Ph.D. in Economics

The Ph.D. program at Berkeley is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced study and conducting original research in Economics. The Ph.D. degree is awarded in recognition of the recipient's qualifications as a general economist and of the ability to make scholarly contributions in fields of specialization.

In advancing to the Ph.D. degree, students pass through two major stages:

  1. Preparation for candidacy typically takes two to three years. During the first two semesters, students take courses to achieve competence in econometric methods, methods of economic history and fundamentals of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. During the next two years, students prepare for examination in two fields of specialization of their choosing, prepare a dissertation prospectus, and take an oral examination. When these steps are completed, students are advanced to candidacy.
  2. Completion of a dissertation after advancing to candidacy typically takes one to two years. The dissertation must be based on original research and represent a significant contribution to the body of Economic knowledge.

The entire process takes approximately five to six years, although some students are able to complete the program in less time. Below is an overview of the program requirements by year and other pertinent information.

The UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science provides students helpful resources, links, and tools for successfully completing the Ph.D. in Economics.


The Economics Student Services Mission is to advise our students holistically by providing a high standard of service in a supportive and collaborative environment.  Professional and peer advisors work as a team to provide accurate information in a timely manner.  We partner with faculty to assist students in engaging with the campus and the global economic community.  We value fairness, diversity, and the important roles our students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Economics play at the University of California, Berkeley.

Meet the members of the Economics Graduate Student Services advising team!

Heather Iwata
Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Psychology from University of California, Davis; Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance in Higher Education from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Started at Cal: I began at UC Berkeley in 2008 with the Admissions and Student Affairs Office at the School of Optometry and Vision Science Graduate Group working primarily with prospective, Doctor of Optometry (O.D.), and Ph.D. Vision Science students as well as O.D. Residents. My career transitioned to the Department of Economics in 2017 where I advise prospective and current Ph.D. students and partner with faculty on the Admissions Committee, Job Market and student progress. Prior to my arrival at Cal, I worked with Fraternity and Sorority Affairs as well as New Student Orientation at San José State University and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo respectively. I love dancing to 90's and millenium music and live, eat, breath everything Disney!
Patrick G. Allen
Director of Student Services
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Iowa; Master of Arts in Applied Psychology and Master of Science in Human Resources from Golden Gate University.
Started at Cal: I started my employment at UC Berkeley and the Department of Economics in 2006 as the Graduate Advisor for the Ph.D. program.
With over 20 years of experience working in higher education as an advisor and administrator, I enjoy working with students as they pursue their academic and career goals.

Graduate Office Address:

University of California, Berkeley
Economics Graduate Office
Department of Economics
530 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
Fax: (510) 642-6615