Economics Ph.D.

Student in PhD Economics program
Economics Ph.D.

Paul College offers a distinctive Ph.D. in Economics program, nationally recognized for its dual focus on developing both research economists and teachers. You'll complete your coursework in just two and a half years, then focus on dissertation research, graduate seminars and, for those planning an academic career, pursuit of the Cognate in College Teaching, the nationally recognized certificate program.

***A revised doctoral program in economics is under development for Academic Catalog year 2019/2020. Updated program description and course requirements will be posted in August.***

Why get your doctoral degree in economics?

A doctorate in economics will help you gain a deeper understanding of all economic systems and enable you to provide in-depth analysis and detailed models to help corporations and governments make sound decisions related to budgets, resources and programs. A Ph.D. in economics also grounds you in the concepts and models of economics and provides you with the research skills and supervised training in teaching needed to become a college professor.

Why choose UNH’s Ph.D. in economics program?

Paul College’s program is one of a handful in the country that has a dual focus on developing both researchers and college teachers. Youll complete coursework in just two-and-a-half years, then focus on dissertation research, graduate seminars and, for those planning an academic career, pursuit of the Cognate in College Teaching, the nationally recognized certificate program. What defines our program is broad training in economics, close mentorship from distinguished research faculty, and financial support to present original research at professional conferences. One-hundred percent of our graduates who pursue an academic career enter one, and they have a great track record of obtaining promotion and tenure.

Potential careers

  • Banking and financial services
  • College teaching
  • Economic development
  • Economic forecasting
  • Entrepreneurial ventures
  • Government administration
  • Urban and regional planning


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Curriculum & Requirements

Admission to the doctoral program is reserved for students who demonstrate exceptional promise in economics. Students pursue the Ph.D. for various reasons, including wanting to make research contributions to the field and to teach economics at the college level.

The doctoral program encourages students to develop research skills early on through an integrative research experience. A cornerstone of this experience is the department's weekly research seminar. Students participate in the seminar by writing critical reviews and referee reports on the papers presented, acting as discussants, and presenting their own research.

A distinctive feature of UNH's doctoral program is its dual emphasis on developing research economists and college teachers.

Cognate in College Teaching

The Ph.D. degree in economics from UNH is a research degree that provides students with a deep understanding of economic theory, institutions, and empirical analysis. Most graduates of the program move into faculty positions at other institutions of higher learning where teaching is an important component of their responsibilities.

In conjunction with the Graduate School’s Teaching Excellence Program, the department has developed a nationally known program that provides formal training in pedagogy for students whose career goals include teaching at the college level. This program, called the Cognate in College Teaching, is an option that Ph.D. students may select in addition to the requirements of the doctoral degree (discussed above). The Cognate is a 13­-credit program and is awarded, upon satisfaction of all requirements, concurrently with the Ph.D. The Cognate can only be awarded in conjunction with the Ph.D. and none of the course requirements of the Cognate can be substituted for those of the Ph.D.

To enter the program, a student must formally apply to the Graduate Dean after at least one year of full-time graduate studies in economics. Admission to the Cognate is decided by the graduate dean, based upon recommendations of the Economics Graduate Program Coordinator and the Teaching Excellence Program Director.

The degree requirements include: nine core courses, two comprehensive theory exams, field courses, two fields of concentration (one major and the other minor), field and research workshops, a major field exam, doctoral dissertation proposal defense and final defense, and proficiency in one foreign language if deemed necessary by the student's dissertation chair. Candidacy is reached following successful completion of:

  1. comprehensive theory examinations in microeconomics and macroeconomics;
  2. exam in major field (health economics, environmental economics or international economics);
  3. an advisor willing to chair the student's dissertation committee and a viable dissertation topic.
Core Courses
ECON 976Microeconomics I3
ECON 977Microeconomics II3
ECON 972Macroeconomics I3
ECON 973Macroeconomics II3
ECON 970Advanced Economic Theory3
ECON 926Econometrics I3
ECON 927Econometrics II3
ECON 957History of Economic Thought3
ECON 958Topics in Economic Thought and Methodology3
Graduate Economics Seminar
Graduate Economics Seminar 1
Research Workshop
Research Workshop 2
Comprehensive Examinations in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
Fields of Concentration (one major and one minor)

Comprehensive Examinations in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics

Written evidence of proficiency in economic theory is demonstrated by passing comprehensive examinations in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. These examinations are given twice a year, after term III and at the end of June. Students should sit for both theory examinations after the third term of their second year of study. The Graduate Studies Coordinator conveys information regarding performance in writing. Departmental policy restricts the number of attempts at the comprehensive theory examinations to two per examination. If a student fails a theory comprehensive exam twice, the student may, in the case of extenuating circumstances, petition for a third attempt. The petition must be submitted within 4 weeks of the date that the department notifies the student of his or her second failure. A student who does not show up on a scheduled test date will have the examination counted as one of his or her attempts.

Fields of Concentration

Students must complete the requirements for one major field and one minor field. A student designates his or her major field during Field Workshop (ECON 992) and must have departmental approval to change the major field thereafter.

Environmental Economics

Major Field Requirements
ECON 908Environmental Economics: Theory and Policy3
ECON 909Environmental Valuation3
RECO 911Natural and Environmental Resource Management (or other approved course)4
ECON 992Field Workshop3
Minor Field Requirements
Select two of the following:6-7
Environmental Economics: Theory and Policy
Environmental Valuation
Natural and Environmental Resource Management

 Health Economics

Major Field Requirements
ECON 941Survey of Health Economics3
ECON 942Selected Topics in Health Economics3
ECON 992Field Workshop3
Select one of the following:3
Public Health Policy
Public Health Economics
Minor Field Requirements
ECON 941Survey of Health Economics3
ECON 942Selected Topics in Health Economics3

International Economics

Major Field Requirements
ECON 945International Trade3
ECON 946International Finance3
ECON 992Field Workshop3
Select one of the following:3
International Financial Management
Seminar in Economic Development
International Management
Minor Field Requirements
ECON 945International Trade3
ECON 946International Finance3

Examination in Major Field

Comprehensive field examinations are given twice a year, in January and June. Students should take their major field examination on the first date possible following the completion of Field Workshop (ECON 992). To sit for the field examination, students must have passed both of their theory comprehensive examinations. Students are permitted two attempts to pass the field examination. Petitions for a third attempt are possible, but must be submitted within 4 weeks of the date that the department notifies the student of his or her second failure. A petition is granted only in the case of extenuating circumstances. A student who does not show up on a scheduled test date will have the examination counted as one of his or her attempts.

Elective Course

Beyond the core theory courses and field requirements, students must take one additional graduate course from the department or an approved 800­-level class from another department.

Graduate Economics Seminar

Students are required to sign up for the Graduate Economics Seminar (ECON 988) in Terms 2, 3, and 4 during their first two years of study.

Research Workshop

Beyond their second year of study, students continue to participate in the department's weekly seminar by enrolling in two terms of Research Workshop (ECON 996). Research Workshop students present their own research in the research seminar series. They may also serve as discussants for outside speakers and write referee reports for the papers presented. Students must secure a dissertation adviser prior to signing up for their first term of Research Workshop. The research­-workshop requirement should be completed by the end of the fifth year of study.

Foreign Language Requirement

Students may need to demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language if it is determined to be essential to the student's area of research by his or her dissertation chair.

Dissertation Proposal Defense

Prior to defending his/her proposal, a student must find a dissertation chair and form a dissertation committee. The dissertation proposal may be defended as part of the Research Workshop or separately from the Workshop.

Final Dissertation Defense

Cognate in College Teaching Requirements

The Cognate in College Teaching offers a series of core and elective courses to prepare individuals to teach at institutions of higher education. The Cognate is available to doctoral students and students in selected master’s degree programs at UNH.

Students must apply and be formally admitted to the program. The Cognate appears as a minor on the student’s transcript, and is awarded concurrently with the Ph.D. or Master’s degree.

This program requires the satisfactory completion of 13 academic credits. Students elect, with the permission of their graduate coordinator, to add the cognate to their graduate degree. The cognate will be awarded at the time of the award of the qualifying graduate degree. Requirements include 12 credits toward developing core competencies and the submission of an electronic teaching portfolio for 1 credit. For more information please visit the Teaching Excellence web site:­ excellence/Academic_prog_in_coll_teach/index.html


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (to be considered for merit based financial assistance); April 15 (regular)
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: RI VT ME

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE required. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores required for admission into our programs please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives,
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.


Resume is optional but recommended.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are strongly encouraged to complete our international pre-application process and are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. Please note that English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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