A joint degree offered by the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Harvard Business School, the PhD in business economics combines economic analysis with the practical aspects of business. This degree is primarily intended to prepare students for careers in research and teaching in business administration and related fields of economics. Possible fields of specialization include corporate finance, organizations and markets, international business, business strategy and industrial organization, corporate governance, and business and government. The general management approach of the Harvard Business School is an important ingredient in the program.
The program can be distinguished from the PhD in economics by its greater emphasis on business fields and its focus on the use of economic analysis and statistical methods in dealing effectively with management problems in these applied business fields.
Students in business economics are enrolled in and receive their degree from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, even though they work with faculty at Harvard Business School as well as in the Department of Economics.
Successful candidates for admission have strong records of academic performance in rigorous programs and exemplary GRE general test or GMAT scores, especially in the quantitative area. You are not required to hold a degree in economics, though prior coursework is strongly recommended, and you should have an effective working knowledge of college-level calculus and linear algebra.
Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL, unless they have obtained the equivalent of a US bachelor degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction. The committee prefers scores of at least 100 on the Internet-based test (IBT) of the TOEFL.