Graduate Study in Economics

Pursuing Graduate Studies in Economics

A Ph.D. in economics prepares you for a variety of careers, including those in academia, finance, consulting, and public policy. Most graduate programs are designed to train you for careers in economic research. So, graduate school is a nice option for those who not only love economics but also enjoy conducting independent, original research.

It is never too early to start planning for graduate school. The first step is to contact a member of the economics faculty, who can help you determine if graduate school might be a good option for you, as well as help you plan out your course selections. You may also find the following information helpful.


How can I prepare now for graduate school?

1) Take lots of math. Without an adequate training in math, you will have little to no chance of being admitted to a good graduate program. Here is a downloadable list of Notre Dame math courses that students interested in graduate work are strongly encouraged to take.

2) Take graduate courses. After completing the core requirements for the undergraduate economics major, enroll in courses in our graduate economics program (note: you must receive approval from the instructor to enroll). The first-year graduate economics courses offered in the Department of Economics and Econometrics are:

  • ECOE 60001(2) Mathematics for Economists I(II)
  • ECOE 60101(2) Microeconomic Theory I(II)
  • ECOE 60201(2) Macroeconomic Theory I(II)
  • ECOE 60301 Probability and Statistics
  • ECOE 60302 Econometrics I

Talk to a faculty member to determine which of these courses are most appropriate for you.

3) Write an honors thesis through the Undergraduate Economics Honors Program. This year-long, six-credit-hour project will provide valuable research experience and will help you determine whether a career in research is right for you. Also, a strong research project can help make your applications to graduate school more attractive. To start, develop a relationship with a faculty member who will supervise your thesis.


Other opportunities

Economics Graduate School Information Night: Each fall semester, through the generous support of the Marcus and Ellen Baker Endowment for Excellence, the department will host an information session for students interested in graduate school. Food and drinks will be served! Check the department events calendar for more details.

Bernoulli Awards: If your honors thesis includes statistical analyses, you may submit it for the Bernoulli Awards competition, which recognizes outstanding research papers that use statistical methods to analyze an applied problem. First prize is $5,000!

NSF Fellowships: At the beginning of your senior year, you should apply for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. These fellowships are extremely competitive, but they are also very prestigious.