Nov 28, 2022  
Graduate Catalog 2021-22 
Graduate Catalog 2021-22 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Economics (AECD)

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Advisor: Mark Wheeler
Room 5453, Friedmann Hall

The Ph.D. in Applied Economics prepares students for careers as professional economists. The program is designed to be completed within four years

Admission Requirements

  1. GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, analytic).
  2. Satisfactory completion of intermediate undergraduate or M.A.-level microeconomic and macroeconomic theory courses.
  3. Satisfactory completion of Calculus 1 and Calculus 2.
  4. A personal statement discussing career plans
  5. Three letters of reference from persons in a position to assess the applicant’s qualifications for doctoral-level study and likelihood of successful completion of a Ph.D. degree.

Financial Assistance

A number of assistantships are awarded each year. Recipients are selected by the Department’s Graduate Programs Committee on a competitive basis. Financial assistance is limited to four years. Minority financial assistance is available to eligible students.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 60 credit hours are required in the program. This includes 12 credit hours of ECON 7300 (doctoral dissertation). At least one-half of the credits earned for the doctoral degree must be in courses numbered 6000 or above.

First year of the Ph.D. Program

Each student takes six courses during the first year of the program. Three course are taken during the fall semester; three courses are taken during the spring semester. Five of the six courses are required; the remaining course is an elective. Each course is three (3) credit hours.

First year required courses:


The elective course must be approved by the Director of Graduate Programs. Elective courses can come from the Department of Economics or other departments.

First year comprehensive examinations:

During the summer following the first year in the program, each student must pass comprehensive examinations in Macroeconomic and Microeconomics. Each student has two chances to pass each examination. Students who do not pass both comprehensive examinations during the first two attempts will be dismissed from the Ph.D. program. These students may transfer to WMU’s MA program in Applied Economics.

Second year of the Ph.D. Program

Each student takes six courses during the second year of the program. Two of these courses are required courses in econometrics:


In addition to Econ 6700 and 6710, each student is required to take four graduate field courses in Economics. The department offers field courses in Economic Development, Human Resource (Labor) Economics, Monetary Economics, and International Economics. (Not all fields are offered in a particular year.)

Students begin dissertation work during the summer following the second year in the program.

Third year of the Ph.D. Program

During the third year of the Ph.D. program, students complete a minimum of four elective courses and continue dissertation work. A faculty member must agree, in writing, to be a student’s dissertation chair prior to October 15 of the student’s third year in the program.

Elective courses can come from the Department of Economics or other departments, but must be approved by the Director of Graduate Programs. Students who are interested in non-academic employment are encouraged to intern (ECON 7120) at a non-academic organization in order to gain practical experience. The internship is normally within commuting distance of WMU.

Each student must write a dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be approved by the student’s dissertation committee prior to April 15 of the student’s third year in the program. Approval of the dissertation proposal is accomplished by the dissertation committee member’s signing the Graduate College’s “Admission to Doctoral Candidacy” form. Prior approval of the proposal, the Graduate College’s “NOTIFICATION OF APPOINTMENT TO A DISSERTATION, THESIS OR SPECIALIST PROJECT COMMITTEE” form must be approved by the department’s chair person, the department’s graduate advisor, the Dean or Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Dean of the Graduate College.

Electives taken during the third year may include up to three (3) credit hours of ECON 7300 (dissertation credit). If ECON 7300 is taken during the third year, it must be taken during the Spring semester. Students who do not have a dissertation chair are not allowed to enroll in ECON 7300.

Fourth year of the Ph.D. Program

Students should complete the dissertation during the fourth year of the program. Students typically enroll in six (6) hours of ECON 7300 during each of the Fall and Spring semesters of the fourth year. A satisfactory oral defense of the dissertation is required.

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