Doctorate in Economics

The doctoral program in economics at Rice University trains students to conduct first-rate research. All major areas of economics are covered, with particular strengths in theoretical, applied, and empirical microeconomics as well as econometrics. Our curriculum stresses the grounding of any model in theory ensuring that, even in applied work, theoretical assumptions are clearly specified in place of an "intuitive" plausibility. This approach promotes an open discussion of their appropriateness and their implications for results. Graduates of our program go on to obtain positions at universities, research institutions, government agencies, and private firms around the world.

The PhD program is designed to first provide students with a rigorous training in economic theory and econometrics. Students then apply this knowledge to produce original research in a variety of applied, theoretical, and empirical settings. The department encourages independent work by emphasizing early exposure to the frontier of research through seminars and lectures, formal and informal workshops, and student papers. Seminars and workshops involving select faculty and graduate students meet on a regular basis to expose students to a variety of specialized literatures and cutting-edge ideas and methods.

In 2014, the department launched the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics (RISE), which has increased the prominence of Rice University as a leading center of economics research. Since then, the department has hired ten new faculty members. The department is now a leading center for structural empirical microeconomics, an approach to economic analysis that combines economic theory and econometrics to address substantive economic issues. The department has also recently partnered with the Jones School of Business to offer a Major Concentration in Finance that recognizes the complementarities and shared research interests.

The retooled program adds intensive specialized coursework to the standard core requirements in order to prepare students to conduct innovative original research. The program provides a thorough training in economic theory and econometrics in its first two years to provide a solid foundation for the independent research and further specialization that occupies the student's time thereafter. In particular, the first year emphasizes coursework in financial economics as well as in computational economics which provides students with an understanding of the numerical methods used in modern empirical microeconomic research.

Graduate Student Handbook 2021-2022 (pdf)

Graduate Student Handbook 2020-2021 (pdf)

Graduate Student Handbook 2019-2020 (pdf)

Graduate Student Handbook 2018-2019 (pdf)

Graduate Student Handbook 2017-2018 (pdf)

Graduate Student Handbook 2016-2017 (pdf)

Graduate Student Handbook 2015-2016 (pdf)


Year Coursework Exams Milestones Paperwork Due
1 August: Math and Stat Camp
Fall: Econ 501, Econ 502, Econ 510, Math 321 Spring: Econ 505, Econ 508, Econ 511, Econ 700


Econ 504, field courses, Econ 593, Econ 594, Econ 597, Econ 598, Econ 700, (Econ 800)

Third year paper proposal due in the third week of August prior to the start of the third year

Econ 800 report if taken

3 Econ 593, Econ 594, Econ 599, Econ 700, Econ 800 Write and present a paper by the end of Spring semester

Third year progress report due in the third week of August prior to the start of the fourth year

Econ 800 report

4 Econ 596, Econ 700, Econ 800 Select dissertation committee chair by the end of the 7th semester, dissertation progress report. Thesis proposal seminar defense due.

Dissertation progress report due in the first week of May

Petition for candidacy before the start of the 9th semester (5th year)

Present thesis proposal during the 8th semester

Econ 800 report

5 Econ 596, Econ 700, Econ 800 Seminar presentations, mock interviews, job market, dissertation progress report

Dissertation progress report due in the first week of May

Econ 800 report