Graduate students are in the first stages of developing a career as professional economists and should take full advantage of opportunities to broaden and deepen their experience and qualifications, beyond the basic elements of the educational program. A number of such opportunities are explicitly supported by the department.

Seminars

The department's Seminar Series features presentations by members of the faculty, visiting economists, and graduate students. The schedule is posted and distributed, and copies of the seminar papers are normally available in advance. Graduate students have an obligation to attend and participate in these seminars as part of their graduate education. The seminars provide an opportunity to see how other economists conduct research, and to learn how to effectively communicate research results. Doctoral students participating in the job search process are expected to present their "job market papers" in the seminar series during the fall semester, as a condition for departmental support of their search process.

During years when the department is itself seeking to hire new faculty, the final candidates for such jobs are invited to campus to visit the department and present their research. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to attend these candidate seminars to see a range of examples of doctoral research and presentation styles, in preparation for what they themselves may expect to be undertaking in their own job searches.

Conferences

Numerous professional conferences are held during the year throughout the country and the world. Professional conferences provide an excellent opportunity to expose your research to others for their reactions, suggestions, and comments. You can also learn about research conducted by others in your areas of interest. Conference presentations are often a crucial step in getting research published. Notices of upcoming professional conferences are frequently posted on the Department bulletin board and announced in economic journals. You should consult with your adviser about which conferences might be appropriate destinations for your research.

Typically you are requested to submit an abstract of a paper you wish to present at a conference. The conference organizers then select which papers will be presented. Occasionally, departmental funds are available to help support graduate student travel to conferences to present papers.

Professional Activities

You may be contacted by journal editors to review new books or articles being considered for publication or by textbook publishers to review new texts. These are examples of professional activities which economists typically undertake for the benefit of the profession in general. You may wish to consult with your adviser or other faculty member about whether and how to pursue these activities.

Job Search

Faculty members stand ready to support students in the job search, particularly by writing letters of recommendation, or occasionally by knowing of openings in their fields.

The market for academic positions for PhD students is structured particularly formally. Virtually all domestic (and many foreign) academic openings are listed in Job Openings for Economists, an online publication of the American Economic Association. In the annual cycle, the October and November editions provide especially rich listings of opportunities. Typically, applications are due by late fall, leading to the possibility of personal interviews at the annual AEA/ASSA meetings in early January. Campus visits follow, from January through the spring.

Doctoral students entering the job market should make every effort to ready themselves and participate in the process as effectively as possible. In particular, students should:

  • Consult with their advisors about their readiness.
  • Notify the Coordinator of Graduate Studies that they intend, with the support of their advisor, to enter the market.
  • Have a "job market paper" completed by early fall, for presentation in the department Seminar Series.
  • In consultation with the advisor, develop a Curriculum Vitae, research and teaching summaries, and template application letter.
  • In consultation with the advisor, judge which schools are appropriate targets.
  • Provide appropriate material to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, for posting on the department's "Students on the Job Market" web page.
  • Work with faculty members and the Graduate Program Assistant to assure the provision of recommendation letters.

The Department supports student job searches with the production of recommendation letters, posting of materials on the department web site, opportunity to practice presentation of the job market paper, and possibility of practice interviews.