Department of Economics


The Ph.D. degree usually requires two years of course work, followed by supervised research and the completion of a doctoral dissertation.

The first year involves core courses in:

  • Microeconomics (Economics 2050, 2060)
  • Macroeconomics (Economics 2070, 2080)
  • Econometrics (Economics 2030, 2040)
  • Two additional courses:
    • One in mathematics (Economics 2010)
    • One in applied economics analysis (Economics 2020) 

Students will take microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics in their first year and must receive a passing grade in these courses. Starting in the second year, each student chooses two fields of specialization, and takes an oral field exam. Each field comprises two advanced courses within an area. Beyond the fields, the student takes three additional advanced courses, for a total of seven.  Students must receive a B or better in these courses. The rest of pre-dissertation requirements include a poster presentation in late March, a research paper turned in during May of the third year, and successful seminar presentations each year from the fourth year and on.

Handbook of the Graduate Program

The detailed description of all requirements, along with guidelines for the student, can be found in The Handbook of the Graduate Program.

View Handbook


The culmination of the Ph.D. program is the dissertation, which embodies the results of the student's original research. Work on the dissertation usually takes two-three years after completion of course work. Students working on dissertations participate actively in research workshops. After a faculty committee has approved the dissertation, the student takes a final oral examination on the subject of the dissertation.

High Standards

The work in the Ph.D. program is demanding and the standards of performance are high. The Department's reputation for providing superb training has enabled its graduates to compile an excellent placement record. Some of the institutions at which recent graduates have obtained positions include major research universities (Chicago, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, Dartmouth, Minnesota, New York University, Penn State, University College London, University of British Columbia, University of Pittsburgh, University of Toronto, University of Virginia), prestigious liberal arts colleges (Wesleyan University and Williams College), government and international agencies (International Monetary Fund, Federal Trade Commission, World Bank, Congressional Budget Office, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, US Census Bureau), and private industrial, consulting, and research firms. Brown graduates have an outstanding record of research accomplishments and publications.

Exceptional Faculty

The Department currently has about 40 tenure track faculty. The faculty includes several Fellows of the Econometric Society, several Sloan Fellows, several Guggenheim Fellows, several recipients of prestigious prizes and awards, the editor of the Journal of Economic Growth, the editor of the Journal of Financial Intermediation, a past editor of the American Economic Review, and several associates and fellows of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Economic Policy Research. The Department's faculty publishes regularly their research in the top journals of economics and other disciplines, as well as in top field journals (see our "Selected Faculty Publications"). Members of the faculty in the Department have also delivered numerous named, keynote and plenary lectures in main international scientific conferences. The atmosphere in the Department is highly collegial. Interaction among faculty members and graduate students is easy and extensive. The department collaborates with the Brown Population Studies and Training Center, which provides support for students doing research in population economics and economic development. Active workshops provide opportunities for faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars to discuss current research. Library and computer facilities are excellent.