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 statistics/econometrics.  Students also take a fall semester course in mathematical methods.  In the second year, students take courses in their chosen fields.  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:

  • 180.601 Microeconomic Theory I
  • 180.602 Microeconomic Theory II
  • 180.603 Macroeconomic Theory I
  • 180.604 Macroeconomic Theory II
  • 180.609 Mathematical Thinking and Reasoning in Economics
  • 180.633 Econometrics
  • 180.636 Statistical Inference

Comprehensive Examination

Administered by the department, this consists of three written examinations designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. 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 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 possible 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.

Beyond the general University requirements, the department requires for the master’s degree two years of satisfactory graduate course work and demonstrated teaching ability. The teaching requirement is satisfied by performing successfully as a Teaching Assistant for one semester.