University General Course Catalog 2021-2022 
    Mar 02, 2024  

Economics, Ph.D.

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The Ph.D. in Economics provides comprehensive training in theoretical and empirical economics, as well as fields chosen by the student. The primary goal is to equip students with analytical and quantitative skills to conduct independent economic research. Individuals with strong research skills are sought by public and private employers in a number of different types of businesses, as well as by other academic institutions.

The Department also offers a Master of Arts and a Master of Science.  The Master of Science is designed to provide the foundation students need to succeed in a Ph.D. program or jobs requiring intensive technical, analytical, and quantitative skills.  The Master of Science provides students with core conceptual knowledge about microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics.  Students may apply these skills through their research, culminating in six credits of thesis if desired. Alternatively, students choosing the non-thesis option may further their knowledge through additional coursework.  The Master of Arts also emphasizes technical, analytical, and quantitative skills, but with fewer required courses and more electives, this degree allows students more flexibility. Both programs effectively prepare students for careers in applied economics, finance, banking, law and other professions that require analytical and quantitative skills.

Contact Information

Sankar Muknopadhyay, Professor
Graduate Director, Economics
(775) 784-8017

Economics Department website:

Graduate Handbook

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate abstract modeling skills and analytical reasoning to analyze economics issues.
  2. Students will apply sound quantitative and econometric methods to analyze summarize data, test hypotheses, and analyze economics issues.
  3. Students will report research results using strong written and verbal communication skills.
  4. Students will apply quantitative techniques to economic theory.

Admissions Requirement

For full admission into the Ph.D. in Economics, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • The applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
  • An overall grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • International students must have a minimum TOEFL score of 500 (paper) 61 (internet).
  • GRE or GMAT scores must be submitted to the graduate school.
  • Students must fulfill all University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School requirements.
  • In addition to the application material required by the graduate school, applicants should also submit

1.  A minimum of two letters of recommendation.
2.  A letter of intent describing research interests, background preparation, and experience.

  • Prospective students may elect to submit resumes and short examples of written work (articles published and/or working papers).

Application Deadlines

To be considered for the fall semester, all application materials must be received by February 1st.

Ph.D. in Economics Requirements

The Ph.D. program in Economics requires a total of 66 credits beyond the B.A. or B.S. degrees, and:

  1. Core training in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and quantitative methods, and the completion of comprehensive exams based on core courses.
  2. Field training in two of the following areas: (a) Applied Microeconomics, (b) Business Economics, (c) Environmental Economics, and/or (d) Regional and Urban Economics
  3. A dissertation.

Full time students are expected to complete the program in four to five years. Students who do not pass the comprehensive exams by the end of their second year or decide to exit the Ph.D. program can still earn a Master’s degree by completing all necessary requirements.

Additional information and a detailed curriculum for the Ph.D. program are given at

I. Program Requirements

The three categories of coursework for the Ph.D. in Economics are:

  • 6 core courses
  • 4 field courses
  • 4 or more elective courses.

The first year of the Ph.D. program includes core theory courses which are followed by theory comprehensive exams.

The six courses that comprise the Ph.D. core curriculum are:

Comprehensive Exams

Students must be accepted into the Ph.D. program in order to take the comprehensive exams. Ph.D students are required to take the comprehensive exams in the first summer following the completion of the core microeconomic and macroeconomic theory courses. Failure to take the comprehensive exams at this time will be considered a Fail and the student will have only one additional opportunity to re-take the exams in January.

Field and Elective Courses

Field and elective courses are selected in consultation with the graduate director and the student’s advisor.  See examples of field and elective courses.

Dissertation Credits

Students are required to take a minimum of 24 dissertation credits.  These can be taken any time after successfully passing the Comprehensive Exams.

Elective List (12 or more units)

II. Program Total Hours

The University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School requirements for doctoral coursework include a minimum of 66 graduate credits, with:

  • at least 42 credits in course work and
  • at least 30 credits in 700-level courses, exclusive of dissertation credits.
  • 2 consecutive semesters (excluding summer sessions) of 9 credits each, and
  • a minimum of 24 dissertation credits.


* Curriculum requirements in the catalog supersede the Graduate handbook.

Undergraduate Prerequisites/Notes

Students should have taken intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics as part of their undergraduate education.  In addition, a suitable math background, including calculus, is expected.

New graduate students are expected participate in Math Camp, an intensive review/summary of the mathematics necessary for the Ph.D. core courses. Math Camp is held during the week prior to the start of classes each fall semester.

All material should be submitted online through the graduate school.  Candidates seeking assistantships should indicate their preference for teaching versus research assistantships in the University’s application for graduate school admission.

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