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. Additionally, the Economics Ph.D. program is residential, there is no remote enrollment option. 

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 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!

Janene C. Vernard
Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History and Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley.
Started at Cal: As an undergraduate student, originally from the LA county area, and started as a staff member in 2007 as a Graduate Advisor in the College of Engineering, then in the School of Public Health. My career in student services spans over 10 years, I truly enjoy being a guiding light to students as they navigate the campus and their graduate degree. I am always happy to help, Go Bears!
Isabel Burle
Assistant Director of Course Management
Graduate Advisor
Blair Van Tassel 
Curriculum and Enrollment Coordinator
Graduate Advisor, GESEP Coord.
Education: BA in Linguistics and Southeast Asian Studies from UC Berkeley, MA in International Education from NYU
Started at Cal: as an Undergrad student and left for Manhattan shortly afterward. I missed Berkeley so much I came back to work as an International Student Advisor with the International Office for 2 years before joining the Economics dept.
Michelle X. Fong
Director of Student Services
Education: Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology - Organizational Studies from UC Davis.
Started at Cal: I started my employment at UC Berkeley in January 2017 as the Scheduling Coordinator in History, and I joined Department of Economics in 2018 as the Undergraduate Advisor/Scheduler. From 2019 to 2021, I moved to a new role (still with Econ) as the assitant director of course management and graduate advisor, and oversaw the course logistics and ASE hiring/training. Prior to Berkeley, I worked nine years at the School of Medicine UCSF as the curriculum analyst. Now as the director of student services (still with Econ), I'm excited to work with the student services community even closer. With over 15 years of experience working in higher education, my goal is to provide high quality service to students to help them achieve their academic, professional, and personal 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