Students must present their second-year paper by the end of October of the third year. Papers are presented at the brown bag relevant to the student’s field of research. Both faculty readers and a member of the graduate committee must attend the presentation. Papers should be revised according to the readers’ feedback and a final version of the paper must be submitted by the first week of December. Readers evaluate the paper and judge its quality by its potential for eventual publication in a top or second-tier field journal. All papers are considered for the Best Second-Year Paper Award.
During the third year students take courses to either complete the necessary coursework to fulfill the major and minor requirements, or to accumulate a total of 72 academic credits, of which 45 credits must be graded. Courses taken at CMU count toward the 45 graded credits requirement. The remaining 27 credits may include non-graded seminars, graduate courses in other departments, independent study or dissertation research. All students beyond the first year are expected to be registered in a field seminar every term, graded or non-graded.
Third year students are encouraged to initiate new research papers once the second-year paper has been completed. At this stage, and for the rest of the PhD program, all students should regularly attend and present research projects in the relevant brown bags. By the end of the third year, students should identify a main dissertation advisor who must be a faculty member in the economics department.
Many third year students use their new research projects to apply for university fellowships, most notably the Mellon and the SSDD Fellowships. These awards free students from teaching duties during the next academic year so that they can concentrate exclusively on research.
A number of third year students request to be instructors of an undergraduate course during the summer. Graduate students are matched with a summer mentor, a faculty member regularly teaching the course requested by the student. At the end of the summer students may submit a syllabus of their course, a sample of teaching materials, the scores from teaching evaluations and a teaching statement in order to be considered for the Graduate Student Teaching Award.
Some students work as graduate research assistants (GSRs) for faculty members during the summer and they may continue holding this position during the academic year.