Welcome to the Department of Economics Doctoral Program

The doctoral program in economics offers a firm grounding in the theory and tools of economics as well as in a variety of fields of specialization. Facilities within the department include faculty and student offices, a library of core materials, and a computer center. The size of the department, the breadth of specialties represented among the faculty, the abundance of research workshops, research facilities, and the related programs of other university departments combine to provide an unusually supportive atmosphere for study and research. Students are encouraged to work together; study groups for course work and preliminary examinations are standard. All students are assigned desk space. The department and students sponsor social events throughout the year. A graduate advisor is on staff to help students with problems and questions.

The goal of the Economics Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin is fundamental and simple: To train top notch economists. Graduates of our program are fully prepared to undertake advanced research in economic theory, econometrics, and applied branches of economics. Our graduates successively apply the knowledge and skills gained in our program to a wide range of economic problems in a broad array of institutional settings. Our success in this is evidenced by our strong national reputation and our placement record. We accomplish this by maintaining a comprehensive and challenging program combining coursework, examinations, seminars, and independent research, which all culminates in the completion and defense of a doctoral dissertation.

During the first year of the doctoral program, students must acquire a thorough knowledge of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory and econometrics. The nature of this material demands that entering students have considerable mathematics skills, at a minimum including complete facility with the basic tools of multivariate calculus, linear algebra and mathematical statistics.

The department holds seminars for first-year students that feature faculty presentations. The presentations provide first-year students the opportunity to meet the faculty and learn about research in each field.

The department offers seven fields of study.

  • Microeconomic Theory
  • Econometrics
  • Industrial Organization
  • International Economics
  • Labor Economics
  • Macro/Monetary Economics
  • Public Economics (includes an optional health specialization)

Information on each field can be found at the major field information website.

There are four main milestones on the path through the Economics doctoral program: the preliminary examinations, the field paper, the three-signature proposal, and the final oral examination. More information regarding the Ph.D. program and each program milestone is available at the Doctoral Program Guidelines

From the second year onward, students are expected to register for the workshop in their major field. Workshops provide students with the opportunity to hear research presentations by both internal and external speakers and can serve to suggest topics for dissertation research. More information on workshops is posted at the Workshop information website.

Admission to the doctoral program in Economics is a shared process at UW-Madison. The admissions and aid committee at the Department of Economics will evaluate your application and make a recommendation to the Graduate School regarding admission. For more detail information on the admission process, where to send or submit each part of the application, visit the Application checklist web page.

If your application is paid by December 5th, you will automatically be considered for funding for the first year of study. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis. Please see the Funding information webpage for more detailed information.

We no longer mail print material on the PhD program. Please see our website for information about the program and application process. Feel free to view the pages listed to the left and contact us (gradpro@ssc.wisc.edu) if you have additional questions.

  • My UW and Registrar Office
  • Bursar's Office
  • Graduate School
  • Graduate Program
  • Incoming Students
  • International Students
  • Teaching Assistants
  • Personal Web Page Resources
  • Students on the Job Market
  • Graduating Students
  • Departmental Forms