Oct 27, 2020  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Economics, PhD


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College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences  > Department of Economics  > Economics, PhD


The Department of Economics offers a program leading to the Ph.D. degree in Economics designed to provide students rigorous training in economic theory and quantitative skills as well as an intensive exposure to several specialized areas of Economics. Ph.D. training provides skills needed in academic, government, or business careers.

For more information, please visit the Doctoral Program In Economics page.

Admission Requirements


A degree in Economics is not required to apply for the Economics Ph.D. program. Neither is a masters degree.

Mathematical preparation is a significant factor in the faculty’s decision to admit students and is a crucial factor in student success. The department recommends the following courses (or the equivalent material be mastered) prior to enrolling. The courses are listed in order of importance.

  1. Calculus I, II, and III (MATH 1431, 1432, 2433)
  2. Linear Algebra (MATH 2331)
  3. Probability (MATH 3338) and Statistics (MATH 3339)
  4. Differential equations (MATH 3331)
  5. Introduction to Real Analysis (MATH 4331)

The following are required to apply to this program:

  1. Official transcripts from all schools attended.
  2. A personal statement and resume - The PS counts as your writing sample as well and should be no longer than 2 pages.
  3. Letters of recommendation from 3 faculty members - at least one from your most recent institution.
  4. Application fee - $50 domestic applications; $125 international applicants
  5. Additional requirements for international applicants can be found on the International Graduate Students page.

Degree Requirements


Credit hours required for this degree: 90.0

  • Grade point average in graduate classes of at least 3.0 (4.0 = A)
  • Successful completion of the comprehensive exams at the Ph.D. level
  • Successful completion of a 2nd-year project
  • Successful completion of the 3rd-year paper
  • Successful completion of end of year presentations in May of the 3rd year, December of the 4th year, and May of the 4th year
  • Successful completion and defense of the dissertation

Coursework


48 hours of coursework composed of the following:

Workshops


18 hours of workshops:

Seminars


12 hours in seminars:

Dissertation


12 hours in dissertation:

M.A. Requirements


For students who decide to leave the program before fulfilling the Ph.D., or do not fulfill the requirements to continue in the Ph.D. program, an M.A. degree will be awarded upon the completion of the following requirements.

  • Grade point average in graduate courses of at least 3.0 (4.0 = A).
  • Successful completion of the comprehensive exams at the M.A. level.
  • Doctoral research hours do not count toward the 36 hours of course work.

Coursework


36 hours of course work composed of the following:

  • Core courses (21 hours)

  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0
  • Credit Hours: 3.0

  • Electives (15 hours) subject to the following restrictions

  • 3 hours maximum in   Credit Hours: 3.0
  • 3 hours maximum in courses taken outside the department
  • Additional hours outside the department or in independent study may be allowed subject to the discretion of the Graduate Director.
  • The Economics department allows a maximum of 6 hours to be transferred from graduate courses taken at other schools toward an M.A. in Economics. The graduate director will determine the transferability of credits. The university allows more credits to be transferred toward a Ph.D. at the discretion of the graduate director.

    The department encourages students who have received their M.A. elsewhere to enroll in the Ph.D. program. If a student has an M.A. in Economics from another university, equivalent courses may be waived and credit transferred toward a Ph.D. However, the doctoral transfer student must still receive a grade of “Ph.D. Pass” on both parts of the theory examination administered by the University of Houston Economics Department.

    Transfer students who have successfully completed first-year courses at another Ph.D. program are allowed to take the theory examinations in the summer prior to their enrollment at the University of Houston. If they receive a “Ph.D. Pass” grade on an examination (micro or macro) they do not have to complete the first-year course in that area. This attempt at the theory examinations does not count towards their two formal attempts.

Academic Policies


OUTLINE OF PROGRAM

  FALL SEMESTER SPRING SEMESTER SUMMER
1ST YEAR ECON 7341 - Microeconomic Theory I   ECON 7342 - Microeconomic Theory II   COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS
  ECON 7343 - Macroeconomic Theory I   ECON 7344 - Macroeconomic Theory II    
  ECON 7330 - Quantitative Economic Analysis   ECON 7331 - Econometrics I    
2ND YEAR ECON 8331 - Econometrics II   ELECTIVE 2ND YEAR PROJECT
  ELECTIVE ELECTIVE  
  ELECTIVE ELECTIVE  
3RD YEAR ECON 8361 - Workshop Research Methods III   ECON 8361 - Workshop Research Methods III   DISSERTATION RESEARCH
  ELECTIVE ELECTIVE  
  ELECTIVE ELECTIVE  
    3RD YEAR PAPER DUE IN MAY  
4TH YEAR ECON 8362 - Workshop Research Methods IV   ECON 8362 - Workshop Research Methods IV   DISSERTATION RESEARCH
  ECON 7301 - Seminar in Microeconomic Research /ECON 7302 - Seminar in Macroeconomic Research   ECON 7301 - Seminar in Microeconomic Research /ECON 7302 - Seminar in Macroeconomic Research    
  ECON 8399 - Doctoral Dissertation   ECON 8399 - Doctoral Dissertation    
  PRESENTATION IN DECEMBER PRESENTATION IN MAY  
5TH YEAR ECON 8363 - Workshop in Research Methods V   ECON 8363 - Workshop in Research Methods V    
  ECON 7301 - Seminar in Microeconomic Research /ECON 7302 - Seminar in Macroeconomic Research   ECON 7301 - Seminar in Microeconomic Research /ECON 7302 - Seminar in Macroeconomic Research    
  ECON 8399 - Doctoral Dissertation   ECON 8399 - Doctoral Dissertation    
    THESIS DEFENSE  

COURSE LOAD

All graduate students receiving financial aid from the department are required to enroll in nine hours each semester during the regular academic year and six hours in the summer (if they are funded for the summer).

Full-time graduate students not receiving financial aid must enroll in a minimum of 9 hours each semester during the regular academic year.

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATIONS

Written examinations in micro and macro theory are required after the completion of the second regular semester of full-time course work. The first set of exams are given late May or early June. Each exam is graded anonymously according to the following scale:

  1. “Superior”. The student demonstrates mastery of the material examined.
  2. “Good”. The student demonstrates understanding of the material examined, but there are some deficiencies.
  3. “Poor”. The student demonstrates significant deficiencies in their understanding of the material examined.
  4. “Fail”. The student does not take the test or demonstrates no understanding of the material examined.

Following the first set of exams, the Graduate Committee, acting on recommendations from the Graduate Director, will make a determination of each student’s status as follows:

  1. If the student achieves a Superior on all exams, the student has completed the comprehensive exam requirement at the Ph.D. level.
  2. If the student has not achieved a Superior on all exams, the Graduate Committee may determine that the student’s totality of work, including grades, is sufficient to warrant advancement and the student has completed the comprehensive exam requirement at the Ph.D. level.
  3. If the student has not achieved a Superior on all exams, and the Graduate Committee does not feel the student’s body of work warrants advancement, it will inform the student of which individual exams must be retaken in order to advance.

A second set of examinations are given in the week before classes begin in August. These exams are graded on the same scale as above. Following the second set of exams, the Graduate Committee, acting on recommendations from the Graduate Director, will make a final determination of each student’s status as follows:

  1. If the student has, accounting for both sets of exams, achieved a Superior on all exams, the student has completed the comprehensive exam requirement at the Ph.D. level.
  2. If the student has not achieved a Superior on all exams, the Graduate Committee may determine that the student’s totality of work, including grades, is sufficient to warrant advancement and the student has completed the comprehensive exam requirement at the Ph.D. level.
  3. If the student has not achieved a Superior on all exams, and the Graduate Committee does not feel the student’s body of work warrants advancement to Ph.D. candidacy but did show sufficient understanding, it will inform the student that they have completed the comprehensive exam requirement at the MA level. The student is allowed to continue taking courses in their second year and can receive the MA degree if they fulfill the remaining requirements.
  4. If the student does not fall into any of the first three categories, then the student has not completed the comprehensive exam requirement at either Ph.D. or MA level, and will not be awarded a degree.

No further attempts at the examinations are allowed after August following the first year of study at UH.

2nd YEAR PROJECT

By the end of May following their 2nd year, each student must have a written project proposal signed by a faculty advisor who has agreed to oversee the project. The proposal should be created in collaboration with the faculty advisor and specifies the required work to be completed over the summer following the 2nd year. The exact nature of this work is up to the faculty advisor and student, and could include, but is not limited to, the following: a detailed presentation of core papers in a given field, replication of an existing empirical or quantitative paper, collection of new data, or a paper based on an original idea.

The project is due prior to the first day of classes in August following the student’s 2nd year of study. The project will be evaluated by the faculty advisor, who will inform the Graduate Director if the student has successfully completed the project.

If the Graduate Committee, acting on the recommendation of the faculty advisor and Graduate Director, deems the project satisfactory, the student is admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. If the paper is not satisfactory, the Graduate Committee may, at their discretion, issue a “revise and resubmit” to the student. In this case, the student has until the last day of classes of the fall semester of their 3rd year to complete a new version of the project. If the Graduate Committee, acting again on the recommendation of the advisor and Graduate Director, find the new version satisfactory, the student will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. If the Graduate Committee, either at the initial submission in August, or at the revised submission, decide that the project is not satisfactory, then the student will not be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy but can complete their 3rd-year courses and remain eligible to graduate with the MA degree.

3rd YEAR PAPER

This paper is due by May 15th following the student’s 3rd year of study. The paper will be evaluated by a reading committee of three faculty members selected by the student and approved by the Graduate Director. The 3rd year paper must be original research done by the student on a topic of their choice.

If the Graduate Committee, acting on the recommendation of the reading committee, deems the paper satisfactory, the student is allowed to continue as a Ph.D. candidate. If the paper is not satisfactory, the Graduate Committee may, at its own discretion, issue a “revise and resubmit” to the student. In this case, the student has until the first day of class in August of that year to complete a new version of the paper. That paper will be evaluated by September 10th. If that new version is satisfactory to the Graduate Committee, the student will be allowed to continue in the program.

If the paper is deemed unsatisfactory at either the initial submission in May or at the revised submission in August, the student may remain in classes for their 4th year and is eligible to graduate with the MA.

3rd AND 4th YEAR PRESENTATIONS

Shortly after the end of classes in May of the 3rd year, and both December and May of the 4th year, students will be expected to give a presentation of their current research in progress to the entire faculty. The time allotted for the presentations will be set by the Graduate Director.

DISSERTATION DEFENSE

The dissertation will be supervised by a committee agreed upon by the student, the primary faculty dissertation advisor, and the graduate director. The committee must include one member from outside the department. The committee is typically composed of the primary faculty advisor (committee chair), two other faculty advisors from the department, and the member from outside the department. The Ph.D. degree is awarded when the student has successfully defended the dissertation before the graduate faculty of the department and turned in the completed dissertation to the appropriate university office.

CHANGE IN REQUIREMENTS

Students may petition the graduate director for permission to deviate from particular program requirements. Such petitions must be in writing and should include a justification for the proposed change.

TRANSFER STUDENTS

The Economics department allows a maximum of 6 hours to be transferred from graduate courses taken at other schools toward an M.A. in Economics. The graduate director will determine the transferability of credits. The university allows more credits to be transferred toward a Ph.D. at the discretion of the graduate director.

The department encourages students who have received their M.A. elsewhere to enroll in the Ph.D. program. If a student has an M.A. in Economics from another university, equivalent courses may be waived and credit transferred toward a Ph.D. However, the doctoral transfer student must still receive a grade of “Ph.D. Pass” on both parts of the theory examination administered by the University of Houston Economics Department.

Transfer students who have successfully completed first-year courses at another Ph.D. program are allowed to take the theory examinations in the summer prior to their enrollment at the University of Houston. If they receive a “Ph.D. Pass” grade on an examination (micro or macro) they do not have to complete the first-year course in that area. This attempt at the theory examinations does not count towards their two formal attempts.

OFFICE SPACE AND FACILITIES

The Department provides most funded graduate students with office space for study and interaction with other students. The department also runs a fully equipped graduate student computer lab with state-of-the-art personal computers and software.

FINANCIAL AID

The department offers several assistantships for academic support, research, or teaching in the first year. These positions pay a monthly stipend and allow tuition to be waived and fees to be paid at in-state rates. These stipends cover the 9-month school year and very often some or all of the summer months. Summer support, however, is not guaranteed. All financial support is allocated by the department graduate director and is contingent upon available funding.

In return for financial support, and as part of graduate training in economics, graduate assistants help with instruction and research. Compensation is directly related to hours of work and level of responsibility. Teaching assistants work 20 hours per week supporting faculty teaching and research. Teaching fellows teach a section of introductory economics. All assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis under the following guidelines:

Entering Students. Only students with outstanding transcripts, GRE scores, and other favorable credentials are offered aid in the first year. The Graduate Committee allocates these assistantships. Supplemental funding is also available, on a competitive basis, from the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Second through Fifth Year. Any full-time student on financial aid making satisfactory progress in the program is assured partial aid in the second through the fourth year.

A student who was awarded aid in the first year will receive aid in the second year if the student has taken the theory exams and maintained a 3.0 grade point average. Students who receive a superior on the theory examination and maintain good progress will receive financial aid in their third and fourth years. Aid in the fifth year is provided if the candidate is making good progress on the dissertation.

Only senior graduate students with the requisite academic performance and communication skills are assigned as teaching fellows.

Responsibilities and Progress. Students are expected to perform their research and teaching responsibilities in a professional manner. Poor performance can result in the loss of financial aid.

Department Academic Policies

Academic Policies: College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences  

University of Houston Academic Policies  

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