In advancing to the Ph.D. degree, a student passes 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, in methods of economic history and in 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 years, although some students are able to complete the program in less time.