Graduate Program Rules

Appeals Procedure

  1. The Canonical Program
  2. Enforcement, Exceptions, and Rules
  3. Summary of Minimum Requirements
  4. Transition Issues

I. The Canonical Program

The requirements for the program are:

  • Eight core courses: Mathematical Tools (ECON 204), economic history (ECON 210A), and two courses in each of microeconomic theory (ECON 201A and 201B), macroeconomics (ECON 202A and 202B), and econometrics (ECON 240A and 240B).
  • Written exams in two fields
  • Oral exam (known technically by Graduate Division as the "Qualifying Exam").
  • Dissertation
  1. The Department mails students who accept our admissions offers a packet containing a description of the mathematics they are expected to know when they arrive, a screening test, and guidance about how to remedy any deficiencies (through self-study or summer courses).
  2. Economics 204 (mathematical tools) begins before the start of fall semester classes, with roughly one and a half hours of lecture and one hour of section per day, five days per week.
  3. The usual load for first-year students is four courses each semester. The standard first year program is:

          FALL                                                              SPRING

  • Econ 201A
  • Econ 202A
  • Econ 204*
  • Econ 240A
  • Econ 295 Survey Seminar
  • Econ 201B
  • Econ 202B
  • Econ 210A
  • Econ 240B

 

 

 

 

*Because Econ 204 begins before regular classes, it meets for only about half of the fall semester.

  1. The usual load for second-year students is four courses a semester for students who are not working, three courses for students who are. (Thus, the typical student takes more than the bare minimum of courses needed to satisfy the core requirements and take field exams.)
  2. Except as described below (see Item II.1.d), "courses" in the items above means graduate courses in economics.
  3. Students normally take both field exams in the summer after their second year.
  4. Students are matched with preliminary dissertation advisers at the beginning of their third year. The assignments are easily changeable.
  5. Once a semester, students in the third year and beyond complete and sign a brief form describing their research activities over the past semester. The adviser annotates the form if he or she wishes to, signs it, and gives it to the Graduate Student Affairs Officer, who gives a copy to the Graduate Chair and puts another copy in the student's file (thus, the student has access to the form).
  6. Students take the oral exam by the middle of their fourth year, and file their dissertation by the end of their fifth year.

II. Enforcement, Exceptions, and Rules

The departures the Chair of the Graduate Committee can permit are:

  1. A limited number of types of departures from the usual program can be authorized by the Chair of the Graduate Committee. No further departures are permitted. (Of course, the faculty cannot tie its future hands. Thus, there is the fallback mechanism of the faculty voting to change a rule, or to make an exception to a rule in a particular case.) All departures must be approved by the Graduate Chair in writing, and a copy of the approval must be given to the Graduate Student Affairs Officer for placement in the student's file. It is the student's responsibility to obtain the written permission and to make sure that the Graduate Student Affairs Officer has a copy.
    1. First-year students can be permitted to postpone macroeconomics (202A) to the fall of the second year. The macroeconomics sequence is structured so that 202A and 202B can be taken in either order. Students who postpone 202A will be placed on probation in the fall of their second year and, as described below, will be subject to dismissal if they do not pass the course that semester.
    2. First-year students can be permitted to postpone one of macroeconomics and history (202B and 210A) to the spring of the second year. Again, students who postpone one of these courses will be placed on probation in the spring of their second year and will be subject to dismissal if they do not pass the course that semester.
    3. Second-year students who are not working at least 25% time during the semester for the University as a graduate student employee can be permitted to take only three courses in a semester. (As described above, students who are working do not need permission to take only three courses.)
    4. All courses taken outside the Economics Department require the approval of the Chair of the Graduate Committee Graduate to count toward requirements about numbers of courses taken. The Chair of the Graduate Committee can designate some non-economics courses as automatically counting as economics courses. (Thus, he or she does not need to specifically approve those courses each time a student takes one of them.)
    5. Students can be permitted to postpone their second field exam to the middle of their third year. In addition, students who are taking the finance field at the Haas School can be permitted to postpone their second field exam to the summer after their third year. Students who do not take their second field exam by the middle of their third year will be placed on probation in the spring of their third year and will be subject to dismissal if they do not satisfy the field exam requirement by the end of the summer following their third year.
    6. If a student takes a particular field exam, and does poorly, the student cannot switch fields and take a different field exam. Students are allowed two attempts per field exam. If a student fails the first attempt of one or both field exam, the student will be placed on probation. A student can and should retake the field in the middle of the third year. If a student does not pass both fields after two attempts, they will be subject to dismissal.
    7. The condition for satisfying the field-exam requirement is two grades of "pass" or better.
    8. Students can be permitted to postpone their oral exam to as late as the middle of their fourth year. (However, students who have not taken the oral exam by the beginning of their fourth year will be placed on probation, and will be subject to dismissal if they do not take the oral exam by the middle of the year.)
    9. Students who have passed their oral exam are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate Council, not the Economics Department. Thus, the potential sanctions the Department has over students who have passed their oral exam but do not file their dissertations by the end of the fifth year are primarily financial: the Department can decline to give them financial support, nominate them for fellowships, hire them as Graduate Student Instructors, and so on. Specifically, students in their sixth year who have passed their orals can be provided with financial support or given teaching and research appointments only if the Chair of the Graduate Committee approves (and other University rules are satisfied); students beyond the sixth year cannot be.
    10. Students can be permitted additional time to satisfy Economics department requirements because of delays necessitated by their concurrent pursuit of another degree. For example, the deadlines for the completion of requirements after the core courses can be delayed by one semester.
    11. The Chair of the Graduate Committee can also authorize departures from the usual program in accordance with University policies (such as ones concerning medical problems, childbearing, and so on) 
  2. For students who fall behind the schedule envisioned for the typical student as a result of either failures or the granting of exceptions, there is a no-more-than-one-year-behind rule. That is, a student who fails to pass 201A, 202A, 204, and 240A by the middle of the second year, to pass 201B, 202B, 210A, and 240B by the end of the second year (where "pass" means attaining a grade of B- or better), to satisfy the field exam requirement by the end of the summer after the third year, or to pass the oral exam by the middle of the fourth year will be subject to dismissal from the program. Students whose progress is delayed for reasons covered by University policies are governed by the no-more-than-one-year-behind rule only to the extent that it does not conflict with those policies.
  3. Students who do not receive at least a B- in (or waive out of) at least five core courses in the first year will also be subject to dismissal.
  4. Students can also be placed on probation and eventually dismissed for failing to satisfy Graduate Division rules, such as those concerning minimum GPA's.
  5. There will be a meeting of the full faculty once a semester to discuss students' progress. Students will be notified of any deficiencies in their records that are identified at these meetings.
  6. A clear statement of these rules, as well as policies concerning the oral exam, will be circulated on a regular basis to faculty and students.
  7. In all situations that have the potential to lead to dismissal, the Department will follow the procedures outlined in the Graduate Advisor's Handbook.

III. Summary of Minimum Requirements

To make it clear what the minimum standards are, what follows is a summary of what students must do even if the Chair of the Graduate Committee grants all exceptions within his or her authority. The minimum requirements have two parts, one about what is attempted and one about what is completed. The only cases where these minima may not apply are where the student is pursuing another degree concurrently or where additional time is warranted by University policies (see items II.1.i and II.1.j above).

  1. What Is Attempted
    1. First semester: 201A, 204, and 240A. Waivers and substitutions approved by the course instructors are acceptable, but students must still take at least 3 courses.
    2. Second semester: 201B and 240B, and one of 202B and 210A. The second course in a sequence must be attempted even if the first was failed in the fall or (in the case of 202) not taken. The rules for waivers and substitutions are the same as for the first semester.
    3. Year 2: 3 courses per semester.
    4. Summer after Year 2: One written field exam.
    5. Middle of Year 3: Second written field exam (unless the student is taking the finance field, in which case the second written field exam must be attempted by the summer after Year 3).
  2. What Is Passed
    1. End of Year 1: 5 of the 8 core courses passed (or waived out of).
    2. End of Year 2: All 8 core courses passed (or waived out of).
    3. Summer after Year 3: Field-exam requirement satisfied (with at least a grade of "Pass" or better on both exams).
    4. End of Year 4: Oral exam passed.
    5. End of Year 6: Dissertation filed (but see item II.1.h above for the consequences of failing to file the dissertation by the end of Year 6).

IV. Transition Issues

  1. All these rules and procedures apply fully to students entering in Fall 2002 and later.
  2. Students who first enrolled in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001 are subject to these requirements, but with all deadlines delayed by a semester. Thus, for example, the norm is that they complete their field-exam requirement by the middle of their third year and their oral exam by the middle of their fifth year; the Chair of the Graduate Committee can permit a student to postpone one field exam to the summer after the third year, and the oral exam to the end of the fifth year; and so on. For these students only, the Chair of the Graduate Committee can make additional exceptions that are appropriate in light of slow progress through the program prior to the adoption of the reforms.
  3. Students who entered in 1997 or before are handled independently of the rules described here. However, the basic principles of that students must make good progress, and that deadlines will be given and enforced, still apply.