Year-By-Year Overview

Below is a description of how students move through our doctoral program. We have defined our expectations, typical milestones, and need-to-know funding changes for every step of the way.

Summer Before First Semester

New Students

  • Working knowledge of the material in Parts I-III and the Appendix of Simon and Blume’s before coming to Duke.
  • Attend three-week Intensive Math Camp (ECON 700 Mathematics for Economists), which generally takes place four weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.
  • Attend the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) fall orientation.
  • Complete the Checklist for New Students.
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Year 1

Expectations

Fall 2016 Matriculants

  • Pass the six core courses with a 3.0 minimum GPA.
  • Pass at least two of the core courses with a B+ or higher.
  • It may be possible for students who do not meet the above requirements to be switched to the M.A. track.
  • Enroll in in ECON 704 (First-Year Research Workshop) each semester to bring the total number of first year course credits to 24. English proficiency courses required by the Graduate School for international students (see the Requirements page for details) do not fulfill this credit requirement, and must be taken in addition to the above courses.

Pre-Fall 2016 Matriculants

  • Pass the six core courses with a 3.0 minimum GPA.
  • Pass at least two of the core courses with a B+ or higher.
  • It may be possible for students who do not meet the above requirements to be switched to the M.A. track.
  • Enroll in two additional courses to bring the total number of first-year course credits to 27 (ECON 700 Mathematics for Economists and each of the six core courses already counting for 3 credits each). English proficiency courses required by The Graduate School for international students (see the Requirements page for details) do not fulfill this requirement. Students must enroll in ECON 704 First-Year Research Workshop each semester in order to complete this requirement.

Funding

For the majority of students, a fellowship is provided with no work obligation, though failing a class results in removal from the program with no future fellowship money. Students will begin search for Teaching Assistant (TA) positions at the end of the spring semester. 

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Summer 1

Expectations for Ph.D. Track

  • Pass qualifying exams.  These exams will take place during summer term I, near the beginning of June.
  • Enroll in at least two summer modules (ECON 890S) in summer term II.
  • Students who have not shown competency in all core courses by the end of the summer may be switched to the M.A. track.

Expectations for M.A. Track 

To finish the master's degree, students must enroll in enough summer modules (ECON 890's), to bring total credits up to 30. Assuming completion of all requirements, a master's degree is then obtained the summer after the first year.

Funding

Beginning with the 2013 matriculating class, the Graduate School and Trinity College will guarantee summer funding, in the form of a $5,500 summer research fellowship, to all students who otherwise would not have funding during their first summer.

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Year 2

Must be on the Ph.D. track to enroll in the second year.

Expectations

  • Take at least 4 modules in the fall and 4 modules in the spring. 
  • Choose a course plan that leads to a well-defined field.
  • Enroll in one ECON 801 Writing/Presenting in Economics module in both the fall and the spring, and begin developing a field/second-year paper. This paper should serve as the foundation of the third-year prospectus and is due the end of fall semester of the third year.
  • Identify and declare a field paper advisor by the last day of the fall semester final exam period.
  • Pass relevant field exams. 

Funding

Beginning with the 2014 matriculating class, second-year students are funded primarily as teaching assistants (TA).

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Summer 2

Expectations

  • Begin to form research agenda and start to identify the topic of your prospectus and members of your thesis committee.
  • Enroll in continuation credit, CTN 1, if receiving the Graduate School's guaranteed summer research fellowship.

Funding

The Graduate School and Trinity College will guarantee summer funding, in the form of a $5,500 summer research fellowship, to all students who otherwise would not have funding during their second summer. 

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Year 3

Expectations

  • Wrap up course work - you need to have completed a total of 10 field modules (Econ 880-889) by the end of this year.
  • Enroll in both a seminar/lunch group and a workshop in both semesters.
  • Enroll in Dissertation Research seminar fall semester.
  • Pass a field exam  — students who do not pass a field exam by the end of their third year are automatically switched to the M.A. track.
  • Form a 4-member supervisory committee, and submit a field/2nd year paper by the last day of fall semester classes.
  • Pass preliminary exam — also called the prospectus defense — by the end of the spring semester (and at least two months after forming the supervisory committee). 

Funding

Students are funded either as a TA, GA or RAs. TA rates will vary, but are typically slightly higher than RA/GA positions.

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Summer 3

Expectations

  • Work on dissertation.
  • Finish RCR requirements (6 hours) for a total of 12 hours.
  • Enroll in continuation credit, CTN 1, if funded through the Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship or Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship.

Funding

Students are eligible for Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowships provided that they have successfully passed both field exam and prospectus and applied for (and did not receive) the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship. Alternatively, students may teach in the summer.

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Year 4

Expectations

  • Enroll in both a lunch group and a workshop in both semesters.
  • Work on dissertation.
  • If prospectus was not passed in the third year, must pass by the end of the fall semester to avoid being switched to the M.A. track.
  • Turn in a draft of your Preliminary Job Market Paper to your advisor and the DGS by the end of the fall semester.
  • Present your Preliminary Job Market Paper early in the spring semester at a workshop or lunchgroup.
  • After your presentation, meet with your advisor to formulate/evaluate your academic and career plans.
  • If your academic/career plan involves staying for a sixth year, your advisor must obtain DGS permission for you to do so by the end of the spring semester.
  • Complete draft Job Market CV and personal website by June 1. If you will be going on the job market in your fifth year, you must also secure three reference letter writers by June 1. 

Funding

Students are funded either as a TA, GA or RAs. TA rates will vary, but are typically slightly higher than RA/GA positions.

 

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Summer 4

Expectations

  • Dependent upon job market readiness, either complete job market paper or work on preliminary job market paper. 
  • Enroll in continuation credit, CTN 1, if funded through the Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship or Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship.

Funding

Eligible for Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship provided student applied for (and did not receive) the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship and passed preliminary job market presentation. Alternatively, may teach in the summer.

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Year 5

Expectations

  • Enroll in both a lunch group and a workshop in both semesters.
  • If advisor feels you are ready, go on the job market and finish dissertation.
  • If your advisor feels you are NOT ready:
    • Turn in a draft of your preliminary Job Market Paper to your advisor and the DGS by the end of the fall semester.
    • Present your preliminary Job Market Paper early in the spring semester at a workshop or lunchgroup.
    • After your presentation, meet with your advisor to formulate/evaluate your academic and career plans.
    • If your academic/career plan involves staying for a seventh year, please inform both the DGS, and the Graduate Program Coordinator. Note that departmental funding is not provided beyond the sixth year.
    • Update draft Job Market CV and Job Market website, and secure three reference letter writers by June 1.  

Funding

Students are funded either as a TA, GA or RAs. TA rates will vary, but are typically slightly higher than RA/GA positions.

No summer departmental funding is provided after the spring of the fifth year. However, there may be opportunities to teach a summer course or work as an RA for someone with an outside grant.

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Year 6

Expectations 

  • Enroll in both a lunch group and a workshop in both semesters.
  • Finish dissertation.
  • Go on the job market.

Funding

Students are funded either as a TA, GA or RAs. There also may be opportunities to teach a summer course or work as an RA for someone with an outside grant.

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