Department of Economics Ph.D. Program








 ***NOTICE: Ph.D. applicants who would like to be considered for Fall 2014 admission with financial assistance should submit their on-line application to the University of Oklahoma by January 15th, 2013.  Applications received after this deadline will be considered as enrollment and funding allows.***



The faculty of the Department of Economics at the University of Oklahoma has a strong commitment to excellence in graduate education. The curriculum provides a solid base of core theoretical and empirical skills and the opportunity to pursue concentrated study in selected field areas. More than 150 Ph.D.s in Economics have been earned since the early 1950s. Many of our graduates have gone on to distinguished careers in higher education, government, and the private sector.

There are three structural elements of our Ph.D. program. The first element is a rigorous and well-integrated core curriculum of economic theory and statistical analysis. The second element consists of concentrated study in selected fields, including development economics, industrial organization, international economics, and public economics. The third element consists of training designed to prepare students to undertake independent research. This process culminates in a significant work of original research in the form of a dissertation.  Having completed all three elements, our graduates are fully qualified to pursue academic, professional, or governmental careers.



The Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma has specific admission requirements of:

ē  A ďBĒ average or better over the last 60 hours of undergraduate study or the last 12 hours of graduate study.

ē  For non-native English speaking applicants, a TOEFL score of 550 or higher (218 on computer test, 79 on IBT, or 6.5 on IELS).

The Department of Economics does not have specific admissions requirements.  Instead, we evaluate each applicant individually and admit those who have the aptitude, scholarship, and analytical skills necessary to successfully complete an advanced degree in economics.  The admissions committee recommends admission on the basis of GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and prior academic record. 

To apply visit the OU Admissions website for on-line application instructions or to obtain a hard copy of the application form.  You will need to provide the following items to complete your application:

  1. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  2. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test. (To insure that these scores are current, the exam must have been taken in the last two years.) Unofficial copies are sufficient for initial screening.
  3. Three (3) confidential letters of recommendation.  Note that the department does not have special forms for letters of recommendation.  A letter or reference on regular stationary is sufficient. E-mail or Fax letters are acceptable. 
  4. Scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or acceptable alternative for applicants from non-English speaking nations.  See the Graduate College website for more information.
  5. Statement of purpose

Applications will not be considered unless ALL items are provided.  Send a copy of your online application form or original application plus all required materials directly to the Department of Economics (Attn: PHD Admissions, 308 Cate Center Drive, Room 158 Cate 1 (CCD1), Norman, OK 73071).  Confidential financial documents should be sent directly to Admissions.



Graduate Assistantships
Each year the Economics Department extends financial support in the form of research and teaching assistantships for 6-10 incoming Ph.D. students.  For full consideration of financial aid, applicants should apply to the Ph.D. program by January 15.

Students receiving a regular financial aid package will receive an assistantship for four years of graduate work, conditional on satisfactory progress in the Ph.D. program and satisfactory performance of assigned duties.  Additional support for the fifth year is typically available.

For the 2009-10 academic year, nine-month full time assistantships have a stipend of $13,000 and include individual health insurance, tuition waivers for up to the 90 credit hours of courses required for degree completion.  Conditionally admitted students may request waivers for courses needed prior to beginning the graduate coursework.  Students are responsible for associated fees.  Family health insurance plans are also offered through the University.  For information on current resident and non-resident and fees, please see the University of Oklahoma Bursarís website.

A student on a full time assistantship is expected to perform approximately 20 hours of work per week and is required to attend the departmentís weekly seminars.  Duties include serving as research assistants and assisting in the Departmentís teaching mission.  Accordingly, students are expected to become certified to teach courses at the University of Oklahoma by the English Assessment Program by the end of their first year of study.  English Language classes are available at no cost to qualifying graduate students.

The Department has a generous scholarship funding provided by the Chong Liew Endowed Scholarship Fund.  Beginning in 2007 we have established several graduate student scholarships.

The Chong Liew Outstanding Graduate Student Award is available for first year Ph.D. students.  These are meant to support summer study and allow students to devote more time to their studies in Norman.  Each year we will select 2-4 students based on first year coursework performance.  The awards range from $750 to $1000.

Chong Liew Summer Research Awards support dissertation research, especially in the summer before students plan to go on the job market.  Students who have passed all of their required exams are eligible to submit a research proposal outlining their summer research plan.  Proposals are selected based on merit and potential.  Each year this award will be given to 1-2 students. The awards range from $2000 to $2500 each.

Travel Support
Chong Liew Graduate Student Travel Scholarships are available to support graduate student conference participation.  Students are required to apply for travel support from the Graduate College and Graduate Student Senate prior to requesting Chong Liew Travel support. 

Supplemental Teaching
Graduate students who become certified to instruct at the University of Oklahoma may request to teach courses during summer terms or between semesters (Intersession).  Students are chosen to teach these based on teaching experience, teaching performance, and undergraduate demand for courses. 

Other Financial Support
The University offers several outlets and opportunities to obtain tuition assistance.  Please explore the following links as they have helpful links within their websites: 
Graduate College Ė Funding Opportunities, Financial Aid Office, Office of the Bursar.


Previous Coursework
Incoming Ph.D. students usually have a bachelor's degree in economics but this is not required for admission to the program. Prerequisites include some coursework in economics including intermediate micro and macroeconomics as well as a good working knowledge of mathematics and basic statistics. The minimum math requirements are at least two semesters of calculus and one semester of basic statistics or their equivalents. A previous course in linear algebra is strongly recommended.

Math Camp
All incoming economics Ph.D. students are expected to attend Math Camp before beginning graduate coursework.  The non-credit, free camp consists of two-hour evening sessions offered during the two weeks prior to the start of fall classes.  Mathematical techniques and applications needed in graduate economics courses will be reviewed.  Camp performance will be reported to the Graduate Program Director, who will discuss appropriate measures with students who do not successfully complete the camp.

The Ph.D. degree requires at least 90 hours beyond the Bachelorís degree.  A minimum of 54 these hours must consist of formal coursework, with the remainder comprised of dissertation research (ECON 6980).  Credit may be transferred in from prior graduate coursework.  The Graduate Program Director, in consultation with the Graduate College, will determine which hours of previous coursework will be accepted for transfer. 

The program is also subject to all the requirements of the Graduate College.  For more specific information on required and elective courses and a recommended program of study, please see the current Ph.D. Handbook.

Fields of Specialization
Fields of specialization are designed to develop an in-depth knowledge of the theory and current literature in various areas of economics. The two course sequences prepare students to become active researchers in the field and to identify potential topics for dissertation research.  Our department offers four fields of specialization: Growth and Development Economics, Industrial Organization, International/Macro Economics, and Public Economics.  For specifics on which courses can be taken for each field, please see the current Ph.D. Handbook.

We offer depth in our four supported fields: each field has several faculty members who are actively engaged in research and are able to supervise dissertations.  This is supplemented with strong support in applied econometrics, including time-series and panel data methods.  Students who wish to concentrate in fields not supported by our department should consider applying to programs better match their research interests. 

Qualifying Examinations
Students in the Ph.D. program must pass two qualifying examinations which test their competency in various components of economic theory. The first qualifying examination is based on the first year required classes and is administered in late July/early August prior to the start of fall semester classes. The purpose of this exam is to assure that students have mastered the vital tools covered in first year courses prior to taking advanced courses. The exam is in three parts: microeconomic theory (ECON 5123 and ECON 6213), macroeconomic theory (ECON 5163 and ECON 6313) and math, statistics and econometrics (ECON 5153 and ECON 5213). 

The second qualifying examination is administered in late July/early August prior to the start of third year classes. The purpose of this exam is to assure students can master advanced material required to under take research. The exam has two parts: econometrics (ECON 5243 and ECON 6343) and one of the department's four field sequences. Typically two of the four field sequences will be offered each year, so students must take the courses for one of the fields offered in their second year and then be tested on those courses. 

Students must pass all parts of both qualifying exams to remain in the Ph.D. Program.  Students are allowed one opportunity to retake failed portions of qualifying exams.  Retakes are given in January during the week prior to the start of spring semester classes. A student who fails to pass qualifying exams on the second attempt is required to leave the Ph.D. program but can continue their graduate studies in the Applied Economics Track of the M.A. program.

General Exam
In addition to the department's qualifying examinations, students must also pass a General Examination as required by the Graduate College.  Students are expected to take the General Exam in the semester in which they complete their formal course work. A student following a standard program of study will take the General Exam in the Spring semester of the third year. With special permission from the Graduate Program Director, the General Exam may be taken during the semester following completion of coursework.

Prior to taking the General Exam, a student must form a Doctoral Committee, consisting of at least five graduate faculty members, with one chosen from outside the department within the University.  The studentís Doctoral Committee will hold an advisory conference to assess the student's program and areas of specialization. Once a student's program is approved and reported to the Graduate College, the student can apply for permission to take the General Exam.

The General Exam consists of both a written and oral portion. The written exam is designed by the student's Doctoral Committee to test the student's mastery of her field of specialization and proposed dissertation topic. Committee members will provide guidance as to the material covered by the written exam. If the performance is adequate on the written exam, an oral exam will be scheduled. The General Exam is completed when the oral exam has been passed, at which point a student will be admitted to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

Students who do not perform satisfactory on either the written or oral exam are given an opportunity to address inadequacies.  By Graduate College rule, a student who fails the General Examination a second time is disenrolled from the Ph.D. program. The student may choose to complete the requirements for the MA Degree/Applied Economics track.

In order to facilitate the transition from formal coursework to dissertation research, students enroll
in ECON 5960 during the spring semester of their third year.  The course instructor will be the faculty member who has agreed to chair the Doctoral Committee. The course objective is to guide a student in defining a dissertation topic and preparing a dissertation proposal.

Successful completion of ECON 5960 requires submission of a written dissertation proposal to the student's Doctoral Committee and presentation of a seminar on the topic to the Economics faculty and graduate students. The seminar enables the faculty to share its collective knowledge with the candidate and to assure support for a topic that can feasibly be developed into a dissertation. Copies of the prospectus will be made available to the participants at least one week prior to the seminar. After the seminar, the Doctoral Committee will meet to approve either the original prospectus or a modified version of it.

The department requires that the dissertation be completed, accepted, and the final oral examination be passed no later than five calendar years after Admission to Candidacy. Failure to meet this deadline will result in termination from Ph.D. Candidacy. Under extraordinary circumstances, the Doctoral Committee, with the consent of the faculty and the Graduate Dean, may extend the five-year deadline for a short period.



All Ph.D. students are advised by the Graduate Program Director (GPD) until they form a Doctoral Committee.  The GPD will advise students regarding their field and elective course selections.  In addition, the GPD has final authority (within the rules of the Graduate College) over the acceptance of transfer credit from a Masterís Degree Program in Economics or other graduate program.

The Dissertation Committee, typically formed in the third year of the program, will prepare and conduct the studentís General Examination and supervise the preparation of the dissertation and conduct the final oral examination over the dissertation.
Contact Information
Check the status of your application online using the Admissions website.

For questions concerning your application after it has been processed by Admissions, please contact Ms. Tami Kinsey, Phone (405) 325-2863, Email:

For questions about the Ph.D. program requirements please contact Dr. Cynthia Rogers, E-mail:



Yifei Ding (2011) PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ltd., Hong Kong
Norman Maynard (2011) Humboldt State University
Yang (2009) Pennsylvania State University-Altoona

Jie Shuai (2009) Nankai University

Jacob Dearmon ( 2008) Oklahoma City University

Luisa Blanco (2007) Pepperdine University
Haichun Ye (2007) Univ. of Colorado-Denver
Van Pham (2007) Salem State University

Xiaoyi Mu (2006) University of Dundee, UK

Shu Lin (2005) University of Colorado-Denver

Nicole Cornell-Sadowski (2005) York College

Jennifer Willeford Logan (2005) Southern Arkansas University

Anuruddha Kankanamge (2005) University of Peradeniya

Zhitao Sui (2005) Econ One

Mohammed Basyah (2003) PT Citra Van Titipan Kilat, Jakarta

Lori Bell (2003) Upper Iowa University

Chengte Hsiao (2003) Ming-Chuan University, Taiwan

Kodrat Wibowo (2002) Padjadjaran University, Indonesia

Deergha Adhikari (2002) U. of Louisiana at Fayetteville

Dakshina DeSilva (2002) Texas Tech University

Maha Shalaby (2002) University of Central Oklahoma

Soon Cheul Lee (2002) Korea Institute for Economic Policy

Rex Pjesky (2002) West Texas A&M University