The requirements for the Ph.D. include a core of four courses in economic theory and three in mathematical economics and econometrics; qualifying examinations in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory; completion of two fields of the student’s choice; completion of at least one research seminar; completion of two elective courses; and the dissertation. Where appropriate, graduate students may elect to take a limited amount of work in related courses offered by other departments. At least two full academic years of graduate work or the equivalent in part-time work in residence at Clark are required. Some teaching and research experience at Clark, or other such teaching and research as the department may regard as equivalent, is strongly encouraged.
Ph.D. students can satisfy the requirements for econometrics and mathematical economics by passing designated courses offered in the department, or in the case of prior preparation, by passing a test given by the department. The student meets the economic theory requirement by satisfactory completion of the theory courses ECON 301, ECON 302, ECON 303 and ECON 304, and by passing two qualifying examinations, one each in microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory.
Field courses begin in the second year, and are completed by the end of the third year. Each field consists of two to three semesters of course work. A student must designate a major field of specialization, in which a field paper is written and subsequently presented in the department’s graduate poster session, as well as completing a minor field of specialization. The Clark program regularly offers specialization in four fields, usually with two fields offered each academic year: international economics (ECON 307, ECON 308), applied econometrics (ECON 366a/b), development economics (ECON 328, ECON 329) and applied spatial analysis (ECON 357, ECON 377 and ECON 359). Other fields are occasionally offered and it is possible to combine related courses into a field, subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Students must take both the major field and the minor field within the Economics Department. Successful completion of each field requires a passing grade (minimum of B-) in all field courses and completion of any other requirements designated by the professor responsible for the field. The topic for the field paper is to be determined with the approval of the professor responsible for the major field, and the completed field paper must be presented in the department’s graduate poster session by the end of the student’s fourth year.
Starting in their second year, Ph.D. students are required to take at least one research seminar (ECON 367 and/or ECON 368 ). These courses introduce basic research methods and empirical strategies in economics, which help students prepare for a quick transition to dissertation research. The Ph.D. also requires one to two elective courses, which may be completed outside of economics (the third course in the spatial analysis field counts as one of the electives). Elective courses within economics may be either stand-alone electives or be taken from an Economics Department field-course sequence that a student is not declaring as either a major field or minor field. Elective courses taken outside the Economics Department should be chosen to complement the major and minor fields. Elective courses taken outside of the department require prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
Preparation for writing the dissertation begins during the third year, when the student starts writing the dissertation prospectus. The prospectus lays out the intellectual motivation for the dissertation and the research plan designed to complete it. The prospectus is to be approved by the faculty adviser, who then becomes the chairperson of the dissertation committee. The dissertation committee consists of three professors, who can be either from the Economics Department, or other departments at Clark or other universities, with the approval of the faculty adviser. The faculty adviser approves the distribution of the dissertation prospectus to the dissertation committee. Upon approval of the committee, the dissertation prospectus is subsequently defended in an open presentation to the dissertation committee and other interested members of the community. The dissertation must be an original contribution to knowledge that is based upon independent research, convincingly presented and acceptably written.
Upon completion of the dissertation in a form acceptable to the committee, the candidate makes a copy of the dissertation available to the department, the faculty and the graduate students for two weeks prior to the dissertation defense. The defense is presented in an open presentation to the dissertation committee and other interested members of the community. Final approval of the dissertation is granted by the committee after consideration of any suggested changes or questions arising from the seminar. The dissertation must be completed within five years of passage of the preliminary examinations. If it is not, the student must successfully retake the preliminary examinations in economic theory before defending the dissertation. Under certain circumstances, published articles may be accepted by the department instead of a dissertation.
Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program may be awarded the M.A. degree upon satisfactory completion of twelve credits and the qualifying exams. In the case of students who do not continue toward the Ph.D., on recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies, the M.A. may be awarded upon satisfactory completion with a passing grade of twelve courses (including all required first year courses) with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. A student should discuss program plans with the graduate student adviser before registration day and secure approval of the course program.
Scholarship assistance for students admitted to the Ph.D. program is available. Full or partial tuition remission may be granted to particularly well-prepared students. In addition, several teaching assistantships are awarded, enabling graduate students to gain experience in undergraduate instruction. These cover remission of tuition and a cash stipend. Employment as a research assistant is also available for some well-qualified students. The number of RAs is dependent on the availability of funding from external grants.