For a brief description of the program, application requirements and contact information, view the graduate program summary.
Department Chair: Scott M. Fuess, Jr., Ph.D.
Graduate Committee Chair: Matthew J. Cushing, Ph.D.
The Department of Economics offers a doctor of philosophy degree and a master of arts degree.
Master of Arts Degree
Three options are available to MA students: Option I is a 30-hour program that provides the opportunity to write a masters thesis; Option II is a 36-hour applied degree program that includes an outside area of concentration; and Option III is a 36-hour PhD-leading track that provides the opportunity to continue directly into the doctoral program.
All students pursuing the MA degree must demonstrate mastery of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and econometrics by passing appropriate courses in each of these areas with grades of B or better in each course. MA candidates are required to undergo a comprehensive examination in their field of specialization.
Doctor of Philosophy Degree
All doctoral students must pass a Qualifying Examination in Advanced Economic Theory by the end of the third semester after entry into the program. The department offers courses in advanced micro and macro economic theory to help prepare students for the Qualifying Examination. In addition to advanced economic theory, PhD students are required to pass two econometrics courses with a B or better grade in each course. Furthermore, doctoral candidates choose two major areas of specialization. Six hours of work at the 900 level constitute the formal minimum requirement in a major field. Every doctoral aspirant must undergo comprehensive written and oral examinations covering his/her areas of study. The doctoral dissertation must be a thorough and well-written original investigation in economics.
In all other respects, the requirements for the degrees of master of arts or doctor of philosophy in economics conform to the general rules of the Graduate College. There is no formal language requirement for the PhD degree.
The minimum general requirement for admission to the economics graduate program is an undergraduate degree from an accredited American or foreign college or university. PhD applicants are required to provide GRE aptitude test scores. MA applicants may substitute GMAT scores.
Course requirements for admission to the masters program without deficiencies are a semester each of intermediate level macroeconomic theory, microeconomic theory, statistics, and calculus. Students are also strongly advised to have additional background in calculus and matrix algebra. The absence of adequate background in probability, statistics, and calculus can be a serious impediment to success in any graduate program in economics. A one semester calculus course for business or social science students often proves to be inadequate preparation.
Applicants to the PhD program (and applicants to the masters program anticipating the possibility of pursuing the PhD degree), should have a full calculus sequence, mathematical statistics, and matrix algebra in their backgrounds.
Applicants who lack required background may be considered for provisional admission. Unless specific prerequisites are indicated, the general prerequisite for all courses in the 800 and 900 series is graduate standing, including the removal of any undergraduate deficiencies, or permission of the instructor teaching the course.
Joint Statistics and Economics Ph.D.
For additional information, please see the description on the Department of Statistics Web page.
This program is designed to allow a student to earn an interdisciplinary PhD in the fields of Statistics and Economics. Students obtaining this degree are expected to make meaningful research contributions to both fields.
The program will be overseen by a four-person committee (Oversight Committee), comprised of 2 faculty members from each department. The 2 members from each department will be chosen by the relevant departmental Graduate Advisory Committee with input from the relevant departmental Chair. The committee is a subcommittee of the Graduate Advisory Committees of the two Departments.
Entrance to the Program
A student may apply to the program by request, either as a new student or as a current student. Admission must be approved by the Graduate Chairs of both Departments. As a general guide, students considered for the program should demonstrate backgrounds of sufficient strength to warrant entrance into the PhD program of both departments.
Students entering the joint Statistics/Economics PhD program are expected to have intermediate level training in economics (both macroeconomics and microeconomics) and adequate mathematical background including 3 semesters of calculus, a course in linear algebra and a course in mathematical statistics.
Students are required to pass the PhD qualifying exams of both departments. The Statistics qualifying exam is over STAT 882, 883, 970, 802. The Economics qualifying exam is over ECON 973,974,983,984.
The graduate chairs of each department shall jointly appoint a supervisory committee: thus both graduate committee chairs must sign the Appointment of Supervisory Committee form. The committee must consist of equal numbers of faculty from each department. The committee will be co-chaired by a faculty member from each department and two readers with one reader from each department. A faculty member cannot serve as both a reader and a co-chair on the committee. The committee must approve the program of study and special details of the program.
Program of Study
The program of study must consist of at least 90 hours. In addition, the program of study must include 30 hours in Statistics courses and 30 hours of Economics courses. The following courses must be included in the program of study, unless credit has been granted for equivalent courses taken elsewhere:
- Statistics: Stat 802, 882, 883, 970, 971 (Statistical Modeling), STAT 980; (Advanced Probability) and STAT 982 and 983 (Advanced Inference I and II) and 6 additional hours of 900 level classes, excluding STAT 970, STAT 997 and STAT 999.
- Economics: ECON 973, 974, 983, 984 (Core Theory), ECON 957, 958, 959, 960 (Econometric Theory) and at least two 900 level economics courses in an economics field other than econometrics.
Research tool requirement
The Statistics research tool requirement will be met by considering Economics to be a ‘collateral field’. Students are expected to be proficient in at least one statistical computing language such as SAS, S-Plus, R, Statistica, SPSS, IMSL, Gauss etc.
The student's PhD Supervisory Committee will determine the timing and the content of the PhD comprehensive exam in Statistics. In addition, the students will take a comprehensive examination in a field of economics other than Econometrics. The written comprehensive exam will not be a repetition of course materials but an investigation of the student’s breadth of understanding of the fields of knowledge. Upon completion of the written comprehensive examinations, the student’s supervisory committee will meet administer an oral examination.
The PhD dissertation will be developed under the supervision of the co-advisors on a topic approved by the student’s PhD graduate committee and is expected to make an original contribution to both areas. See the Graduate Studies Bulletin for further requirements for the PhD dissertation.
Final Oral Exam
After the dissertation is completed, the student takes a final oral exam. This exam, also called a "thesis defense," is open to the public. Complete details of the final examination procedure are in the Graduate Studies Bulletin.
Masters of Education with a Focus on Economic Education
please see the brochure at http://cba.unl.edu/about/centers/cee/documents/focus_brochure.pdf.