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PhD in Applied Economics

The PhD program is small and focused, with students concentrating in one field of specialization. Fewer than ten students enter the program each year. Students may concentrate in either industrial organization, competition policy, and regulatory economics; or labor economics. Each field is covered in two semester courses at the PhD level. Students who elect the industrial organization, competition policy, and regulatory economics field may further elect a second field in transportation economics. Admission from the Bachelor’s level requires taking the MA core courses and two additional elective courses plus the PhD requirements.

The PhD program is STEM certified covering a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. (The IPEDS classification:  Detail for CIP Code 45.0603    Title: Econometrics and Quantitative Economics)

The field of Industrial Organization, Competition Policy, and Regulatory Economics analyzes and evaluates the performance of markets and devises appropriate policy responses when markets are not performing well. By developing techniques for examining the structure, conduct, and performance of markets, it bridges economic theory and the real world. In addition, it helps to develop and implement antitrust and regulatory policies to remedy failures of those markets. Students specializing in industrial organization may further elect a second field in transportation economics.
Meet the industrial organization faculty >>

The field of labor economics analyzes the neoclassical labor market, covering such topics as the supply of labor from the perspective of the individual and the family, human capital. the demand for labor, market equilibrium, and the determination and distribution of wages and earnings. Theoretical and empirical issues surrounding current topics in labor economics are examined, and may include discrimination, efficiency wage theory, labor legislation, life cycle analysis and the use of microdata (panel studies), search behavior, intergenerational earnings mobility, and employment and training policies.
Meet the labor economics faculty >>

The deadline for PhD program applications is January 7, 2020.
Decisions are typically made with 1-2 weeks, so applications need to be complete by the deadline, including letters of recommendation, transcripts, and GRE scores.
For more information about the application process, visit CSSH Graduate Admissions.


Current and prospective students should refer to the most recent catalog for a detailed description of the PhD in applied economics curriculum:

 Graduate Catalog

Course Scheduling

Most graduate classes meet twice per week for one and one-half hours each day or once per week for three hours. Most doctoral classes are scheduled during the day, with some elective classes scheduled in the evenings.

To view the class schedule for the current semester, here is a link to the registrar’s website. https://wl11gp.neu.edu/udcprod8/NEUCLSS.p_disp_dyn_sched

Navigating your way through the PH.D. Program

Students may enter the doctoral program either with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Students entering with a Master’s degree will take six courses, or 24 semester hours of credit. Students entering with a Bachelor’s degree will take six master’s-level courses before beginning their doctoral coursework, for a total of 48 semester hours of credit. Core courses at the master’s and doctoral level are focused on developing an advanced theoretical and quantitative foundation (Macroeconomic, Theory, Microeconomic Theory, and Applied Econometrics). The remainder of the coursework is focused on the sophisticated application of analytical tools in the chosen field of concentration. Completion of the core courses must precede completion of field courses.

We expect all PhD students to take three classes per semester as necessary to complete coursework in the minimum number of semesters. Sample sequences for students entering with an MA and with a BA are below. Students funded by other means do not necessarily have to follow the exact sequences below.

PhD Sequence for students entering with a BA

ECON 5105 ECON 5120 ECON 7710 ECON 7720 FIELD 1 (a)
ECON 5110 ECON 5140 ECON 7740 FIELD 1 FIELD 2 (a)

PhD Sequence for students entering with a MA

ECON 7710 ECON 7720 FIELD 1 (a)
ECON 7740 FIELD 1 FIELD 2 (a)

Electives include ECON 7200 – 7299 & ECON 7976

F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and who meet other requirements  are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT. Information about eligibility is available at https://www.northeastern.edu/ogs/24-month-stem-extension/ 

Additional Information

PhD Program Guidelines

Graduate Resource Guide 2019-2020

A Guide to the Preparation and Submission of Theses and Dissertations

 Graduate Catalog

PhD Placement Information


James Dana, Jr.
Professor and PhD Graduate Program Director
306 Lake Hall

Jacquaetta Hester, Administrative Assistant
301 Lake Hall


Next Steps to Completing a PhD in Economics

Ready to learn more about what it takes to complete a PhD in economics from Northeastern? Keep reading for next steps.

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