About the Program
The Economics PhD program at UC Berkeley is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced study and conducting original research in economics. The PhD degree is awarded in recognition of the recipient's qualifications as a general economist and of the ability to make scholarly contributions in fields of specialization. New admissions to the graduate program are restricted to students pursuing the PhD degree. There is no external, terminal program for the MA degree.
Admission to the University
Minimum Requirements for Admission
The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:
- A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
- A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
- If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
- Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.
Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree
The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.
Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.
Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.
The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:
- Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
- Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.
Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.
Required Documents for Applications
- Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
- Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
- Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
- courses in English as a Second Language,
- courses conducted in a language other than English,
- courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
- courses of a non-academic nature.
If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from the British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.
Where to Apply
Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.
Admission to the Program
A degree equivalent to a US bachelor’s is required for admission to the program. An undergraduate degree in economics is not required for admission to the PhD program, provided that applicants have achieved an adequate background in economics and mathematics at the undergraduate level.
- Economics: All applicants are expected to have completed intermediate math-based economic theory courses. Further education in economics and economic theory is helpful, but not required.
- Math: Applicants must have knowledge of multivariate calculus, basic matrix algebra, and differential equations; completion of a two-year math sequence, which emphasizes proofs and derivations. Some knowledge of statistics and elementary probability is highly desirable, as is additional coursework in algebra and real analysis.
The GRE is also required. Please visit our website for all department-specific requirements.
Doctoral Degree Requirements
Normative Time Requirements
In advancing to the PhD degree, students pass through two major stages:
1) Preparation for candidacy typically takes three years. During the first two semesters, students take courses to achieve competence in econometric methods, methods of economic history, and fundamentals of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. During the next two years, students prepare for examination in two fields of specialization of their choosing, prepare a dissertation prospectus, and take an oral examination. When these steps are completed, students are advanced to candidacy.
2) Completion of a dissertation after advancing to candidacy typically takes one to two years. The dissertation must be based on original research and represent a significant contribution to the body of economic knowledge.
The entire process takes approximately five to six years, although some students are able to complete the program in less time.
Time to Advancement
During the first two semesters of graduate study, students must take a set of eight core courses to satisfy requirements in mathematics, economic history, economic theory, and econometrics. Syllabi for current and recent economics courses, including the core courses described below, can be found on the Economics Course Home Page Registry.
Exemptions from Course Requirements
Students with strong backgrounds in math and economics, who have completed the equivalent of the coursework outlined above, may be exempted from some or all of the first-year course requirements. To qualify for an exemption, admitted students must provide documentation of coursework completed and grades received. Students excused from any or all of the required theory courses may be required to take advanced theory courses to supplement previous training. All exemptions from first-year course work must be approved by both the course instructor and the graduate committee chair.
& ECON 201B
and Economic Theory
& ECON 202B
and Macroeconomic Theory
|ECON 204||Mathematical Tools for Economics||3|
|ECON 210A||Introduction to Economic History||3|
& ECON 240B
|ECON Electives (2 semesters) per specialized study list:||24|
preparation for 2 field exams
|ECON Elective Dept Seminars (12 units/one semester)||12|
Preliminary Exams—Field Examination
All graduate students must take written qualifying examinations in two fields of specialization. Students prepare for these examinations in the second year by completing graduate courses offered in their chosen fields.
Fields Available in the Economics Department
- Advanced Economic Theory
- Comparative Economics
- Development Economics
- Economic History
- Financial Economics
- Industrial Organization
- International Economics
- Labor Economics
- Political Economics
- Psychology and Economics
- Public Finance
Alternative fields offered by another department or designed by the student may be substituted for one of the fields listed above if approved by the graduate committee. Alternative fields may include Economic Demography, Education and Economics, Health Economics, Law and Economics, Resource Economics, Urban and Regional Economics, or City and Regional Planning.
Students must complete at least one semester of any department seminars prior to taking their oral examination. This is typically done in the third year of study.
Dissertation Prospectus and Oral Examination (QUALIFYING EXAMINATION)
Students are encouraged to begin discussing possible dissertation topics with appropriate faculty members at an early stage. After completing the written field examinations, students choose a faculty member to serve as an advisor on developing a dissertation topic involving significant and original research, and to supervise the writing of a prospectus. The prospectus describes the research to be conducted, the techniques to be used, and initial findings. Students who cannot find an adviser on their own will be matched with a preliminary adviser at the beginning of the third year of study.
When the prospectus is approved by the faculty adviser, the qualifying examination is scheduled. The examining committee consists of four faculty members who conduct an oral examination based on the student's areas of specialization and on the dissertation prospectus. A primary function of the oral examination is to aid the student in developing a dissertation and to determine whether the student is sufficiently prepared to complete original research successfully.
Time in Candidacy
Upon successful completion of the oral examination and selection of a dissertation committee, the student is advanced to candidacy. Following advancement to candidacy, students pursue research necessary for the completion of their dissertation.
Fourth Year Paper
In the fourth year students will work with their advisor to write a complete draft of a research paper. The topic can be on what was done for the orals examination, or something new. Students may be excused from this requirement under exceptional circumstances (e.g., lengthy field work), but they would need to submit a letter to the Graduate Chair from the student's advisor requesting an exception. The deadline for submitting the paper will be late spring semester. Note: this is a new requirement that comes into force only for students in the cohort starting in 2018 and more recent cohorts.
Students are encouraged to select dissertation topics that can be completed in one to two years. Except in highly unusual cases, a dissertation does not exceed 300 pages of double-spaced typescript, and dissertations of 100 pages or less are entirely acceptable if they are significant contributions to the body of economic knowledge.
Upon completion of the dissertation and its acceptance by the dissertation committee, the student is awarded the PhD degree.
Graduate Program Outcomes
Students who have received, or will soon receive, the PhD in Economics are assisted by the department in finding suitable career positions. The department learns of available openings for qualified economists through an exchange of information with universities, colleges, government agencies, and research institutes.
The department staff coordinates and facilitates placement activities, and a faculty member oversees and advises placement. Serious effort is made to help students find positions in which their capacities will be both used and rewarded. The department has been highly successful in placing students, which is a reflection on the quality of its students and their training, and the importance the department places on this activity.
Past placement outcomes can be found on the department's website.
Faculty and Instructors
+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.
David Sehun Ahn, Professor. Game theory, decision theory, mathematical economics.
Alan J. Auerbach, Professor. Public policy, public finance.
David Card, Professor. Labor economics.
+ Stefano DellaVigna, Professor. Behavioral economics, applied microeconomics, behavioral finance, media economics.
J. Bradford DeLong, Professor. Economic history, macroeconomics, economic growth, finance.
Aaron S. Edlin, Professor. Industrial organization, law and economics, public economics .
Barry Eichengreen, Professor. Economic history, international economics.
Haluk I. Ergin, Associate Professor. Theory.
Ben Faber, Associate Professor. International trade, development economics.
Joseph Farrell, Professor. Theory, industrial organization.
Frederico S. Finan, Professor. Development economics, political economy.
Cecile Gaubert, Assistant Professor. International trade, economic geography.
Lisa Goldberg, Adjunct Professor.
Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Professor. Macroeconomics, econometrics, international economics, development economics, comparative economics.
Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Professor. Macroeconomics, international macroeconomics, finance.
Bryan Graham, Professor. Econometrics, Labor, Development.
Benjamin R. Handel, Associate Professor. Industrial organization, health economics, applied microeconomics, information economics .
Benjamin Hermalin, Professor. Economics of organization, industrial organization, contract theory, corporate governance .
Hilary Hoynes, Professor. Poverty, inequality, economic policy, Social Safety Net, labor economics.
Michael Jansson, Professor. Econometrics.
Shachar Kariv, Professor. Economic theory, experimental economics, behavioral economics .
Supreet Kaur, Assistant Professor. Development economics, behavioral economics, labor economics.
Kei Kawai, Assistant Professor. Industrial organization, political economy.
Patrick Kline, Professor. Labor economics, urban economics, applied econometrics.
Jonathan Kolstad, Associate Professor. Health economics, industrial organization, public economics, applied microeconomics.
+ Ulrike Malmendier, Professor. Corporate finance, behavioral finance, behavioral economics, applied, microeconomics.
+ Edward Andrew Miguel, Professor. Africa, education, development economics, human capital, health, ethnic divisions, social capital, civil conflict, war, pre-analysis plans, water .
Enrico Moretti, Professor. Labor economics, urban economics.
John Morgan, Professor. Theory, industrial organization, contracts.
Emi Nakamura, Professor. Macroeconomics, international economics, industrial organization, monetary policy.
Maurice Obstfeld, Professor. International economics, macroeconomics, monetary economics .
+ Martha Olney, Teaching Professor. Economic history, macroeconomics, economics of discrimination .
Demian Gaston Pouzo, Associate Professor. Econometrics, macroeconomics.
James L. Powell, Professor. Econometrics, statistical modeling.
Andres Rodriguez-Clare, Professor. International trade, development economics, macroeconomics .
Gerard Roland, Professor. Political economics, comparative and institutional economics .
David H. Romer, Professor. Macroeconomics, monetary economics .
+ Christina D. Romer, Professor. Economic history, macroeconomics.
Jesse Rothstein, Professor. Labor economics, public economics .
Emmanuel Saez, Professor. Public Economics .
Benjamin Schoefer, Assistant Professor. Macroeconomics, labor economics, corporate finance.
Chris Shannon, Professor. Economic theory, mathematical economics .
Joseph Shapiro, Associate Professor. Trade and the environment, water pollution, Clean Water Act, air pollution, climate change.
David Sraer, Associate Professor. Financial economics, behavioral finance, behavioral economics, economics of organization, entrepreneurship.
JÃ³n Steinsson, Professor. Macroeconomics, monetary economics, international economics .
Dmitry Taubinsky, Assistant Professor. Behavioral economics, tax policy, soda taxes, payday loans, household consumption and portfolio choice, energy policy, health.
Nick Tsivanidis, Assistant Professor. Urban and Regional Economics, development economics, applied macroeconomics.
Reed Walker, Associate Professor. Environmental economics, public economics, labor economics .
Christopher Walters, Associate Professor. Labor economics, applied econometrics.
Danny Yagan, Assistant Professor. Taxes and investment, income inequality, employment in recessions.
Gabriel Zucman, Assistant Professor. Public economics, inequality, wealth, taxation.
Raymond J. Hawkins, Continuing Lecturer.
George A. Akerlof, Professor Emeritus. Economics, macroeconomics, poverty, family problems, crime, discrimination, monetary policy, German unification.
Robert Anderson, Professor Emeritus. Finance, probability theory, mathematical economics, nonstandard analysis.
Pranab Bardhan, Professor Emeritus. Poverty, inequality, globalization, political economy, institutional economics, development economics, international economics.
George F. Break, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).
Clair Brown, Professor Emeritus. Innovation, management, economics, labor, employment, labor market institutions, semi-conductor industry.
Roger Craine, Professor Emeritus. Economics, exchange rate regime credibility, the agency cost of capital, stochastic-volatility jump-diffusion models, dollarization, monetary policy shocks, security market responses.
Jan De Vries, Professor Emeritus. Economics, demography, history.
Albert Fishlow, Professor Emeritus.
Richard J. Gilbert, Professor Emeritus. Economics, industrial organization, regulation, market power in electricity networks, market structure, organizational structure, and randd diversity, antitrust policy evolution.
Steven Goldman, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).
Gregory Grossman, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).
Bronwyn H. Hall, Professor Emeritus. Applied econometrics, economics of technical change, economics of innovation, patent policy, RandD value, taxation, financing RandD.
Michael Katz, Professor Emeritus. Antitrust, economics of network industries, intellectual property licensing, privacy, telecommunications policy .
Theodore E. Keeler, Professor Emeritus. Industrial organization, health economics, transportation economics.
Ronald D. Lee, Professor Emeritus. Long-run demographic and fiscal stochastic forecasting, intergenerational transfers, macro consequences of population aging, social security, evolutionary theory of the life cycle, population and economic development .
John M. Letiche, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).
Daniel L. Mcfadden, Professor Emeritus. Econometrics.
John M. Quigley, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).
Michael Reich, Professor Emeritus. Economics, training, pensions, living wages.
Thomas J. Rothenberg, Professor Emeritus. Economics, econometrics.
Daniel Rubinfeld, Professor Emeritus. Economics, law and economics, antitrust policy, public economics.
Suzanne Scotchmer, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).
Carl Shapiro, Professor Emeritus. Business, economics, game theory, licensing, anti-trust economics, intellectual property, economics of networks and interconnection.
Kenneth E. Train, Adjunct Professor Emeritus. Economics, regulation, econometrics, energy, choice modeling.
Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Professor. High-technology competition, US industrial and technology policies, international economy, US trade policy, US competitiveness, emerging market companies, multinational companies in the US economy, gender gap (economic participation, educational attainment, political empowerment and health), research and development tax credit .
Lloyd Ulman, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).
Hal Varian, Professor Emeritus. Information technology, economics of information technology.
Benjamin N. Ward, Professor Emeritus. Comparative economic systems, philosophy and methodology of economics.
Oliver E. Williamson, Professor Emeritus. Economics, corporations.
Glenn A. Woroch, Adjunct Professor Emeritus. Economics, privacy, telecommunications policy, antitrust policy, intellectual property protection.
Janet Yellen, Professor Emeritus. Macroeconomics, international economics.
Department of Economics
530 Evans Hall
Graduate Committee Chair
519 Evans Hall
Director of Student Services
Patrick G. Allen
543 Evans Hall
Asst. Director Course Management
Asst.Director Graduate Student Services
541 Evans Hall