The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Economics - PhD

Division: Social Sciences
Degree Type: PhD 

Program Description

The University of Chicago is home to an unusually innovative department of economics. The proportion of new ideas in economics over the last 40 years that have emanated from or become associated with Chicago is astonishing. Any definition of the "Chicago School" would have to find room for the following ideas (in chronological order from the 1940s to the present): the economic theory of socialism, general equilibrium models of foreign trade, simultaneous equation methods in econometrics, consumption as a function of permanent income, the economics of the household, the rationality of peasants in poor countries, the economics of education and other acquired skills (human capital), applied welfare economics, monetarism, sociological economics (entrepreneurship, racial discrimination, crime), the economics of invention and innovation, quantitative economic history, the economics of information, political economy (externalities, property rights, liability, contracts), the monetary approach to international finance, and rational expectations in macroeconomics.

The unifying thread in all this is not political or ideological but methodological, the methodological conviction that economics is an incomparably powerful tool for understanding society.

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Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15

The Department of Economics admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered.

Campus Visits

Campus visits and interviews are not required. Contact the department for more information.

Degree Objective

The Department of Economics admits applicants only for the PhD degree. We do not offer an MA program. 

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form and Supplemental Form
  2. Non-refundable application fee Fee waiver information »
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. GRE and TOEFL Scores
  5. Resume/CV
  6. Statement of Academic Purpose
  7. Writing Sample
  8. Transcripts
  9. Supplemental Data Form

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

A program of a typical PhD student consists of the following sequence:

  1. First Year: Courses in price theory, the theory of income, and quantitative methods to prepare for the "Core" examination.
  2. First Summer: Core examination.
  3. Second Year: Courses in Specialized Fields and participation in Workshops. Certification in two Specialized Fields, one by exam and one by GPA or exam. Identification of a Research Paper topic.
  4. Third and Fourth Years: Completion of Research Paper, General Distribution requirement, and participation in Workshops. Decision on a thesis topic, and presentation of a Thesis Proposal Seminar at which the Department formally approves the topic. Admission to Candidacy.
  5. Fifth Year: Completion of the Doctoral Thesis and presentation of a Public Lecture at which the Department formally approves the thesis.


Costs & Financial Aid

As a general principle, we provide extensive funding for all students who matriculate in our doctoral programs. Applicants to our doctoral programs are considered for all fellowship resources at the University of Chicago for which they are eligible. More information »