PhD in Economics


Collaborative research experiences with invested instructors sharing a deep commitment to teaching and scholarship

45-57 Hour Program

Earn a PhD in Economics in as little as three years


Select a focus on:
Public, labor, health, environmental economics, economics of technology and entrepreneurship, macroeconomics

A focus on policy research

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.

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General Program of Study

Credit Hours # of Courses
Core Knowledge* 0-12 hours 0-4
Advanced Theory 12 hours 4
Empirical Field Courses 9 hours 3
Independent Field Research 12 hours 2
Dissertation Research 12 hours 2

*Core Knowledge courses may be required if not on master’s transcript

MA Doctoral Track

The Masters of Arts in Applied Economics Doctoral Track provides a flexible pathway to the doctoral program: admission may be accepted to the doctoral program with only a baccalaureate degree or with a master’s degree in another field. Through the MA Doctoral Track, you’ll be co-admitted to both the Master’s of Arts in Applied Economics and PhD in Economics degree programs. This allows the master’s degree to be conferred en route to the doctorate in economics and reduces the time to completion for both programs: some courses can be counted towards both the master’s and doctoral degree requirements. This program will prepare you to work in fields such as forecasting, policy analysis and evaluation, risk analysis, and economic analysis.

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Full-time & Part-time Program Options

Admission may be made directly to the PhD in Economics program for qualified applicants holding a master’s degree in economics. 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 three years. For those who would rather pursue the program part-time, we will sit down and work out your plan of study to fit your needs and desires. 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.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program requires the submission of a completed application including Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores and a completed master’s degree in economics with:

  • two courses in microeconomic theory,
  • two courses in econometrics,
  • one course in macroeconomics, and
  • demonstrated skills in applied research methods.

Students who enter the program with a master’s degree in economics may be required to take additional courses (up to a program total of 57 credit hours) if their prior degree does not fully cover these core knowledge requirements. Students interested in earning a Ph.D. in economics who do not have a master’s degree in economics or who have a master’s degree in economics that deviates significantly from these course requirements should apply to the MA Doctoral Track – combined M.A./Ph.D. in Economics.

Total Program Costs

Tuition Fees Total
In-State*  $13,000 $5,600 $18,700
Out-of-State $47,300 $5,600 $53,000

Estimated program costs are based on completing 45 credit hours calculated by 2021-2022 rates. Costs exclude textbooks and student health insurance. If you would like to view a complete schedule of tuition, fees, meal plans and financial aid opportunities, visit the Spartan Central website.

The Department typically provides tuition waivers to well-qualified doctoral applicants along with a modest stipend, fellowship, or scholarship to reimburse student fees and the majority of cost of living expenses. Additionally, information on financial assistance is available through the Spartan Central website.

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Application Deadlines

February 1st – Priority deadline: Complete applications submitted by this date are given first priority for admission and for financial support through fellowships, scholarships, and assistantships.
May 15th – Standard deadline: Complete applications submitted by this date will be considered for admission and for financial support after applications that were submitted by February 15 have been evaluated.

Student experience

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. 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.

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.

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 help 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

Student Success

Discovering mentorship and collaboration at UNCG...
PhD Opens Door to Global Opportunities
From Intern to Policy Influencer
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Dr. Dora Gicheva

Associate Professor
Bryan 459