Ph.D. in Business and Economics Program Curriculum

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Curriculum and Plan of Study

First and Second Year: STEM-Designated Coursework

The course training at Lehigh Ph.D. in Business and Economics program consists of first-year core sequences in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and econometrics, followed by second-year field courses. Students are required to pass the comprehensive exams in microeconomic theory and econometrics held at the end of the first year. Students are allowed two attempts for each exam.

Students decide on their primary field of research specialization in the second year and have to pass the field exam of their primary field by the end of the second year. Students choose secondary fields of specialization by completing the relevant coursework without the need to take a field exam.

Other than passing the comprehensive and the field exams, students are expected to maintain on average B or above for all the coursework, among other requirements, in order to continue in the program.


Third Year: Research Paper

Students may take additional electives in their third year but should mainly focus on completing a third-year research paper. Under the direction of a faculty advisor, students choose a topic and start working on the third-year paper typically during the summer of their second year. Successful completion of the third-year paper requirement involves approval of the paper by the faculty advisor and a second reader, in addition to a public presentation of the findings during the third year. Though not necessary, the third-year paper may eventually become part of a student’s Ph.D. dissertation.


Fourth Year Onward: Dissertation Research

Students will work full-time on their dissertation research in their fourth year onward. Under the direction of a dissertation committee, which consists of a main advisor, two departmental members, and one external member, students orally defend their dissertation proposal, after which they will be advanced to candidacy. This typically happens in the third or fourth year of study. The granting of the Ph.D. degree will be contingent on the completion of the dissertation and a successful oral defense.