Ph.D. in Economics
University & Department Requirements for Ph.D. Candidates:
Notes: There is no foreign language requirement. The typical program matriculation time is 5 years. Program requirements are subject to change.
Please review specific information on requirements here:
Master of Arts in Economics
The Department of Economics does not offer a Master's program. Students in the Ph.D. program may apply for the M.A. upon completion of the degree requirements below, usually following the first year of study in the doctoral program.
History of the Degree
The M.A. degree meets the needs of three types of students:
- Students who, though capable of satisfactory academic performance, decide not to continue their studies toward the Ph.D.
- Students advised by the department not to continue in the Ph.D. program but who have mastered certain basic segments
- Students who will continue in the program but need an M.A. degree for summer or part-time jobs
The M.A. is not a degree that students in the Ph.D. program routinely obtain in the course of their Ph.D. work; it is strictly incidental to the program. The University will not award an M.A. in Economics if one has been awarded by another department or institution in similar fields.
To qualify for the M.A. degree, a student must have been admitted to the Ph.D. program. The requirements for the degree are:
- Complete with at least a B average thirty-six units in upper-division undergraduate or Ph.D. level economics courses, of which at least twenty-four units must come from the core first-year Ph.D. sequence (ECON 200, 210, 220).
- Complete one of the following:
- Receive at least a Master's pass in two core Ph.D. qualifying exams.
- Receive at least a Master's pass in one of the core Ph.D. qualifying exams, and a B+ average in the first-year courses in a second core field.
- Receive at least a Master's pass or receive a B+ average in one core field and write an independent paper approved by three Economics faculty members (one outside faculty member allowed) as a M.A. thesis.
A minimum of one quarter must elapse between application for candidacy for the M.A. degree and the filing of the final report for the award of the degree. Forms turned in by the end of second week of the quarter may be conferred at the end of that quarter.
In that elite group, we're the new kids. We started in 1964 by building one of the very best research departments in econometrics (two Nobel prize winners) and economic theory. Over the last few decades we've broadened. Our research and teaching now span behavioral economics, economic development, environmental economics, health economics, international economics, labor, law and economics, macroeconomics, public economics, and more.
In collaboration with other UCSD units we cover financial economics and political economy as well. Our active seminars, informal collegiality, interdisciplinary culture, and ample sunshine create a destination location for collaborative research.
Our mission continues to be: discover truth and educate.
UCSD Economics hosts a vibrant, cosmopolitan community of students, faculty and visiting scholars. Our students and faculty represent diverse backgrounds (79 countries in 2015/16), ethnicities, religions and identities, including many with a history of unequal treatment and disadvantage. We strive to provide a tolerant, inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.
Our courses are challenging and rigorous, but there's a return on investment: we graduate between eight and nine hundred students a year with Bachelors' degrees, many to great jobs and graduate school, here in California and around the world. In addition, we graduate twenty or thirty PhD students a year, who either become professors themselves or go on to interesting careers in government or the private sector.
Altogether, we're one of the premier producers of economic "human capital" on the Pacific Rim.
* U.S. News 2017 rankings upgraded us from #15 to #12 in the U.S.; Development and Public fields were ranked in the top 10, Econometrics in the top 5.