Ph.D. Program

The PhD program in Economics at the Anderson School of Management prepares students to think creatively about the important economic issues of the day. It responds to three important trends: increasing use of large databases and computer-assisted data analyses for business and government decision making. Economics PhD graduates have a strong global perspective and are able to use economic theory wisely and report data persuasively.

The curriculum has three balanced and parallel research and training components which are:

  • Investigation of questions important to managerial decision making and/or public policy
  • Formulation of economic theory that sheds light on questions and helps to organize empirical studies
  • Examination of data using theory as a guide, aimed explicitly at answering specific questions

Course work, research activities and student interaction effectively integrate the three components. As part of their training in research methods, second-year students work closely with faculty members on specific research projects. To support the curriculum's emphasis on international economic issues, third-year students are encouraged to spend a quarter abroad, working on an independent research paper. All students are expected to complete their dissertations by the end of the fourth year.

The GEM area is purposefully small to ensure close interaction between faculty and students, and among students. The area publishes a series of working papers to disseminate recent work. All PhD students are urged to attend the weekly International Political Economy seminar at which faculty share emerging research and discuss current trends in the field.

Entering economics PhD students must have a strong background in calculus, linear algebra, and probability and statistics. During the first year, students take the sequence of courses required for PhD students in the Department of Economics. At the end of the first year, PhD students have to pass the comprehensive exams in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics at the Department of Economics. This requirement can be waived for two of the fields – Macroeconomics and/or Econometrics – if strong performance has been demonstrated throughout the first year; in particular, if the grades in those sequences are A- or better in each quarter. The comprehensive exam in Microeconomics must be passed irrespective of grades throughout the first year. All comprehensive exams take place in July and can be repeated in September. In addition to those first-year exams, the student is required to take the major field examination in international economics at the end of the second year. All examinations must be passed at the doctoral level.

Two UCLA Anderson programs provide research assistantships for economics PhD students at Anderson. The UCLA Anderson Forecast supports econometric research and national, regional and industrial forecasting models, and has access to extensive computer facilities and data banks. This nationally recognized forecast is presented at a quarterly conference that draws business professionals, government officials and academic economists. The Research Program in Competition and Business Policy, which provides stipends to doctoral students, supports theoretical and empirical research on industrial and internal organization. Recent projects have included studies of the relationship between advertising and profit rates, the sources of gains from takeovers, and policies of retail discrimination.

For more information, please visit the Doctoral Program website.