Ph.D. and Master of Arts in Economics – West Virginia University


The College offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree with specializations in financial economics, international economics, monetary economics, public economics, regional and urban economics, and resource economics. Our program is built around an applied curriculum with a strong theoretical and quantitative foundation. We involve our students in research projects early, so that by the time they complete the Ph.D. many have one or more research articles accepted in academic journals.

Highly individualized program

Our student body is diverse, representing many different countries and viewpoints. Typically, 30 to 35 students are registered for formal course work, and 10 to 15 more are in residence finishing their dissertations. From the start, each doctoral student is assigned a faculty member to serve as research mentor and a senior doctoral student “buddy” to facilitate transition into the program. Small classes and an “open-door” policy allow students plenty of opportunity to discuss ideas with faculty.

Placement record

The Ph.D. degree in economics presents a wide variety of job opportunities – in academia, in government, in international organizations, and in the corporate sector. Most commonly, our graduates look for initial employment in academia. To help placement in the academic field, each doctoral student is offered full responsibility for teaching undergraduate classes. This preparation, together with their success in publishing research articles, has made our graduates extremely competitive in the job market.

The M.A. program

We also offer a flexible Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program. We do not separately admit students for the M.A. program. It is part of our Ph.D. program and intended to be a degree obtained on the way to the Ph.D. Usually students are admitted directly into the Ph.D. program even if they do not have a prior master’s degree. In a few cases, the M.A. program is appropriate and available as a terminal degree option.

Strong Links to Related Programs and Centers at WVU

The Department of Economics has built strong links to many other units on campus that contribute to the education of our students and enhance the opportunities for basic, applied, and interdisciplinary research. The most beneficial and commonly used links include those with the Department of Finance, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the Regional Research Institute, the Division of Resource Management, and the Department of Geology and Geography. With the Regional Research Institute playing a coordinating role, most of these units are major components of WVU’s strength in Advanced Spatial Sciences.


Applicants with a bachelor’s degree may apply directly to the Ph.D. program. To be admitted as a regular M.A. or Ph.D. student, applicants must have a grade-point average of 3.0 or better for all undergraduate work completed. Applicants must also complete the general aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and receive a minimum combined score of 300 in the new GRE scale for the verbal and quantitative sections and a minimum score of 3.0 for the analytical writing section. International students must submit their scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or, alternatively, the scores on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

In addition, applicants are required to complete one semester of each of the following courses: intermediate microeconomic theory, intermediate macroeconomic theory, calculus, and statistics. Grades in these courses play an important role in admission and assistantship decisions.

The entrance requirements are minimum requirements for regular admission. Since there is limited space in each year’s class, meeting these entrance requirements does not guarantee admission. Applicants not meeting all entrance requirements may be admitted on a provisional basis, subject to certain performance conditions during their first semester in residence. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take additional math courses beyond the required minimum. Only rarely are students admitted without at least the first two courses of the standard calculus sequence. Courses in multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical economics are also particularly useful.


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