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Questions about these requirements? See the contact info at the bottom of the page. 

The First Two Years


Regular guidance through contact with faculty advisors is an essential component of doctoral education. Students should maintain close contact with their official advisor(s) throughout their enrollment in the program.  Students are encouraged to develop informal advising relationships with several faculty members in addition to their official advisor.  

The first-year advisor provides assistance during the initial stages of the program but does not necessarily advise the student throughout their studies. During the second year of the program, students are matched with advisors based on their research interests. As students familiarize themselves with program faculty during coursework, research work, seminars/workshops, and other activities, they may change their official advisor(s) as their academic and research interests develop.  


The following required courses are completed during the first year of the program: Core macro and micro series: Econ2010a, 2010b, 2010c, 2010d; Quantitative Economics: Econ2120 and Econ2140.

During the G2 year, students designate two fields of interest and complete two approved courses in each of the two fields, plus an additional 1.5 elective courses.

Year Three and Beyond

As a G3, students enroll in a Research Preparatory course and complete a research paper (Econ3000) under the guidance of their faculty advisor.   

Graduate Student Workshops

Students are required to begin presenting in a Graduate Student Workshop during the spring term of the third year. Students continue to attend and present in at least one workshop each term.  


Graduate students are expected to teach during their careers at Harvard, usually beginning in year three of the program. First-time teaching fellows must participate in at least one Bok Center Teaching Conference. Students in their third and fourth years have priority for teaching fellowship appointments. 

Research Proposal

Students are required to present and submit their research ideas to a committee composed of at least two faculty members. The committee will provide feedback and decide if the student is making satisfactory progress toward the degree. Students will receive coordinated advice from faculty regarding their progress and be given detailed recommendations for future research plans, particularly with respect to possible job market paper and dissertation.  

The Dissertation

The student selects a faculty dissertation committee consisting of three members of the Harvard faculty; two of whom must be members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Under the dissertation committee’s advisorship, the student will proceed to complete the dissertation research. The dissertation should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to perform original research that develops in a scholarly way and is a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding in the chosen special field. For the student to meet the requirement, analysis and evaluation of relevant data must yield significant and independent conclusions. 

Contact Info 

Economics Website

Brenda Piquet 
Assistant Director, PhD Programs 
Department of Economics 
Littauer Center 201 
Cambridge, MA 02138 

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