Curriculum

Students on the PhD in Economics program are typically full-time students for the first four years, and are expected to devote full-time effort to their study plan.

Study Plan for the PhD in Economics Program

Prior to the first year - Preparatory Semester (for selected students)

A typical study plan is as follows:

  • First year: required core courses, core general exams, assistantship duties (except for fall semester).
  • Second year: elective field courses, field general exams, assistantship duties, research seminar series attendance, research methodology seminar.
  • Third year: intensive dissertation research, Dissertation Proposal Workshop (i.e., dissertation proposal presentation), assistantship duties, research seminar series attendance.
  • Fourth year and up: intensive dissertation research, research mobility stay, Dissertation Workshops (i.e., research-in-progress presentations), assistantship duties, research seminar series attendance, and ultimately Dissertation Defense.
  • Ph.D. students serve as teaching assistants at least once during their studies, and they also typically undertake Teaching Fellowships in their fourth year.

Preparatory Semester

A select group of PhD program applicants is invited by the admission committee to attend the summer Preparatory Semester, where they receive intensive training in intermediate Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Mathematics.

The courses consist of lectures and exercise sessions and involve weekly homework, midterm and final exams. All Preparatory Semester students attend the same courses; there are no electives. A full-time commitment for all courses and exercise sessions is required.

Applicants who have been offered direct admission may attend the Preparatory Semester as their option, but their performance in these classes will not affect their eligibility for the program.

Core Study: First and Second Year

Coursebook for Fall semester 2017 and Teaching Schedule for Fall semester 2017

Coursebook for Spring Semester 2017 and Teaching Schedule for Spring Semester 2017

First Year of the PhD in Economics Program

First-year students follow a common curriculum designed to provide strong theoretical and empirical foundations in economic theory and its applications. All students take compulsory core courses including Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Statistics and Econometrics, and Academic Writing. There are no electives in the first year. Such a curriculum is standard for US-type PhD study in Economics.

The year is divided into three semesters: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Continuous study involvement is required from students including regular class attendance, homework, midterm exams, and final exams at the end of each semester.

At the end of the first year, all students must pass Core General Exams in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Statistics/Econometrics with an MA or PhD pass grade.

In addition to their study, students attend the CERGE-EI research seminar series and from the Spring Semester onwards they also fulfill assistantship duties (research, teaching, or administrative).

Second Year of the PhD in Economics Program

The second year provides students opportunities to investigate more specific fields of interest. Several two-semester sequences of field courses (Fall and Spring) are offered each year. Students must enroll in at least three field courses each semester, in addition to taking compulsory courses run by the Academic Skills Center.

Depending on student interest and faculty availability, courses in the following fields may be offered: Advanced Macroeconomics, Advanced Microeconomics, Game Theory, Advanced Econometrics, Empirical Methods, Time Series Econometrics, Industrial Organization, Labor Economics, Financial Markets, Experimental Economics, and Energy Economics.

At the end of the second year, students must take at least two Field General Exams from specific sub-fields of economics of their choice. Passing two Field General Exams with a PhD pass grade is required to continue in the PhD program.

In addition to their study, students attend the CERGE-EI research seminar series, fulfill their assistantship duties, and are expected to begin formulating their dissertation research proposals with the help of the research methodology seminar.

Specialized Study: Dissertation Research and Defense

In the Fall Semester of the third year, students are required to submit a written Dissertation Proposal, which is then presented to and evaluated by a faculty committee during the Dissertation Proposal Workshop week. While preparing the proposal, each student also chooses a permanent faculty member that fits his or her research orientation as Dissertation Chair.

Following a successful proposal defense, students select at least two additional members for his or her Dissertation Committee. Under the guidance of this committee the student works on his or her dissertation.

In the fourth year, students present their dissertation research-in-progress at the Dissertation Workshop and work further toward Dissertation Defense. The student’s Dissertation Committee recommends when the completed dissertation is ready for defense. The study is concluded by the public defense of the doctoral dissertation.

Throughout their specialized study, students continue working as Research Assistants, typically as Junior Researchers. Under close faculty supervision, they acquire practical research experience and develop their professional skills. In cooperation with faculty members and researchers, students have opportunities to participate in international research grants and projects and to publish in leading international journals and in the CERGE-EI Working Papers series.  

Working as a Teaching Assistant at CERGE-EI to gain practical teaching skills is one of the requirements of the PhD in Economics program. Moreover, our students have opportunities to teach abroad under the Teaching Fellowship program.

A unique feature of the PhD in Economics program is its support for research mobility, which allows many students to conduct part of their dissertation research working with experts in their fields at leading universities in Western Europe and North America, such as Princeton University, New York University, and many more.