The PhD program in Economics provides in-depth, rigorous training in economic theory and econometrics. Most entering students are aiming for careers as professors in research-oriented universities, with some students interested in research-oriented positions in private industry, consulting, and government. The department also provides students with mentoring in teaching and numerous opportunities to teach undergraduate students.

Our program is an excellent choice for serious economics students for the following reasons:

  • Research Productivity: Our faculty publish policy-relevant research in the leading general-interest and field journals in economics. UGA's scholarly output consistently places us in the top 25% of academic institutions in the US, and even higher for departments our size. (See McPherson (2012)). Our scholarship is highly cited in the academic literature and often covered in the popular press.
  • Extramural funding: Our faculty secure grants from leading sponsors, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Such extramural funding offers special opportunities for graduate-student participation in high-impact research projects.
  • Writing Focus: Our curriculum requires the writing of independent research papers early in the program of study and equips students to successfully meet that requirement. Faculty routinely co-author papers with students and students typically enter the job market well on their way to securing publications in high-quality journals.

Students entering our program will find that our faculty carry expertise in a number of influential fields:

Economics Faculty by Subfield

Advanced Macroeconomics Econometrics Health Economics
Industrial Organization Labor Economics Public Economics

Admissions + Financial Aid

Admission into the PhD program of the Economics Department is highly selective. The admissions committee evaluates each application on its individual merits, and the applicant’s projected success. The committee makes recommendations based on a review of academic transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and personal statements. We forward our admission recommendations to the Graduate School of the University, which renders the official admission decisions.

Individuals holding a four-year baccalaureate degree in any discipline from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale are eligible to apply. Substantial exposure to economics course work at the undergraduate level is beneficial. Applicants are required to have college credit in differential calculus. Because of the necessary rigor of the curriculum, we also strongly recommend taking courses in integral and multivariable calculus and linear algebra prior to applying.

The General Test of the GRE is required for admission into the program. We give our strongest consideration for applicants with a quantitative score of at least 155 and verbal score of at least 153. The quantitative portion of the exam is given more weight than the verbal in making admissions decisions. The GMAT will not be accepted as a substitute for the GRE.

All international applicants whose native language is not English and who wish to be considered for financial aid must submit a TOEFL iBT score along with their application, irrespective of their graduating institution. A score of 26 on the speaking section is required in order to be an instructor of record. This is important because beyond the second year of study, a part of the assistantship duties may require classroom teaching. Students with a TOEFL iBT speaking score of 24 will be required to enroll in English-language proficiency courses upon admission. Students with a TOEFL iBT speaking score below 24 will not be considered for admission. There are no waivers for the TOEFL requirement.

Application Process

The application process is spelled out in detail on the Terry College’s application process and materials page. All application forms and instructions for completing them are available there. Send the completed application directly to the PhD/MA Program Admission Office of the Terry College:

PhD/MA Admissions Office
Terry College of Business
University of Georgia
350 Brooks Hall
Athens GA 30602-6264

The application deadline is January 20. Department and Terry College financial-aid decisions are typically made in late February or early March. The UGA Graduate School only accepts electronic letters of recommendation, which can be submitted through its homepage.

PhD students are admitted for the fall semester only; there are no spring or summer admissions. In addition, the department does not transfer degree credit from other graduate programs. Students already holding a Masters degree from another program are usually asked to take all core and field courses in residence at the Terry College. Under certain circumstances, the mathematics and statistics preparatory classes may be waived on a case-by-case basis.


Please see the Bursars’s Office for information about tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

All applicants to the PhD program are automatically considered for financial assistance. The Terry College of Business offers a variety of teaching and research assistantships, scholarships and fellowships. Qualified incoming graduate students are typically offered 9-month (academic-year) teaching or research assistantships from the college, as recommended by the department. The department provides these assistantships to continuing PhD students for four years of study. The total value of these awards is approximately $18,000, depending on the applicant’s qualifications and work assignment. All assistantships carry a tuition waiver. Teaching and research assistants are expected to devote 16 hours per week toward their assistantship duties, which are determined by the faculty member or members to whom the student is assigned.

Program Structure

To earn a PhD a student must:

  • Complete a minimum of 54 semester hours of course work, including required courses in micro and macroeconomic theory, econometrics and research skills.
  • Pass written comprehensive (core) exams in micro and macroeconomic theory in your first summer.
  • Complete three fields of specialization, including one in econometrics.
  • Complete a second-year paper assignment.
  • Complete a Thesis Committee Form, which is typically done by the fall of your third year and must be done before your oral examination.
  • Complete a Final Program of Study Form. This is typically done by the fall of your third year and must be done before your oral examination.
  • Pass the Oral Examination by the end of your third year. Once you pass your oral examination and complete the Admission to Candidacy Form you will be formally admitted into candidacy.
  • Present your research in the department’s seminar series.
  • Write and defend an acceptable dissertation.

Course Work

Students enrolled in the PhD program in Economics are required to complete a set of core and selected field courses of specialization. The core curriculum consists of courses in mathematical economics (ECON 8000), microeconomic theory (ECON 8010, 8020, and 8030), macroeconomic theory (ECON 8040 and 8050), statistical methods (ECON 8070) and introductory econometrics (ECON 8080).

In addition, to satisfy the university’s research skills requirement, students must attend the workshops and seminars sponsored by the department (ECON 8980), and complete Research Methods in Economics (ECON 8090) with a minimum grade of B. The research methods course requires students to write a research paper to be presented in the department’s summer workshop series.

Students are required to complete three fields of specialization, one of which must be econometrics. To earn credit for this sequence you must take at least two of three advanced econometrics courses (ECON 8110, 8120, and 8130). At least one of the two elective fields must be from courses offered by the Economics Department. Besides econometrics, the department offers fields in industrial organization, labor economics, advanced macroeconomics, health economics, and public economics. With permission of the department's graduate coordinator, students can satisfy one of the elective fields through course work in a related department, such as finance. A field is completed after passing two courses in an area of specialization with a minimum average grade of 3.0.

Written Preliminary Examinations

At the end of the first year, students are expected to have completed the Micro Theory (ECON 8010 and ECON 8020) and Macro Theory (ECON 8040 and ECON 8050) sequences and to take the Micro Theory and Macro Theory core exams. These theory core exams will typically be given in June after the first year. Students who do not pass may retake the exam(s) later in the summer. Students must pass both exams during the summer after their first year in the program to maintain satisfactory academic progress towards their degrees.

Research Methods Class

This class is typically taken in the fall semester of the second year. It is designed to help students make substantial progress on their thesis research and to make an effective transition from course work to dissertation work.


The dissertation must demonstrate original research, independent thinking, scholarly ability and technical mastery. Its conclusions must be logical, its literary form acceptable and its contribution to knowledge should merit publication. Students should establish a thesis committee by the spring of their third year.

Typical Course Sequence

Year Fall Spring Summer
1 June
  • Microeconomics Theory Preliminary Exam
  • Macroeconomic Theory Preliminary Exam
Late July
  • Microeconomics Theory Preliminary Exam Retakes
  • Macroeconomic Theory Preliminary Exam Retakes
2 June
  • Second-year paper draft
  • Present in Summer Workshop Series


Economics PhDs have placed at various prestigious academic institutions. Placements include tenure-track positions at Baylor University, Miami (OH) University, Cleveland State University and St. Joseph's University, and post-doctoral positions at Columbia University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina. Our students have also placed at prominent positions in government and industry, such as the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Treasury, The Analysis Group and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

View complete list of placements