Preparing for Graduate School

Our rigorous undergraduate program provides an excellent preparation for further study in economics. We have a long history of sending undergraduates to some of the very best Ph.D. programs in economics and related fields. 

Professor Kacey Buckles Meets With Student

Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in economics or a related field should consult with faculty members at an early stage. It is ideal for students contemplating this path to complete the major's core requirements by the end of sophomore year. During junior year, students should take as many economics electives as possible and should actively seek research opportunities with professors. For students interested in a Ph.D., it is recommended that they write a thesis during their senior year. 

Course recommendations

In addition to coursework in economics, graduate admissions committees consider applicants' mathematical training and proficiency. Students pondering a Ph.D. should take several math courses; the earlier, the better. In addition to the basic calculus requirements in the major, the Department recommends that students complete the following mathematics courses:

  • Calculus III (MATH 20550)
  • Linear Algebra (MATH 20610)
  • Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning (MATH 20630)
  • Ordinary Differential Equations (MATH 20750)
  • Real Analysis (MATH 30750)

The Linear Algebra and Differential Equations sequence may be substituted with Introduction to Linear Algebra & Differential Equations (MATH 20580) and Differential Equations (MATH 30650), but these courses are designed for engineers and feature fewer proofs. 

Other recommended mathematics courses to prepare students for a Ph.D. in Economics include:

  • Introduction to Probability (MATH 30530)
  • Mathematical Statistics (MATH 30540)
  • Introduction to Financial Mathematics (MATH 30610)
  • Partial Differential Equations (MATH 40750)
  • Numerical Analysis (MATH 40390)
  • Mathematical Methods in Financial Economics (MATH 40570)
Alison Lodermeier


"I was first introduced to economics research while an undergrad at Notre Dame through working as a research assistant for Nilesh Fernando and completing a senior research project. These experiences and mentorship from ND faculty motivated me to eventually apply to economics Ph.D. programs and prepared me for doing research in graduate school."

— Alison Lodermeier, Ph.D. student at Brown University, 2018 International Economics Graduate


Kevin Angell

“Throughout my time at Notre Dame and since graduation, the faculty’s support for my academic and personal growth has been invaluable.”

— Kevin Angell, Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago, 2020 Economics Graduate