PhD Qualifying Exam


To qualify to continue in the PhD program, students must pass the written Qualifying Examination. The Qualifying Exam includes two parts, macroeconomic theory and microeconomic theory, and requires the student to demonstrate achievement of an acceptable level of professional competence in these fundamental areas of modern economics. Specific information about this exam includes:

  • The Qualifying Exam can be attempted by a registered economics graduate student who is in compliance with the program's GPA standards for Satisfactory Performance, and who has completed the Macro and Micro theory course sequences.
  • The Qualifying Exam is administered in January. One half of the exam (micro or macro) will be given on Monday and other half on Friday, of the week before classes start. Each half will be approximately five hours in duration. Normally there will be a rotation for which half (micro or macro) is given on which day. For example if micro is on Monday and macro is on Friday one year, the following year, macro will be on Monday and micro will be on Friday.
  • The two halves are equally weighted in the determination of the overall result. A solid pass in both parts, a solid pass in one part and a marginal pass in the other, or a marginal pass in both parts, or a solid pass in one part and a marginal fail in the other constitute an overall pass in the combined exam. Other cases result in failure, and the student must retake the exam. Only one re-take of the Qualifying Exam is allowed.
  • For students failing the exam in January, the QE retake will be offered in mid-July. Students who fail both the micro and macro parts of the exam must retake both parts of the exam. Students who pass one part and fail the other part need only retake the part (micro or macro) that they failed. To maintain Satisfactory Progress status, the re-take must be attempted at the next scheduled offering.

Note that the specific scope of an exam may vary by year, according to what the committees judge to be the scope of training of the student cohort.