Learning Outcomes

  • To demonstrate proficiency and knowledge in the specialization discipline, students will demonstrate expertise in reading and interpreting academic research articles in their specialized discipline. They will be knowledgeable in the major theoretical perspectives and prior research findings in their area and be able to integrate prior research from various streams of literature.
  • To demonstrate the ability to conduct independent, original research that leads to publications, students will be able to identify important research questions, provide theory-based reasoning to develop original hypotheses, execute an appropriate research design, and summarize their efforts in a working paper. This includes being able to read and summarize existing research into their paper and understanding the prior literature in a variety of substantive areas, paradigms, and methodologies.
  • To be effective teachers in their disciplines, students will demonstrate proficiency as instructors in courses in their specialized discipline. This includes preparing course syllabi, giving lectures, writing assignments and exams, and evaluating students on the various deliverables.
  • To demonstrate effective communication skills, students will be effective at communicating ideas in academic writing and how these ideas relate to each other within the context of an academic paper. This includes the ability to establish a position, show why that position matters, and situate that position within a context that is determined by the appropriate audience. International students will demonstrate the ability to effectively lecture and communicate in English.

The Doctor of Philosophy program in economics requires a minimum of 72 s.h. of graduate credit. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00 to earn the degree. The program provides rigorous training in economic theory, econometrics, and applied economics. It has six components: a coordinated sequence of core courses, a qualifying examination, a research paper, a set of major field courses, a dissertation proposal and comprehensive examination, and a dissertation.

The department partners with the College of Law to offer a combined J.D./Ph.D. degree program; see Combined Programs in this section of the Catalog. It also participates in the M.B.A. program; see the Master of Business Administration Program in the Catalog.

The Ph.D. with a major in economics requires the following.

Core Sequence

First Semester

ECON:5115Fundamentals of Microeconomics3
ECON:5200Macroeconomics I3
ECON:5805Statistics for Economics3

Second Semester

ECON:5110Microeconomics II3
ECON:5210Macroeconomics II3

Third Semester

ECON:5810Applied Econometrics3
ECON:6320Labor Economics3
ECON:6420Macroeconomics III3
ECON:6900Contemporary Topics in Economics3

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is normally taken the summer after the first year.

Research Paper

The research paper is normally completed the summer after the second year.

Major Field Courses

Students choose a major study area in addition to the core courses. The requirement for the major area is a minimum of 24 s.h. of intensive study in a field and in courses that enable students to understand the relationship between their specialty and related fields.

Dissertation Proposal and Comprehensive Examination

Students must defend a dissertation proposal in a comprehensive examination within one year of completing the research paper requirement.


Submission of the completed dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation research completes the Ph.D. program.


The Department of Economics and the College of Law offer a combined Doctor of Philosophy/Juris Doctor program. Separate application to each degree program is required. Applicants must be admitted to both programs before they may be admitted to the combined degree program. For information about the J.D., see Juris Doctor, J.D. (College of Law) in the Catalog.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test and have their scores sent to the University. Those whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test (DET).

Applicants must submit a completed Application for Graduate Admission, official transcripts from all institutions they have attended, and all official test scores to the University of Iowa Office of Admissions.

Application deadline for admission and financial support is January 15 for fall entry.

Over 90 percent of students reported that they found permanent employment, were accepted to graduate school, or were not seeking employment within six months of graduation.

The Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs; for more information about careers, visit the Pomerantz Career Center website.