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PhD economics classroom

PhD in Economics

Each year, three to six PhD students are accepted into the PhD in Economics program, providing a collegial environment in which students can interact with faculty daily. Drexel LeBow’s PhD in Economics program specializes in the following fields:

  • Industrial Organization/Applied Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • International Trade

Meet economics PhD students
LeBow economics doctoral program landings

Economics Faculty: Experts and Partners

Our faculty take pride in working closely with our PhD students, developing and refining the skills necessary for conducting and publishing academic research and achieving strong placements in their field. In fact, PhD Economic students are encouraged to co-author research papers with faculty members, other students and alumni. As a result, our PhD students frequently produce quality academic publications before graduating from the program.

The faculty in the School of Economics have a strong commitment to academic research. Aside from the program specializations in Industrial Organization and Applied Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and International Trade, their research focuses on the areas of public finance, energy economics, financial economics, health economics, game theory, behavioral economics and econometrics. The School of Economics has 25 tenured/tenure-track faculty members.

Faculty members publish in top academic journals such as:

  • American Economic Review
  • Econometrica
  • RAND Journal of Economics
  • Review of Economic Studies
  • Review of Economics and Statistics
  • Journal of International Economics
  • Journal of Money Credit and Banking

Meet economics faculty
View economics research

STEM-Designated PhD Program

The PhD in Economics is a STEM-designated program. LeBow’s STEM-designated programs provide interdisciplinary technical and mathematical skills, as well as the business acumen needed to solve complex business issues and navigate the future of business.

More Information on STEM-designated Programs

STEM-Designated degree programs are designated by the Department of Homeland Security. F-1 students can apply for a 24-month OPT Extension (beyond the standard 12 months) if they:

  • Receive a STEM degree
  • Are employed by employers enrolled in the E-Verify system
  • Have received an initial approval of Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization related to such a degree

Students must apply for the 24-month OPT extension prior to the expiration of their Post-Completion OPT. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accept 24-month OPT Extension applications as early as 120 days before the expiration of a Post-Completion OPT.

Please contact the Office of International Students and Scholars Services at for detailed information and assistance on OPT.

PhD Economics Plan of Study

Core Program

All PhD students pursue a common set of core economics courses during their first year of study. This core consists of course work in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. These courses provide the necessary training for conducting research in economics at the advanced level.

First-Year Examination

After the completion of the first year of the program, students are examined on their competence in the first-year material and their readiness to continue in the Economics program. Students must take and successfully pass the first-year exams. Passing these exams allows Economics PhD students to take their specialization courses in their second year.

Fields of Specialization within the Economics PhD

The PhD in Economics offers three fields:

  • Industrial Organization/Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • International Trade

Each field consists of a sequence of three quarterly courses with the final spring term course being a field-specific seminar course. Students must take two of the three specializations listed above. The field sequences introduce students to the cutting-edge research methods and topics in each field. In addition, all students are required to take an advanced microeconometrics class during their second year in the program.

Additional Requirements and Features

Candidacy Examination

At the completion of their coursework, students take written and oral candidacy examinations, also referred to as field exams. These examinations test each student’s preparation for dissertation research in the three fields. Each student must pass the field exam in the area in which they wish to pursue research. Once the candidacy examinations are passed, the student is recognized as a PhD candidate.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is a piece of original research designed to make a contribution to the student’s chosen discipline. Each candidate selects a dissertation adviser, and an advisory committee of additional faculty members is formed. The candidate prepares a detailed dissertation proposal that is defended before the University community. After successfully defending the proposal, the candidate conducts the research and prepares a written dissertation. The completed dissertation is then defended in a final oral examination.

Instructor Training

LeBow and Drexel provide PhD students with training in how to be highly effective teachers in their first and second years. Typically, after the candidacy exam has been passed, doctoral candidates in LeBow assume teaching duties as sole instructors for three courses total before graduating the program. 

Assistantships and Financial Aid

LeBow provides its PhD students with five years of tuition and stipend support conditional on satisfactory progress throughout the program. PhD students are also provided with substantial support for traveling to academic conferences.

Learn more about assistantships and aid

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Connect with Us

Thank you for your interest in the PhD in Economics at Drexel LeBow. For more information or for questions, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Marco Airaudo, PhD

(215) 895-6982

Gerri C. LeBow Hall 1019