Program Requirements

Basic course work

Students take two years of course work. The first year is comprised of two semesters each of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and mathematical methods, and one-semester courses in statistics and econometrics. In the second year, students take electives – four in the fall semester and three in the spring semester. Students may also take relevant courses in related departments, such as mathematics, mathematical sciences, political science, and public health. The compulsory first-year courses are:

  • 180.600 General Equilibrium Theory
  • 180.601 Consumer and Producer Theory
  • 180.603 Macroeconomic Theory I
  • 180.604 Macroeconomic Theory II
  • 180.622 Game Theory
  • 180.623 Economics of Information
  • 180.633 Econometrics
  • 180.636 Statistical Inference

Comprehensive examination

Administered by the department, this consists of two written examinations designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of microeconomics and macroeconomics. These exams are given before the beginning of the third term.

Research paper

A research paper is submitted during the fourth term.


The dissertation should be an original investigation worthy of publication, prepared under the supervision of two or more members of the faculty. A dissertation proposal is due during the sixth term. The candidate must submit the dissertation in final typed form at least three weeks before the date of the Graduate Board Oral Examination. The committee that administers the examination includes a majority of faculty from outside the department. Though it is feasible to finish in four years, it is typical to complete the PhD in five or six years.

Requirements for the MA Degree

The department does not admit students from outside JHU who intend to work only for an MA However, it does offer this degree as an intermediate step toward the PhD or as a final degree to some of those who do not complete their doctoral work. It is also offered to accelerated BA students.

Beyond the general University requirements, the department requires for the master’s degree either two years of satisfactory graduate course work or one year of satisfactory graduate course work and an acceptable master’s essay.