Auburn Bulletin 2023-2024

Applied Economics (Liberal Arts) — PhD

The PhD in Applied Economics is offered jointly by the Department of Economics, the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, and the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. The PhD track described below is offered in the Department of Economics, which also offers an MS in Economics described elsewhere.

More information about the PhD track offered in the Department of Economics is available at

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the PhD track in Applied Economics offered through the Department of Economics must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. A minimum of 18 semester hours of economics and the completion of a calculus sequence are also needed to enter the program. The General Test of the GRE is required. A minimum score of 153 (or 500 on the old GRE scale) on the Verbal GRE portion and a minimum score of 148 (or 600 on the old GRE scale) on the Quantitative GRE portion are required. The graduate committee will evaluate applicants based on their undergraduate records, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation.

Applicants should ensure that the following materials are submitted to the Graduate School web application at

  • Official scores from the General Test of the GRE
  • Official transcripts from every undergraduate institution attended
  • Official TOEFL scores for international students

They should ensure that the following materials are submitted to the graduate program officer in the Department of Economics:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

For applicants to be given full consideration for financial support, a completed application and supporting documents should be received by March 1. Admission and funding decisions will begin shortly thereafter. Later applications will be considered, but decisions will be contingent upon availability.

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 60 semester hours of course work at the 7000-level or above. Any course work outside of the Department of Economics must be approved by the director of graduate studies. As part of their 60 credit hours, students complete the required courses listed below. They must also pass comprehensive exams in three areas and complete course work in two advanced fields. Finally, students must write and successfully defend a dissertation.

Core Curriculum

First Year
ECON 7110 Microeconomics I3ECON 7120 Microeconomics II3
ECON 7130 Mathematical Economics3ECON 7210 Macroeconomics I3
ECON 7310 Econometrics I3ECON 7320 Econometrics II3
Second Year
ECON 7220 Macroeconomics II3
ECON 7330 Microeconometrics3
ECON 7340 Macroeconometrics3

Program Requirements

ECON 7110Microeconomics I3
ECON 7120Microeconomics II3
ECON 7130Mathematical Economics3
ECON 7210Macroeconomics I3
ECON 7220Macroeconomics II3
ECON 7310Econometrics I3
ECON 7320Econometrics II3
ECON 7330Microeconometrics3
ECON 7340Macroeconometrics3
ECON Elective at 8000 level12
ECON 8990Research and Dissertation10
ECON 7000 or higher level11
Total Hours60

Comprehensive Examination

Students must achieve satisfactory performance (Ph.D. level pass) on three comprehensive (preliminary) examinations in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. Only one retake is permitted on each exam. Students are graded separately on each exam. All students enrolled in the Ph.D. program MUST pass all three preliminary examinations by the end of the second December after their initial three semesters in the program.

Completion of Two Advanced Fields

Students must complete the coursework and pass a written examination in two advanced fields. Field coursework consists of a minimum two course sequence and must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies.


Students will be admitted to candidacy after completing two advanced fields, forming a dissertation committee, and successfully passing a general Oral Examination (dissertation proposal). The Oral Examination is normally taken during the third year and requires approval by the Graduate School at least one week prior. Upon successful completion of the proposal, the student becomes a candidate for the Ph.D. degree and has four calendar years to complete remaining requirements.

Dissertation and Oral Defense

Students must write a dissertation and pass an oral defense. Students must register for at least 10 semester hours of dissertation research (ECON 8990).

Financial Aid

Financial aid, usually in the form of graduate teaching assistantships, is available on a competitive basis for PhD students in good academic standing. Funding normally consists of a tuition waiver and monthly stipend.