Graduate Programs

The Department of Economics at the University of Oregon offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Excellence in teaching and research and a spirit of shared learning are characteristic of graduate study in economics at the University of Oregon.

Graduate Fields

  • Applied Econometrics
  • Economics Growth and Development
  • Environmental Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • Game Theory
  • Industrial Organization
  • International Economics
  • Labor Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Public Economics

Faculty and Research Interests
Currently Offered Courses

PH.D. Program

A Ph.D. in economics prepares students to teach at liberal arts and research universities, to work in state, federal, and international organizations, and to conduct research or work as a consultant for private industry. The program, with its low student/faculty ratio, is structured to develop high quality research and teaching skills as well as facilitate successful and timely completion of the degree. Sequences in micro theory, macro theory, and econometrics are offered in the first year, followed by qualifying examinations (micro and macro) in the summer. Coursework in the student’s chosen fields of specialization is completed in the second or early in the third year. The research components of the degree include a field specific research paper, completed in the third year, and a dissertation, typically completed in either the fourth or fifth year.

Detailed program information and a sample program of study is available here.

Master’s Program

The Master’s program prepares students for a wide range of consulting and applied research positions in private industry and government and teaching positions in two-year and other colleges for which a Ph.D. is not required. Professionals involved in policy-related fields often benefit greatly from master’s level training in economics. The Master’s degree also offers outstanding training for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D., but who are not quite prepared for a Ph.D. program. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available and are generally completed in less than two years.

Detailed program information and a sample program of study is available here.

Student Placement

The job market for the department’s PhD graduates is strong. Placements over the last ten years include:

  • Analysis Group, Inc.
  • Bentley University
  • Bonneville Power
    Administration
  • Colgate University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Ernst & Young
  • Fairfield University
  • Federal Reserve Board
    of Governors
  • Freddie Mac
  • Gonzaga University
  • IFO Institute
  • Illinois State University
  • Import/Export Bank of U.S.
  • Indiana University South Bend
  • Marquette University
  • Montana State University
  • North Carolina State
    University
  • Northeastern University
  • Oregon State University
  • Sonoma State University
  • St. Joseph’s University
  • Stephen F Austin State
    University
  • Trinity College
  • University College Dublin
  • University of California at Irvine
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Montana
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of St. Thomas
  • University of Wyoming
  • Ursinus College
  • USDA
  • Victoria University of Wellington
    School of Economics & Finance
  • …and many more

Most students with Master’s degrees have taken research and consulting positions in the private sector or with local, state, federal, or foreign governments.

Local Environment and Activities

Eugene has a metropolitan population of about 200,000 and is located 110 miles south of Portland; cost of living is relatively modest. The Pacific Ocean is about 60 miles to the west and the Cascade Mountains are about 60 miles to the east. Eugene‘s temperate climate has pleasantly warm, sunny summers and mild winters; seldom snowing, except in the mountains. The locale is ideal for outdoor activities such as fishing, white-water rafting, skiing, biking, and rock-climbing. Indoor athletics can be enjoyed in the UO’s new $18.4 million, 128,000 square-foot Student Recreation and Fitness Center. For those who enjoy spectator sports, the UO belongs to the PAC-12 athletic conference. The UO School of MusicUniversity Theatre, and Cultural Forum offer performances, films, and lectures on campus. Eugene offers the cultural benefits of a large city with the friendly feel of a small town throughout its many excellent bookstores, restaurants, coffee shops, and concert venues. Eugene’s Hult Center for the Performing Arts offers nationally known talent ranging from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to rock bands, and regular seasons of theater, opera, and ballet.

Doctor of Philosophy

Every graduate student seeking the Ph.D. degree in economics at the University of Oregon shall complete the following departmental requirements in addition to university and graduate school requirements:

  1. First-Year CORE program:
    • The recommended program of study includes three terms each of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and econometrics. Students completing these nine courses with a GPA of 2.9 or higher will be invited to take the qualifying examination offered early summer in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. Files of students with below a 2.9 GPA will be examined to determine if such an invitation is warranted. Students who fail the qualifying examination may be invited to retake the examination the following September.
    • All students who pass the qualifying examination but have an econometrics GPA below 3.0 must take a competency exam in econometrics, to be administered the Thursday prior to the first week of fall classes. Students who fail the competency exam must successfully retake (earning a grade of B or better) each econometrics course in which they received a grade lower than a B.
    • Students shall file an approved program of study by December 15 following their qualifying examination.
  2. Field requirements:
    • Field courses: Students must complete an approved two-quarter sequence of courses in each of two fields with a 3.00 grade point average or better. Credit for EC 601, 603, 605, or 609 cannot be counted toward the field requirement.
    • Field research paper: Students must complete a research paper in one of their two approved fields and a minimum of 6 credits of EC 601 (research). The paper must be approved by two members of the faculty who specialize in that field, and be completed by winter term of the third year.
  3. Breadth requirements:
    • Students must complete at least five elective 600-level quarter courses in economics in addition to their field course requirements with a 3.00 grade point average or better. Credit for EC 601, 603, 605, or 609 cannot be counted toward the breadth requirement. Additional complementary courses in other disciplines are strongly recommended.
  4. Dissertation requirements:
    • Prospectus: A prospectus for a dissertation and a minimum of 6 credits of EC 601 (research) is required for advancement to candidacy. There shall be an oral defense of the prospectus before the economics faculty prior to its formal approval by the candidate’s dissertation committee. The prospectus should be accepted by the end of the third year for students planning to complete the doctoral program in four years. Upon completion of the first-year CORE program, field and breadth requirements, and acceptance of the prospectus, students may request advancement to candidacy from the Graduate School. Students must be enrolled for at least 3 credits during the term of their advancement.
    • Dissertation: Candidates must complete a dissertation and a minimum of 18 credits of EC 603 (dissertation). The dissertation must constitute a significant contribution to the field, as judged by the candidate’s committee. A formal, public defense must take place on campus at a date set by the committee chair and approved by the graduate school.
  5. Substitutions and Waivers:
    • Substitutions of alternative courses or courses taken elsewhere require the joint approval of the Ph.D. program committee and the department head. Any other waivers or exceptions to departmental requirements for the degree require the approval of the department faculty. In no instance shall the qualifying examination be waived.
  6. Grading:
    • All courses taken to satisfy the Ph.D. degree requirements must be taken for a grade (except EC 601, 602, 603, and 609), with at least a 3.00 overall grade point average.
  7. Time limit:
    • The seven-year time limit for completing a doctoral degree begins with the first term of admission as a conditional or regular doctoral student at the University of Oregon. The required year of residency spent on the Eugene campus, the passing of the comprehensive examinations required for advancement to candidacy, and the completion of the doctoral dissertation must all be accomplished within this seven-year period.

Sample Four-Year PH.D. Degree Program

Fall Winter Spring
1st Year
(Core Courses)
Core Microeconomics
Core Macroeconomics
EC 523 Econometrics
Core Microeconomics
Core Macroeconomics
EC 524 Econometrics
Core Microeconomics
Core Macroeconomics
EC 525 Econometrics
2nd Year Elective course
Field 1 requirement
Field 2 requirement
Elective course
Field 1 requirement
Field 2 requirement
Elective course
Elective Course
Elective Course
3rd Year Field Paper: EC 601
(6 credits, min.)
Prospectus: EC 601
(6 credits, min.)
Open Credits*
4th Year Dissertation: EC 603 Dissertation: EC 603 Dissertation: EC 603

*The open credits in the spring term of the third year provide an opportunity to complete the field paper or prospectus, to take additional courses inside or outside the Economics Department, or to begin work on the dissertation.

The doctorate in economics at the University of Oregon is designed as a four-year program for full-time students, but there is a large variance in actual completion periods. Students in the doctoral program may, on application, be awarded a master’s degree upon completion of the Masters program requirements and approval from the Masters adviser.

Master’s Degree

The Master’s degree program requirements include the following departmental requirements in addition to any University and Graduate School requirements for the Master of Arts (M.A.) or the Master of Science (M.S.) degree. There are two options for obtaining a masters degree, by coursework or by research.

  1. Course requirements
    • Three quarters of econometrics EC 523, 524, and 525 or equivalent to be completed by the end of first full academic year. You are required to achieve an average grade of B- or above for these courses. If not, course or courses with grades below B- are required to be retaken the following year.
    • Two quarters of economic theory, EC 511 and EC 513, to be completed by the end of the first full academic year. You are required to achieve an average grade of B- or above for these courses. If not, course or courses with grades below B- are required to be retaken the following year.
    • Elective Coursework: Prior approval of 600 level courses must be received from the masters adviser. (Ec 503, 508, 601, 605, 609, and Ec 607 Ph.D. micro and macro CORE courses do not count toward the Master’s Degree coursework requirement.)
      • Coursework Option (C): Seven elective graduate field courses in economics, at least four of which must be taken at the 600 level and must include Ec 607 Econometrics I and/or Ec 607 Econometrics II.
      • Research Option (R): Five elective graduate field courses in economics, at least two of which must be at the 600 level.
    • Minimum Credit Requirement for Graduation:
      • Coursework Option (C): A minimum of 48 graduate credit hours, all of which must be in economics.
      • Research Option (R): A minimum of 45 graduate credit hours (for the research paper track) or a minimum of 51 graduate credit hours (for the thesis paper track), all of which must be in economics. No more than 5 credits in EC 601 may be applied to the 45-credit minimum and no more than 9 credits in EC 503 may be applied to the 51-credit minimum.
  2. Research Prospectus requirements for those opting for the Research Option (R)
    • A prospectus for the thesis or research paper, for a minimum of 2 credits of EC 601 (research), must be approved by the candidate’s committee prior to the term in which the thesis-research paper is approved. In addition to the 2 credits for the prospectus, a minimum of 3 credits of EC 601 is required for the research paper or 9 credits of EC 503 for the thesis.
  3. Thesis-Research Paper requirements for those opting for the Research Option (R)
    • Master’s degree candidates must complete either a thesis or a research paper approved by two department members on a topic from an area of economics in which a 600-level field course has been taken. The master’s thesis or research paper should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to perform economic research. The project normally involves the formulation of a theoretical model and its statistical testing. The typical length is forty to eighty pages. The difference between a thesis and research paper is that a thesis is submitted to the Graduate School for approval and is published. A research paper is bound and filed in the Economics Department. Students should obtain the guidelines for dissertations and theses at the Graduate School’s websitehttp://gradschool.uoregon.edu prior to beginning the project.
  4. Grading, Grade Point Average (GPA), and Enrollment
    • All courses taken to satisfy the master’s degree requirements must be taken for a letter grade (excluding EC 601 research and EC 503 Thesis of Research Option (R)). Economic Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.00 GPA in graduate courses taken in the degree program, and may not graduate with less than a 3.00 GPA. Grades of D+ or lower for graduate courses are not accepted for graduate credit but are computed in the GPA. Similarly, the grade of N (no pass) is not accepted for graduate credit. A grade of P (pass) must be equal to or better than a B-. A GPA below 3.00 at any time during a graduate student’s studies or the accumulation of more than 5 credits of N or F grades — regardless of GPA — is considered unsatisfactory and may lead to termination from the program. Ph.D. students who decide to transfer to the Masters degree program and have completed 607 Core courses may count those credits toward the theory and elective coursework requirements of the Masters degree program; however, additional courses must be taken if the GPA is below 3.00.
    • Unless on-leave status has been approved, a student enrolled in an advanced-degree or graduate-certificate program must attend the university continuously until all program requirements have been completed. The student must register for 3 graduate credits each term, excluding summer sessions, to be continuously enrolled. A minimum of 30 credits toward the master’s degree must be taken in residence over a period of at least two terms. In addition, at least 9 credits in courses numbered 600-699 must be taken in residence.
    • For other University or Graduate School requirements, consult the Graduate School section of the University of Oregon bulletin.
  5. Substitutions and waivers
    • Substitutions of alternative courses or courses taken elsewhere require the joint approval of the master’s program committee and the department head before they can be counted toward the credit minimum. Any other waivers or exceptions to departmental requirements require the approval of the Economics Department faculty.
  6. Distinction between M.A. and M.S. Degrees
    • Students pursuing an M.A. degree must demonstrate competence in one foreign (nonnative) language by successful completion of two years of college credit in that language or the equivalent fluency (consult the UO General Bulletin for more details).
  7. Time Limit
    • The Masters degree usually requires five to six terms of full-time work. A few well-qualified students have completed requirements for the degree in four terms, including two terms spent completing the prospectus and research paper or thesis if the Research Option (R) is selected.
    • Coursework Option (C): All masters degree requirements for the coursework track option must be completed within a three-year period.
    • Research Option (R): All master’s degree requirements must be completed within a five-year period.

SAMPLE TWO-YEAR MASTER’S DEGREE PROGRAM
Including the Coursework Option (C) and the Research Paper Option (R)

Fall Winter Spring
1st Year EC 511 Adv. Micro Theory
EC 523 Econometrics
500-level elective
EC 513 Adv. Macro Theory
EC 524 Econometrics
500-level elective
500-level elective
EC 525 Econometrics
600-level elective
2nd Year 600-level elective
600-level elective (C)
EC 601 Research (R)
EC 607 Econometrics I/II (C)
EC 601 Research or EC 503
Thesis (R)