The PhD in Business Economics is an interfaculty program offered by the Department of Economics and the faculty at Harvard Business School (HBS). The degree is awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) at Harvard University. Possible fields of specialization include corporate finance, organizations and markets, international business, business strategy and industrial organization, corporate governance, and business and government.

The business economics program provides students with the full training of a PhD in economics along with the opportunity to focus on research questions related to the field of business. In order to ground students in disciplinary theories and methods, students take the same first year coursework as PhD students in economics. In the second year, students continue to take coursework with economics PhD students in preparation for their field examinations, which are jointly administered by the Department of Economics and the Business Economics program. In the dissertation phase of the program, students  are required to work with faculty members in the Department of Economics and at HBS. 

The program prepares students for careers in academia specifically at business schools, as well as, in departments of economics, finance, and government/public policy.

GSAS and HBS have jointly offered PhD programs since 1916. In addition to Business Economics, GSAS and HBS collaborate on the programs in Business AdministrationOrganizational Behavior, and Health Policy (Management Track).

Admissions Requirements

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 reasoning section. Applicants with bachelors degrees in the social sciences, engineering, sciences, as well as business are especially encouraged to apply.

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL or IELTS, 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 or scores of at least 7.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Additional information about admissions requirements are available from the Program in Business Economics and specific program requirements are detailed in GSAS Policies.

Financial Aid

All PhD in Business Economics students receive a fellowship that includes tuition, health insurance fees, and a generous stipend for up to five years.  Students must be making satisfactory progress to maintain eligibility for financial aid.

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Business Economics

Business Economics Faculty