interpret economic analyses in a wide range of policy-oriented areas including education, environmental, health, labor, public economics, and technology and innovation.

Close collaboration with faculty

Our PhD students work under the guidance of faculty who conduct nationally and internationally recognized research that promotes economic understanding, policy improvements, and economic development.

Classes at the doctoral level are small, and students benefit from direct and frequent interactions with faculty.  Students begin working in applied research early in their programs and are encouraged to work with faculty to identify policy problems they want to investigate through their dissertations.  They frequently work with faculty on grant-funded research, and co-author papers with faculty for presentation at regional and national professional meetings.

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Full and part-time options

We offer full-time and part-time options for completing the PhD in economics program.  For those who wish to pursue the program full-time, this program can be completed in as little as four years. For those who would rather pursue the program part-time, we will sit down and work out a plan of study that fits the needs and desires of the student. The time to complete the PhD degree part-time will depend on the specifics of that plan of study, but a common plan results in completion in five or six years.

Currently, the PhD program is only delivered during the day and face-to-face; we do not offer evening or online courses.

Student experience

Faculty Support

Our PhD program is deliberately small (on average about four students earn their degrees each year) to assure that all our students have an ability to work closely with our faculty.  Whether it is classroom interactions or one-on-one discussions, you’ll find our faculty always have time to support you as you make your way through the PhD program.

Students Who Work (and Play) Together

Because our PhD program is small, you’ll also find that it’s easy to get to know your fellow students. PhD work can be a daunting process, but it’s made easier and more rewarding when students work together. We strongly encourage our students to work together, to help each other out, and share in their successes. Whether it is work in the classroom, as a graduate assistant, or on a dissertation, you’ll find our students accessible and willing to pitch in to help. That helps sometimes extends beyond the formal boundaries of the program; sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to help them relax!

Opportunities to Share Your Work

Part of being an economist is sharing one’s work, getting feedback, and, yes, sometimes engaging in discussions over contentious issues. As a result, we strongly encourage our PhD students to share their work at all stages of the research process. This can take place informally through one-on-one conversations with faculty or fellow students, casual group conversations at the end of the day, or even by exchanging written work and asking for feedback. But formal interactions are also an important part of the world of the economists, so the Department also strongly encourages PhD students to participate in our informal Brown Bag Presentations intended for work still in the early stages and in our more formal Seminar Series where more complete polished work can be shared.

Current graduate students may access economics program specific resources

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Have Questions?

Dr. Dennis Leyden

Associate Professor
Bryan 460 DPLeyden@uncg.edu