Ph.D. in Economics

The Ph.D. graduate degree program at Santa Barbara is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced study in economics and conducting original research in Economics. The Ph.D. degree is awarded in recognition of the recipient's qualifications as a general economist and of the ability to make scholarly contributions in one or more fields of specialization.

In being awarded the Ph.D. degree, students pass through three major stages:

  1. First year core courses and preliminary exams. Students in the first academic year (three quarters) enroll in and complete core economic theory courses in Econometrics, Microeconomics, and Macroeconomics. At the end of the first academic year (June) Ph.D. students take three preliminary examinations; Microeconomics, Econometrics, and Macroeconomics


  2. Second year field specialization. Students continuing into the second year take field specialization courses, completing two fields that are offered in the areas of: Econometrics, Environmental and Natural Resources, Experimental and Behavioral Economics, Labor Economics, Macroeconomic Theory and Policy, Microeconomic Theory, and Public Economics.


  3. Advancement to candidacy and completion of a dissertation normally takes three years. During these three years period students form a dissertation committee, discusses and presents a research proposal which is approved by the committee, completes an original dissertation, goes on the job market, files dissertation and graduates.

Completion of a dissertation after advancing to candidacy typically takes two to three years. The dissertation must be based on original research and represent a significant contribution to the body of economic knowledge.

The entire process takes approximately five to six years, although some students are able to complete the program in less time.

Graduate Program Advising

The Graduate Program Office, North Hall 2120, is open from 8:00am until noon and 1:00pm to 3:00pm, Monday through Friday. The departmental graduate advisor, Mark Patterson, is available for walk-in advising any time the office is open, or you can make an appointment to reserve a specific day and time.

You can also email your questions about the Ph.D. program, applications, admissions, requirements, courses, or other related subjects to

Graduate Program Office Contact Information

Phone: (805) 893-2205