GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN ECONOMICS

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1 GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN ECONOMICS INTRODUCTION The graduate programs in economics at The University of Michigan offer preparation for the wide range of careers now open to professional economists in academic, business, and government sectors. The Department's faculty and graduates have long been involved in leading developments in research, teaching and governmental economic policies. The graduate programs are designed to continue this tradition, by providing their students with rigorous analytical and practical training. The Department offers two major programs, one leading to the Ph.D. degree in Economics, the other leading to the Master of Arts degree in Applied Economics (MAE). The Ph.D. program in Economics at Michigan has a long history and many distinguished alumnae and alumni. Designed primarily to train professional economists, its emphasis is on the theoretical core of the discipline and its applications together with the essential research skills. In order to ensure that the quality of students is high and that they have close contact with the faculty, new enrollment each year is limited to about thirty entrants. Most elective classes are small and permit extensive class participation. The sequence of core courses provides an intensive basic preparation in the discipline, while advanced courses, seminars, and research opportunities are offered in a wide variety of specialized fields. The doctoral student will ordinarily devote the first two years to coursework, independent reading, and preparation for the preliminary examinations. The theory exams are normally completed by the end of the first year and the applied field exams by the end of the second. The remaining years are devoted primarily to the dissertation. The time required to write a dissertation varies so widely that it is difficult to generalize about it. For those who work parttime as graduate student instructors, it normally takes two to four years. The Master's program in Applied Economics, as the name implies, is a policy-oriented program, with emphasis on the application of economic tools and concepts to practical problems arising in a variety of fields. Enrollment is limited to about twenty-five new entrants each year. Students in this program ordinarily require one and one-half years to complete their work. The integrated programs of study and research described in this brochure are designed to bring students into the mainstream of modern economics by offering them the opportunity to work with leading scholars. The programs are also designed to provide substantial flexibility in setting up a course of study fitted to the student's interests. They offer the student resources in each of many specialized fields and techniques. The Department also participates in a rich variety of interdepartmental programs, including financial engineering, complex studies, population studies, health economics, law and economics, natural resources and economics, public policy and economics, and social work and economics. All these programs naturally endeavor to help students develop high skills in analysis, research, and expression. But they aim also to encourage the student's originality and independence of mind in seeking out and making significant contributions to the field of economics. THE PROGRAM FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN ECONOMICS Admission is limited to students whose undergraduate record shows a genuine capacity for advanced work in the field of economics. An economics major is not a prerequisite, but some previous training in economics is essential (the intermediate level micro- and macroeconomic theory courses are the most important). Training in calculus, linear algebra, and probability and statistics is also essential and grades received in these courses are important factors in the admission decision. When appraising an applicant's scholarly promise, however, the faculty looks not merely at the academic record but also at letters of recommendation, the applicant's statement of purpose and the results of the Graduate Record Examination. Successful applicants will demonstrate strength in all areas of the application process. 1

2 The student can best prepare for graduate work in economics by completing a broadly-based undergraduate program that includes liberal arts, mathematics, and the natural and social sciences, rather than simply accumulating credits in a large number of economics courses. In particular, prior work in advanced mathematics (especially calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical statistics) can dramatically ease the student's progress during the first year. Course Requirements In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, students are expected to meet various departmental requirements. These are always under review and subject to revision. The following paragraphs summarize the present requirements. The First Year A student's first year in the program is devoted to the core curriculum. A full course load is: Fall Term Econ 600 (mathematics) Econ 601/602 (micro theory) Econ 605 (macro theory) Econ 671 (statistics) Winter Term Econ 603/604 (micro theory) Econ 607 (macro theory) Econ 672 (econometrics) Those who are well prepared in mathematics or statistics may satisfy some or all of the math and statistics requirements by passing equivalency exams. Preliminary exams are given annually in September. Students who do not place out of the math and statistics courses must receive at least a B- in each of these courses. The Second Year During the second year, since most students are graduate student instructors, the normal course load is three courses. All students must complete two field sequences and pass the field exam in each of those fields. The current list of available fields includes: Advanced Microeconomic Theory Economic Development Econometric Theory Industrial Organization International Economics Labor Economics Monetary Economics and Advanced Macroeconomics Natural Resources Public Finance Additional fields can be arranged on a case-by-case basis. Students must pass preliminary examinations in their two major fields. These prelims should be taken as soon as the required coursework has been completed. Both exams must be passed by September of the fourth year. In addition to completing two fields, each student must also fulfill a six-credit-hour Advanced Methods Requirement. This requirement is intended to insure that students are well versed in the particular research techniques that they will use in writing their dissertations. The requirement can be fulfilled from the following courses: Economics 609, 610, 613, 617, 619, 620, 675, 676, 677, 678, 679, or 751. Finally, students are required to take two "cognate" courses, which are any courses (approved for graduate credit) in another department of the University. A wide variety of courses can be used to satisfy this requirement. Economics 671 counts as a cognate, satisfying one of the two courses required. 2

3 The end of the second year or the middle of the third year would normally complete the Advanced Methods Requirement and the cognate requirement, depending on a student's previous course load. Courses used to satisfy these requirements must be passed with grades of B- or better. There is no general foreign language requirement for graduate students in economics. However, on occasion a student's research topic requires knowledge of another language. In these cases, language courses can be used to satisfy the cognate requirement. Candidacy A student reaches candidacy upon completing all the required coursework and passing the preliminary examinations in Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Theory and one field exam. (The second field exam must be passed by the end of the fourth year but is not required for candidacy.) At this point the student is ready to concentrate on economic research for the dissertation. To help students make the transition from course work to research, the Department requires that students complete a substantial research paper during the third year under the supervision of an appropriate faculty adviser. This paper normally starts out as a paper written for a second-year course, and is then revised and strengthened with the help of the faculty adviser Third-year students meet regularly in a seminar with a faculty supervisor to discuss research technique and to present results of their own research. In addition, students are expected (and after the third year are required) to attend and take an active part in the advanced seminar in the appropriate major field. Before receiving a Ph.D., each student is required to complete a significant research project in order to satisfy the thesis requirement. Through writing a thesis, the student develops the capacity to conceive and formulate a research topic, to bring knowledge and techniques from the relevant fields to bear upon it, and to develop conclusions which advance scholarly understanding. Work on the dissertation also lays the foundation for the student's own future research and professional publications. In most cases, the thesis will grow out of the third-year paper. Each student will be helped on the thesis by a research advisor, and eventually by a committee of at least four faculty members. Part way along, each student will meet formally with his/her entire thesis committee for a "proposal defense." The objective of the proposal defense is to provide detailed feedback on the research already completed and careful advice on the proposed projects yet to be undertaken. When the dissertation is complete the student defends it in an oral examination before the dissertation committee. Teaching and Research Assistantships Given the value of teaching and research in a student's training, the Department recommends the equivalent of one year of experience in a teaching or research assistant position. In order to insure that teaching and research assistant positions do not prohibit the student from making satisfactory progress on their dissertation research, the University also allows any one student to receive College of LS&A-funded teaching or research assistant positions for no more than ten semesters. Most of the available graduate student instructor (GSI) positions are in the introductory courses on principles of micro- and macroeconomics. They involve three hours in two discussion sections per week in addition to attendance at the three hours of lecture by the faculty in charge of the course. The class time is spent answering questions about the more difficult points covered by the faculty in lecture that week and going over problem sets. In some cases a small amount of new material may also be delegated to the GSI to present in these classes. There are also a few GSI positions available in the upper-level undergraduate and core graduate courses. A small number of spring/summer GSI positions are also available. 3

4 The Department also finances Summer Research Apprenticeships for students following their first and second year in the program. These positions provide students substantial research experience early in their program and help students establish a close working relationship with a faculty member. Individual faculty members finance other graduate student research assistant (GSRA) positions, as do various research organizations on campus including the Institute for Social Research, the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, and the Office of Tax Policy Research. GSRA positions are not awarded by the doctoral program. GSRA are hired by individual faculty and units using criteria determined by those individuals. GSRA positios are primarily limited to those students who have been advanced to candidacy. Financial Support The Department provides several types of financial aid to its Ph.D. students. Entering students are automatically considered for financial aid unless they indicate they have support from elsewhere. Financial resources are limited and only 60% of any incoming class secures department funding in their first year. All aid decisions are based solely on academic merit. Graduate student instructor (GSI) positions: All continuing students in good standing are able to obtain a GSI position. All students are required to take the Department's GSI training course in August before becoming a GSI for the first time. In addition, all students who have not completed their undergraduate degree at an English-speaking institution must successfully complete a s course in teaching techniques in a U.S. academic setting that is offered in the winter term of the first year, to qualify for a GSI position. GSI positions entitle the student to a tuition waiver, a salary that depends on the time commitment required for the position, and health insurance coverage. For , a GSI position in the principles course required seventeen hours per week and paid a salary of $8, per semester plus health insurance. No GSI positions are awarded to incoming students. Fellowships: Entering students with a strong undergraduate grade point average and high GRE scores are eligible for the University's Regents Fellowship. This fellowship provides a tuition waiver. a generous stipend for the first year of the student's graduate program, and health insurance plus a guarantee of a GSI position during the following three years, subject to the usual stipulation that the student be making satisfactory progress towards the degree. In addition, there are a variety of other fellowships available from the Department and the University based on specific research interests. Foreign Language and Area Studiess fellowships are offered to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who meet the eligibility requirements. Please check the web site at for detailed information about the application process. Students expressing an interest in demography may be eligible for multi-year traineeships offered through the Population Studies Center. There is no application form specific to this award. A new fellowship program supported by the National Science Foundation provides substantial funding for students interested in the social and technical aspects of electronic transactions, including e-commerce. The STIET (Socio-Technical Infrastructure for Electronic Transactions) Multidisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship Program brings together doctoral students from the Department of Economics, the School of Information, the School of Business Administration, and the College of Engineering to create a strong cross-school community of scholars at Michigan who are addressing issues related to electronic transactions. The fellowships provide tuition plus a stipend for the first two years of graduate study, a faculty research mentor, a weekly research seminar and semi-annual workshops, and multidisciplinary coursework. For more information, see or call (734) The Center for the Study of Complex Systems has received an NSF IGERT award for interdisciplinary study in economic and political institutions. The program's primary themes are diversity, networks, interactions, and adaptation. Students will pursue an innovative, interdisciplinary graduate studies program that includes opportunities for research assistantships and semesters of study at the Santa Fe Institute, which is a participating institution in this grant. Students should apply to the economics department directly and mention that they would like to be considered for the IGERT award. IGERT awardees will receive generous financial packages and increased research and travel opportunities. More information about this program is available at 4

5 or call (734) Each year about half a dozen of our students who have reached candidacy receive University fellowships, allowing them to work full time on their dissertation. The Robert V. Roosa Dissertation Fellowship in Monetary Economics and the Fred M. Taylor Fellowship in Economic Theory are two award programs for advanced students administered directly by the doctoral program. Of course, financial aid is also available outside the University, including the National Science Foundation, Resources for the Future, the Sage Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and other sources. Loans: Loan funds may be available through the University to aid students who are otherwise unable to continue their graduate work. For information, contact the Office of Financial Aid, Student Activities Building, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI or review their web site at Prizes: The John E. Parker Prize (currently $500) is awarded for an outstanding written contribution in the area of labor economics or human resources. The Moore Dissertation Research Prize (currently $1,000) is awarded to support dissertation research in the area of applied microeconomics. These prizes are usually awarded annually. Professional Placement The Department actively assists its graduating doctoral students to obtain professional positions with universities and colleges, research institutions, government and international agencies, and business firms. This assistance is provided routinely by those faculty members who have worked most closely with the students, as well as by a single faculty member who, as Placement Officer of the Department, assists all doctoral students seeking jobs. Administrative costs of placement assistance are covered in part by a charge to those using the service. The demand for well-trained graduates in economics continues to be strong in the private and government sectors. About 60% of our graduates end up in academic positions. In recent years, our academic placements have included assistant professorships at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Chicago, and many other leading universities and colleges. Most of the rest find attractive jobs in international organizations, the government sector, consulting firms, or occasionally elsewhere in the private sector. Unlike graduates of many traditional Ph.D. disciplines, trained graduate economists continue to be in relatively high demand. The Master of Arts Degree in Economics The Master s Degree in Economics is earned by students in the Ph.D. program upon successful completion of a portion of their course work. Some students who are initially admitted to the Ph.D. program may eventually choose to complete only the requirements for the Master s degree, while successful doctoral students earn the degree as a matter of course. Specific course requirements for the Master s degree include two core theory courses plus appropriate training in statistics and mathematics, two applied field courses, and two cognate courses. Alternative courses can be substituted with the approval of the Graduate Director. Applicants who seek a terminal Master's degree will be considered solely for the Master's Degree in Applied Economics (MAE), which is described below 5

6 Application Procedures Applications are accepted only for Fall term. The deadline is December 15. There is no separate application form for financial aid. The application form must be submitted on-line. The web site is The department prohibits students from applying for both the Master s in Applied Economics and the Ph.D. program. These are distinctly different programs and the applicant is only permitted to apply for one or the other. Applicants who are not offered admission to the Ph.D. program will not be considered for the Master s in Applied Economics program. There is no application fee waiver provided by the department and applications submitted without the fee will be withdrawn from the review process. The Ph.D. program in economics does not require applicants to complete the worksheet for calculating GPA page that is included in the application. All applicants must submit the following supporting documentation in addition to the application and the application fee. Official general aptitude Graduate Record Examination score report, less than five years old Three letters of recommendation from undergraduate faculty or others in a position to evaluate the applicants' potential for graduate study. If you are attending or have attended a graduate program in economics, two of those three letters must be written by faculty from that program. Transcript from all post-secondary institutions. International applicants are required to submit a copy of their transcript(s) along with an English translation. A second copy of the transcript(s) must also be sent directly to Rackham Graduate School. TOEFL score if you are a non-native English speaker. The TOEFL score must be less than two years old. The TOEFL is waived for any international applicant who has received a degree from an English-speaking institution. International applicants must include their class rank if their institution provides this information. All supporting documentation must be sent directly to the following address: Graduate Program Department of Economics 611 Tappan Street University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI U.S.A. Applicants with missing supporting documentation will be withdrawn from the review process. All applicants are considered for financial aid simultaneously with the review process unless the applicant has indicated that no aid is required. Financial aid is awarded only on the basis of academic merit. Admission and fellowship awards are usually announced by March 15, and students are asked to indicate their acceptance of fellowship offers by April 15. Expenses Any questions about these procedures can be addressed to Current tuition rates can be found at Living costs are comparable to those at other ranking universities. A variety of university and other housing is available to single and married students. International Students 6

7 The Department welcomes applications from talented, fully prepared international students. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL in their country as part of the process of admission. Rackham Graduate School supplies information regarding the arrangements for taking the test. Fluency in English is essential to success in the graduate program. Applicants will be admitted to the Graduate School only if their scores in the test are above 600 (paper score) or 250 (computer-based). International applicants are encouraged to have letters of recommendation written by professors who are familiar with U.S. graduate schools and their requirements. All international students who come to the University of Michigan on student visas must certify sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents, if any, while here. The International Admissions Office of the Graduate School will provide each international applicant with a precise statement of the amount of support that must be certified when the student is recommended for admission by the department. THE PROGRAM FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN APPLIED ECONOMICS (MAE) This degree program is designed for students who wish to apply the theory and techniques of economics to the analysis of practical problems in a variety of fields. Unlike the Master of Arts Degree in Economics, the MAE is NOT an intermediate step to the Ph.D. The MAE program addresses itself to the needs of three kinds of students: (1) those who want advanced training in economics in order to qualify for jobs in government or private organizations that require greater expertise than is provided by an undergraduate degree, (2) those who wish to study economics as a complement to their work in another field, and (3) those who need further background in economics, math, or statistics, or who need to certify their ability to do graduate work in economics, in order to gain admission to a Ph.D. program. For the second group, dual programs, including in some cases dual degrees, can combine economics with public health, social work, law, natural resources, demography, industrial relations, statistics, business administration, and other fields. Applicants to this program should have completed intermediate micro- and macroeconomic theory courses as well as courses in calculus and introductory statistics. The degree is earned in a minimum of three terms and requires 33 hours of graduate course work. The course sequence for the degree normally includes two core theory courses, usually Economics 501 and 502, three courses covering some aspect of quantitative methods used in economics, usually including Economics 500 and 503, three courses in two different applied fields in economics, and three courses in related fields of the student's choosing. The student's overall program is chosen in consultation with the Director of the MAE program. No thesis is required and there are no examinations other than the course examinations. The MAE program offers admission for the Fall term only. The deadline for application is February 5. There is no financial support available from the department for students in the MAE program. Information about the application procedures and requirements are the same as outlined earlier for the doctoral program. Any questions about these procedures can be addressed to 7

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