The Ph.D. in economics at Syracuse is a research-oriented degree, designed for those who want to do applied economics in higher education, government, international agencies, independent research organizations, or private businesses with a substantial research mission.
Entering graduate students should have had at least one year of calculus, a course in mathematical statistics, and a course in linear algebra. In their class work, Ph.D. students take a course in mathematical economics, three courses in microeconomic theory, two courses in macroeconomic theory, three to four courses in econometrics, fulfill the requirements in two fields, as well as breadth requirements and electives totaling 51 credits. Counting dissertation hours, the total number of credits in the program is 72 hours. Students may choose two fields from among labor economics, international economics, public economics, urban economics and econometrics. Students with particularly strong theoretical interests may take fields in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory. A student with strong interest in finance may take a field in it through the finance department of the School of Management. A student wishing to take a field in an area other than microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, labor economics, public economics, international economics, or urban economics must receive the explicit approval of the director of graduate studies of the economics department.
Faculty and graduate students work closely in research, teaching, and graduate study. For example, Ph.D. students often write papers for journals and conferences with faculty members.
In addition, some graduate students participate in a special University program that helps form good teaching practices. Syracuse University is one of a few universities that provides graduate students with a formal program to learn about college-level teaching practices.
Applications from all interested individuals are welcome. Present graduate students have varied undergraduate backgrounds, including economics, physics, and mathematics. Completion of a master’s degree in economics is not required to enter the Ph.D.
Persons interested in studying for the Ph.D. should complete the application form found in the Maxwell School catalog or at the web site, www.maxwell.syr.edu, and have three letters of recommendation sent on their behalf. In addition, all applicants should submit their scores from a recent general Graduate Record Examination and transcripts of all collegiate and post-collegiate work. Applicants whose first language is not English should submit the results of a recent TOEFL examination. Preference for graduate assistantships is given to students with TOEFL (iBT) scores of 100 and above.
Merit-based financial aid awards are available to support study in the Ph.D. program in the form of fellowships and graduate assistantships. Financial support is renewed each year for five years of study, subject to maintaining satisfactory performance in the Ph.D. program. The deadline for submitting applications for a University Fellowship or the deadline for a graduate assistantship is February 15, although later applications are considered for the assistantship awards. Candidates for admission who do not require University financial support may apply at any date.
Fellowships Economics applicants compete with applicants to other departments at Syracuse University for University Fellowships. Winners receive a fellowship in their first and fourth years of study and receive graduate assistantships in their second, third and fifth years. Fellowships include a stipend of approximately $23,830 (2014-15) and a full-tuition scholarship for 30 credits for the academic year. Students receiving a fellowship have no service responsibilities to the University during the years that they are on the fellowship. Recipients generally take 12 credits each semester that they are on fellowship. Fellowship recipients can opt to have University health care insurance coverage at a modest fee. Fellowship stipends are taxable under the state and federal government laws.
The economics doctoral program provides opportunities to obtain teaching experience and to participate in research projects with faculty. Most entering and continuing graduate students have teaching assistantships. All teaching assistants participate in a unique Teaching Assistant Orientation Program conducted by the Graduate School. As a teaching assistant, students eventually gain experience in all aspects of teaching, from exam preparation and grading to lecture preparation and presentation. Some advanced doctoral students conduct their own classes, usually teaching at Syracuse University Continuing Education (SUCE).
Advanced graduate students may elect to compete for research assistant positions. Research assistantships are available, for example, through the Center for Policy Research, a research institute within the Maxwell School, or through faculty members who have externally sponsored research projects. In fact, many students serve as both teaching and research assistants during their time in the doctoral program.
Graduate assistantships are renewed each academic year on the basis of satisfactory progress in the Ph.D. program and of the recent performance as a teaching or research assistant. Assistantships include a stipend of $17,500 for the 2014-2015 academic year. Graduate assistants can opt to have University health care insurance coverage at a modest fee. Assistantships require up to 20 hours of service per week in teaching, grading, or research. A full graduate tuition scholarship for 24 hours of coursework per year is also awarded with the assistantship. Students with assistantships take 9 hours of courses during each semester, and students should use their remaining 6 hours during the summer to register for additional courses or for dissertation credits.
Graduate stipends are subject to tax by state and federal governments but, at this time, are not subject to the social security payroll tax.
The economics department offers opportunities for teaching, research, and summer fellowship support. Summer funding is also available to graduate students through externally funded research projects. All summer support is subject to taxation by the state and federal governments but, at this time, is not subject to the Social Security payroll tax.