From the Director

Welcome to Pitt’s Economics PhD Web page! Our mission is to prepare students to be professional economists in academia, business, or government. The PhD program has three goals: to advance economic knowledge through an intensive and balanced research program, to develop the skills needed to conduct independent research on current economic problems, and to provide training needed for effective teaching of economics.

The success of our PhD program is reflected in our job placement record. Historically, approximately 55 percent of our graduates are placed in the tenure-stream academic market, 15 percent at research institutions, and the remaining 30 percent at government jobs, post docs, non-tenure stream positions, and industry. Our placements since 2000 include highly ranked universities such as the University of Minnesota, Carnegie Mellon University, Royal Holloway College (London), the University of Virginia, and the University of Toronto, as well as liberal art colleges such as Oberlin, Kenyon, the College of William and Mary, Washington and Jefferson College, and Colgate University. 

Our program is designed to exploit the strength of our faculty’s research, which generally encompasses more than one field within economics. In addition to rigorous first-year core courses in microeconomic theory, macroeconomics, econometrics and math, our students specialize in two different major fields. Fields include applied microeconomics, econometrics, experimental, labor/development economics, macroeconomics, and microeconomics. Within applied microeconomics, we offer three different major tracks: environmental, urban/public, and history/institutions.

We involve students in our research community from the beginning of their second year in our program. At least three times per week, we hold lunchtime brown bags in which students and faculty present research in progress and receive early feedback. These brown bags foster collegiality among faculty and students and result in productive research collaborations. In addition to the brown bags, students are exposed to frontier research conducted by external speakers via our seminar series in each of the six fields. Most of our seminar series are run jointly with Carnegie Mellon University, extending our research community beyond the walls of our building. We close each academic year with the Pittsburgh Economics Medley Conference, which brings together researchers from Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, and RAND, and provides our students with the opportunity to showcase their research with a poster presentation.

We take pride in our traditional strength in experimental economics and the opportunities our students have to use the Pittsburgh Experimental Economics Lab (PEEL) to run their experiments. Students specializing in experimental economics usually combine it with a major in microeconomic theory, applied economics, or econometrics. Other popular major combinations include macro and applied micro, macro and international/development/comparative economics, applied micro and econometrics, and applied micro and international/development/comparative economics.

We also train our students to be effective teachers. We offer an in-house course, Teaching Economics, to all students during the fall of the second year. Students gain experience through recitations as teaching assistants or by serving as primary instructors for a course during the summer.

Our student body is very diverse. There are currently 52 students in residence, 32 male and 20 female. Our 33 international students come from a variety of countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Poland, Slovakia, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uruguay. They are also lucky to be in Pittsburgh, which, for the second time since 2009 has been ranked by The Economist as the “most livable city in the continental United States” based on stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure!

We offer financial assistance to most admitted students through fellowships including a stipend of approximately $21,700 per year, along with tuition remission and the option of purchasing affordable health insurance. Fellowships for first-year students do not require teaching or research assistant duties. Starting in the second year, funded students perform teaching or research assistantship duties that may not exceed 20 hours per week. Students may apply to other University fellowships that free them from any duties during a given academic year. Summer funding is available through research and teaching appointments.

Applications to our program and all supporting documentation must be submitted online by January 15. Please follow this link for detailed instructions on how to apply.

Thank you for your interest in our program. I look forward to reviewing your application.

Werner Troesken

Director of Graduate Studies

If after reading the information on these pages your question still remains unanswered, please e-mail Brian Deutsch, Graduate Program Administrator.