In June, following completion of the first year of the program, all students will be required to take three qualifying exams – one each in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. These exams are intended to test how well students have integrated and internalized the material covered in the first-year courses.
The qualifying exams will be scored, and a committee of faculty will then review each student’s course grades and qualifying exam scores to determine whether s/he has exhibited competency in the first-year material. Students with good course grades typically also do well on qualifying exams — nevertheless, a good course grade may substitute for mediocre performance on a qualifying exam and vice versa. The goal of the qualifying exams is to encourage students to integrate the material covered in the first year of the program and thereby to emerge with a well-rounded foundation in the three sub-disciplines of economics.
It is expected that the vast majority of first-year students will be judged competent to continue in the doctoral program. A student whose course grades and qualifying exam scores do not exhibit competency will be switched to the M.A. track and typically will graduate with a master’s degree at the end of August.