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.

New Students

  • Have a working knowledge of the material in Parts I-III and the Appendix of Simon and Blume’s Mathematics for Economists before coming to Duke.
  • Attend three-week intensive Math Camp, which typically takes place four weeks before the beginning of the fall semester. Dates for 2022 are August 1 - August 19.
  • Complete the Checklist for New Students. This includes attending graduate student orientation events and the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) fall training.

Expectations

  • Pass the six core courses (ECON 701, 702, and 703 in the fall semester, and ECON 705, 706, and 707 in the spring semester) with a 3.0 minimum GPA, and at least two of them with a B+ or higher. Students who do not meet the above requirements may be switched to the M.A. track, and, subject to departmental and Graduate School approval, an M.A. degree may be awarded following completion of all Master's degree requirements.
  • Enroll in ECON 704 (First-Year Research Workshop) in the fall and spring semesters.
  • Complete at least one RCR forum.
  • International students whose first language is not English must take English for International Students courses required by the Graduate School (see the Requirements page for details). Note that these must be taken in addition to the above courses.
  • Attend all Field Days.

Funding

  • For the majority of students, a fellowship is provided with no work obligation.
  • At the end of the spring semester, students will begin the search for Teaching Assistant (TA) positions for their second academic year (fall and spring semesters). 

Expectations for Ph.D. Track

  • Summer Term I: Pass all three qualifying exams (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics). These exams will take place in late May and early June. Students who do not pass these exams may be eligible to switch to the M.A. track, subject to departmental and Graduate School approval.
  • Summer Term II: Enroll in at least two summer modules (ECON 890S).

Expectations for M.A. Track 

Students who do not meet the first-year Ph.D. program requirements may be switched to the M.A. track, and, subject to departmental and Graduate School approval, an M.A. degree may be awarded following completion of all Master's degree requirements.

Funding

Summer funding is provided only for those Ph.D. students who successfully complete the first academic year. Students who have been switched to the M.A. track are responsible for paying their own tuition and fees, and will not receive a summer stipend. 

The Graduate School and Trinity College provide summer funding, in the form of a Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF), to all students who have no alternate form of funding during Summer 1. While the funding is guaranteed, students must apply for the GSSRF in order to receive the award.

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

Expectations

  • Take at least 6 field-course credits in the fall and 6 field-course credits in the spring (Econ 881-885).
  • Choose a course plan that leads to a well-defined field of specialization.
  • Identify and declare a field-paper advisor by the last day of the fall semester final exam period.
  • Enroll in Writing/Presenting in Economics (Econ 801) for the spring semester, and begin developing a field paper.
  • Continue required RCR training.  
  • Pass relevant field exams.  Students who do not pass these exams may be switched to the M.A. track, and, subject to departmental and Graduate School approval, an M.A. degree may be awarded following completion of all Master's degree requirements.
  • International students whose first language is not English must have completed the required English for International Students courses by the end of the spring semester. (See the Requirements page for details.)

Funding

Second-year students are funded primarily as Teaching Assistants (TAs).

Expectations

  • Begin to form research agenda, to identify the topic of your prospectus defense, and to select the members of your supervisory committee.
  • Enroll in continuation credit (CTN 1) if receiving the Graduate School's guaranteed Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF).

Funding

Summer funding is provided only to those Ph.D. students who successfully complete the second academic year. Students who have been switched to the M.A. track are responsible for paying their own tuition and fees, and will not receive a summer stipend.

The Graduate School and Trinity College provide summer funding, in the form of a Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF), to all students who have no alternate form of funding during Summer 2. While the funding is guaranteed, students must apply for the GSSRF in order to receive the award.

Students must be on the Ph.D. track to enroll in the third year.

Expectations

  • Complete course work. Students need to have completed a total of 15 field-course credits (Econ 881-885) by the end of this year.
  • Enroll in a workshop and a research seminar (lunch group) in both the fall and the spring semesters.
  • Enroll in Writing/Presenting in Economics (ECON 801) in the fall semester.
  • Continue working on the field paper. This paper could serve as the foundation of the prospectus defense.
  • Submit a field paper by the last day of fall semester.
  • Form a 4-member supervisory committee at least two months before the date of the prospectus defense.
  • Pass the prospectus defense by the end of the spring semester. Students who do not successfully defend may be switched to the M.A. track, and, subject to departmental and Graduate School approval, an M.A. degree may be awarded following completion of all Master's degree requirements.

Funding

Students are funded as TAs (teaching assistants), GAs (graduate assistants), or RAs (research assistants).

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 Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF) or Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship

Funding

Summer funding is provided only for those Ph.D. students who successfully complete their third academic year. Students who have been switched to the M.A. track are responsible for paying their own tuition and fees, and will not receive a summer stipend. 

Students are funded by teaching summer courses or by receiving one of two fellowships: the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF) or the Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship.

  • All students who are not teaching must apply for the GSSRF. Students who do not apply are not eligible to receive other funding from the department.
  • Students who do not receive the GSSRF must apply for Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship.

Students must be on the Ph.D. track to enroll in the fourth year.

Years four and up are focused on finishing the job market paper, preparing for and entering the job market, and completing and defending the dissertation.

Expectations

  • Enroll in a workshop and a research seminar (lunch group) in both the fall and the spring semesters.
  • Work on job market paper and dissertation.
  • Turn in a draft of your job market paper to your advisor and the DGS by the end of the fall semester.
  • Present the draft of your job market paper in the spring semester at a workshop or research seminar (lunch group). After the presentation, meet with your advisor to formulate/evaluate your academic and career plans.
  • If you plan to go on the Job Market in your next year, then by June 1 you must:
    • Complete draft Job Market CV,
    • Create a personal website,
    • Secure three reference letter writers. 
  • If you don’t plan to go on the job market in your next year, your advisor must obtain DGS permission by the end of the spring semester.

Funding

Students are funded as TAs (teaching assistants), GAs (graduate assistants), or RAs (research assistants).

Expectations

  • Work on job market paper and on dissertation.
  • Enroll in continuation credit (CTN 1) if funded through the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF) or Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship.

Funding

Students are funded by teaching summer courses or by receiving one of two fellowships: the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF) or the Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship.

  • All students who are not teaching must apply for the GSSRF. Students who do not apply are not eligible to receive other funding from the department.
  • Students who do not receive the GSSRF must apply for Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship.

Expectations

  • Enroll in a workshop and a research seminar (lunch group) in both the fall and the spring semesters.
  • Discuss with your advisor whether you are going to go on the job market.
  • If you are going on the job market this year:
    • Finish job market paper early in the fall semester,
    • Present your job market paper early in the fall semester,
    • Go on the job market.
    • After the job market, complete and defend dissertation.
  • If you are not going on the job market this year:  
    • Turn in an updated draft of your job market paper to your advisor and the DGS by the end of the fall semester.
    • Present the draft of your job market paper in the spring semester at a workshop or research seminar (lunch group).
    • After your presentation, meet with your advisor to formulate/evaluate your academic and career plans.
  • If you plan to go on the Job Market in your next year, then by June 1 you must:
    • Update Job Market CV,
    • Update personal website,
    • Secure three reference letter writers.
  • If you don’t plan to go on the job market in your next year, your advisor must obtain DGS permission by the end of the spring semester. Note that departmental funding is not provided beyond the sixth year.

Academic Year Funding

Students are funded as TAs (teaching assistants), GAs (graduate assistants), or RAs (research assistants).

Summer Funding

Students who wish to be eligible for Duke-sponsored funding must apply for the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF), and should also: seek experiential opportunities such as teaching a summer course, working as an RA or GA, working in an internal or external internship; or apply for other internal or external funding (for example, through The Graduate School's Find Funding page). Other funding may be available from Trinity Arts & Sciences for those who meet certain conditions. Additional details are available on the Economics Department 12-Month Funding for Ph.D. Students policy.

Expectations 

  • Enroll in a workshop and a research seminar (lunch group) in both the fall and the spring semesters.
  • Discuss with your advisor whether you are going on the job market.
  • If you are going on the job market:
    • Finish job market paper early in the fall semester,
    • Present your job market paper early in the fall semester,
    • Go on the job market.
    • After the job market, complete and defend dissertation.
  • If you are not going on the job market: 
    • Your advisor must obtain DGS permission by the end of the fall semester.
    • Turn in an updated draft of your job market paper to your advisor and the DGS by the end of the fall semester.
    • Present the draft of your job market paper in the spring semester at a workshop or research seminar (lunch group).
    • After your presentation, meet with your advisor to formulate/evaluate your academic and career plans.
    • Note that departmental funding is not provided beyond the sixth year.

Academic Year Funding

Students are funded as TAs (teaching assistants), GAs (graduate assistants), or RAs (research assistants).

Summer Funding

Students may apply for the Graduate School Summer Research Fellowship (GSSRF). However the Departmental Summer Dissertation Fellowship is not available after the fourth year. Students may also seek experiential opportunities such as teaching a summer course, working as an RA or as a GA, or working in an internal or external internship; or may apply for other internal and external funding through The Graduate School's Find Funding page.