University of California, Berkeley

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.

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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:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant has completed a basic degree 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
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. Unofficial transcripts must contain specific information including the name of the applicant, name of the school, all courses, grades, units, & degree conferral (if applicable). 
  2. 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, by the recommender, not the Graduate Admissions.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions 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.

Applicants who have previously applied to Berkeley must also submit new test scores that meet the current minimum requirement 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 for Graduate Organizations. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years prior to beginning the graduate program at UC Berkeley. Note: score reports can not expire before the month of June.


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:

s1) 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 two to three 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.

Courses Required
Economic Theory
and Economic Theory
and Macroeconomics
ECON 204Mathematical Tools for Economics3
ECON 210AIntroduction to Economic History3
and Econometrics
ECON Electives (2 semesters) per specialized study list:24
This serves as preparation for 2 field exams* Field courses are subject to change every academic year. The Graduate Office shares a list of field courses every year (with students starting their second year). Courses are not made public.
ECON Elective Dept Seminars (12 units/one semester)12
ECON 208Microeconomic Theory Seminar3
ECON 211Seminar in Economic History3
ECON 217Risk Seminar3
ECON 218Seminar in Psychology and Economics3
ECON 221Seminar in Industrial Organization: Regulation and Public Enterprise3
ECON 231Seminar in Public Sector Economics3
ECON 235Financial Economics Seminar3
ECON 237Seminar in Advanced Macroeconomics and Money3
ECON 242Seminar in Econometrics3
ECON 251Seminar in Labor Economics3
ECON 271Seminar in Development Economics3
ECON 281Seminar in International Trade and Finance3
ECON 291Departmental Seminar1
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
  • Development Economics
  • Econometrics
  • Economic History
  • Financial Economics
  • Industrial Organization
  • International Economics
  • Labor Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • 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.

Qualifying Examination

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. 


Students are encouraged to select dissertation topics that can be completed in one to two years. 

Upon completion of the dissertation and its acceptance by the dissertation committee, the student is awarded the PhD degree.

Graduate Program Outcomes

Professional Placement

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.
Research Profile

Alan J. Auerbach, Professor. Public policy, public finance.
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Matthew Backus, Associate Professor. Industrial Organization.

Nano Barahona, Assistant Professor. Industrial Organization and Public Economics.

Sydnee Caldwell, Assistant Professor. Wage-setting, bargaining, labor supply, gender wage gap.
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David Card, Professor. Labor economics.
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* Stefano DellaVigna, Professor. Behavioral economics, applied microeconomics, behavioral finance, media economics.
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J. Bradford DeLong, Professor. Economic history, macroeconomics, economic growth, finance.
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Aaron S. Edlin, Professor. Industrial organization, law and economics, public economics .
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Barry Eichengreen, Professor. Economic history, international economics.
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Haluk I. Ergin, Associate Professor. Theory.
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Ben Faber, Associate Professor. International trade, development economics.
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Joseph Farrell, Professor. Theory, industrial organization.
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Frederico S. Finan, Professor. Development economics, political economy.
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Cecile Gaubert, Assistant Professor. International trade, economic geography.
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Lisa Goldberg, Adjunct Professor.

Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Professor. Macroeconomics, econometrics, international economics, development economics, comparative economics.
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Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, Professor. Macroeconomics, international macroeconomics, finance.
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Bryan Graham, Professor. Econometrics, Labor, Development.
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Benjamin R. Handel, Associate Professor. Industrial organization, health economics, applied microeconomics, information economics .
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Benjamin Hermalin, Professor. Economics of organization, industrial organization, contract theory, corporate governance .
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Hilary Hoynes, Professor. Poverty, inequality, economic policy, Social Safety Net, labor economics.
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Michael Jansson, Professor. Econometrics.
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Shachar Kariv, Professor. Economic theory, experimental economics, behavioral economics .
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Supreet Kaur, Assistant Professor. Development economics, behavioral economics, labor economics.
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Kei Kawai, Assistant Professor. Industrial organization, political economy.
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Patrick Kline, Professor. Labor economics, urban economics, applied econometrics.
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Jonathan Kolstad, Associate Professor. Health economics, industrial organization, public economics, applied microeconomics.
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Chen Lian, Assistant Professor. Macroeconomics Theory, Behavioral Macroeconomics, Behavioral Theory, Macro-finance.
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* Ulrike Malmendier, Professor. Corporate finance, behavioral finance, behavioral economics, applied, microeconomics.
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* Edward Andrew Miguel, Professor. Africa, education, development economics, human capital, health, ethnic divisions, social capital, civil conflict, war, pre-analysis plans, water .
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Enrico Moretti, Professor. Labor economics, urban economics.
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John Morgan, Professor. Theory, industrial organization, contracts.
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Emi Nakamura, Professor. Macroeconomics, international economics, industrial organization, monetary policy.
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Maurice Obstfeld, Professor. International economics, macroeconomics, monetary economics .
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* Martha Olney, Teaching Professor. Economic history, macroeconomics, economics of discrimination .
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Demian Gaston Pouzo, Associate Professor. Econometrics, macroeconomics.
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James L. Powell, Professor. Econometrics, statistical modeling.
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Andres Rodriguez-Clare, Professor. International trade, development economics, macroeconomics .
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Gerard Roland, Professor. Political economics, comparative and institutional economics .
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David H. Romer, Professor. Macroeconomics, monetary economics .
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* Christina D. Romer, Professor. Economic history, macroeconomics.
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Jesse Rothstein, Professor. Labor economics, public economics .
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Emmanuel Saez, Professor. Public Economics .
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Benjamin Schoefer, Assistant Professor. Macroeconomics, labor economics, corporate finance.

Vira Semenova, Assistant Professor. Econometrics and Machine Learning.
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Chris Shannon, Professor. Economic theory, mathematical economics .
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Joseph Shapiro, Associate Professor. Trade and the environment, water pollution, Clean Water Act, air pollution, climate change.
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David Sraer, Associate Professor. Financial economics, behavioral finance, behavioral economics, economics of organization, entrepreneurship.
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Carolyn Stein, Assistant Professor. Intersection of labor economics and the economics of science and innovation.

Jón Steinsson, Professor. Macroeconomics, monetary economics, international economics .
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Dmitry Taubinsky, Assistant Professor. Behavioral economics, tax policy, soda taxes, payday loans, household consumption and portfolio choice, energy policy, health.
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Nick Tsivanidis, Assistant Professor. Urban and Regional Economics, development economics, applied macroeconomics.

Quitze Valenzuela-Stookey, Assistant Professor. Microeconomic Theory, Public Economics, Industrial Organization.

Reed Walker, Associate Professor. Environmental economics, public economics, labor economics .
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Christopher Walters, Associate Professor. Labor economics, applied econometrics.
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Danny Yagan, Assistant Professor. Taxes and investment, income inequality, employment in recessions.
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Gabriel Zucman, Assistant Professor. Public economics, inequality, wealth, taxation.
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Raymond J. Hawkins, Continuing Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

George A. Akerlof, Professor Emeritus. Economics, macroeconomics, poverty, family problems, crime, discrimination, monetary policy, German unification.
Research Profile

Robert Anderson, Professor Emeritus. Finance, probability theory, mathematical economics, nonstandard analysis.
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Pranab Bardhan, Professor Emeritus. Poverty, inequality, globalization, political economy, institutional economics, development economics, international economics.
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George F. Break, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).

Clair Brown, Professor Emeritus. Innovation, management, economics, labor, employment, labor market institutions, semi-conductor industry.
Research Profile

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.
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Jan De Vries, Professor Emeritus. Economics, demography, history.
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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.
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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.
Research Profile

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).
Research Profile

Daniel L. Mcfadden, Professor Emeritus. Econometrics.

John M. Quigley, Professor Emeritus (In Memoriam).

Michael Reich, Professor Emeritus. Economics, training, pensions, living wages.
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Thomas J. Rothenberg, Professor Emeritus. Economics, econometrics.
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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.
Research Profile

Kenneth E. Train, Adjunct Professor Emeritus. Economics, regulation, econometrics, energy, choice modeling.
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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 .
Research Profile

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.
Research Profile

Glenn A. Woroch, Adjunct Professor Emeritus. Economics, privacy, telecommunications policy, antitrust policy, intellectual property protection.

Janet Yellen, Professor Emeritus. Macroeconomics, international economics.

Contact Information

Department of Economics

530 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-0822

Fax: 510-642-6615

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Shachar Kariv

505 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-643-0712

Graduate Chair

Enrico Moretti

619 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-6649

Undergraduate Chair

Demian Pouzo

663 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-6709

Director of Student Services

Michelle Fong

551 Evans Hall

Assistant Director, Course Management

Isabel Burle

545 Evans Hall

Curriculum & Enrollment Coordinator


543 Evans Hall

Assistant Director, Graduate Student Services

Janene Vernard

541 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-6172

Assistant Director, Undergrad Student Services

Charles Williams

535 Evans Hall

Phone: 510-642-0824

Economics Undergraduate Advisor

Mildred Flores

539 Evans Hall

Economics Undergraduate Advisor

Carlos Garcia

539 Evans

Undergraduate Advisor


539 Evans Hall

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