Field Exam

Fields Certification Requirement

The fields certification requirements ensures both depth and breadth in academic study. All doctoral students must certify in one major field and one minor field by the end of the third year of graduate study.

  • Major Field Requirement: 6 credits (four modules OR two courses) in the field, field paper, and a written or oral field exam
  • Minor Field Requirement: 6 credits (four modules OR two courses) in the field


Students select from the following economic fields:

  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Econometrics
  • History of Political Economy
  • Macroeconomics and International Economics
  • Microeconomic Theory

Eligibility to Certify

A student who does not meet the relevant grade requirements will not be permitted to take a field exam for major certification.

Preparation for Exams

  • Students can access field reading lists in preparation for the field exams. Reading lists will be updated by October 1st of each Academic Year for that year's field exam.
  • Field Exam information (date, location, exam type) will be posted by March 15. 
  • Students must indicate which field exam they will be taking by March 30. 

Continuation Implications

A student who has not met the certification requirements in one major field and one minor field will not be permitted to defend their dissertation prospectus unless written authorization is obtained from the director of graduate studies. If a student fails a field exam, then a review committee will decide whether the student will be allowed to demonstrate grasp of the material in an alternate way (such as a re-test, an additional paper, etc.), or whether the student will be dismissed from the PhD program and switched to the M.A. Economics track. Any committee-approved alternate satisfaction of the field exam requirement must be complete by September 1 of the student's third year.