Ph.D. in Economics
The doctorate normally requires the full-time concentration of the student for a minimum of four years. Formal requirements are limited in number. The Department has no general foreign language requirement. However, all entering international graduate students, whose primary language of instruction throughout K-12 was not English, are required to take the English Evaluation Test. For more information about requirements and times, please visit this link.The candidate must: (1) demonstrate a specified level of competence in core fields of economic theory, statistics and econometrics through general and course examinations; (2) demonstrate competence in four fields of study, of which two fields are designated as major and two fields are designated as minor; (3) submit and defend a dissertation that represents a substantial contribution to economics; and (4) be in residence for a minimum of two years. The complete list of program fields can be found here: https://economics.mit.edu/graduate/ph.d./special
These requirements are met both by passing an appropriate set of courses and through an overall preparation in subject matter and techniques that goes beyond course work. Candidates may differ in their rate of progress toward the satisfaction of these requirements, depending on their background, preparation, and interests. However, all of the requirements other than the dissertation should ideally be completed by the end of the second year.
The dissertation is a demonstration of the candidate's ability to conduct independent research, as well as to define a significant topic and bring to bear on it the necessary analytic and quantitative tools of economics. The dissertation is prepared under the direction of a departmental committee.
The faculty is readily available for consultation; students are invited to discuss any problems with their Graduate Registration Officer and their teachers. The Department is flexible in accommodating the particular circumstances of individual students. The academic performance of individual students is reviewed regularly by the Graduate Registration Officer for each class and by the Department as a whole. Attention is given to the maintenance of normal academic progress. Failure to maintain normal progress may necessitate withdrawal from the Program.