Graduate Programs

A Ph.D. In Economics From SMU

The Ph.D. program in Economics at SMU is the oldest PhD program at the University and has a long track record of providing students with rigorous training in a broad range of fundamental methodologies for conducting economic research. The program is relatively small which allows for an open and friendly environment, and a low student-faculty ratio. Few programs can match the careful supervision, faculty contact time and the individualized mentoring that our Ph.D. students receive.

The department’s research strength encompasses a wide number of fields including empirical microeconomics and econometrics, monetary and macroeconomics, experimental and behavioral economics and international economics. A hallmark of our program is an insistince on high quality theoretical training as a foundation for work in each of these fields.

US Ranking

Our PhD program has been consistently ranked highly, despite its small size. We do particularly well on rankings taking into account publications per faculty member.


In addition to the standard department fellowship, there are several other funding opportunities from the Department and the University. As of 2019, the department will be offering George W. Bush Institute Doctoral Fellowships. These are very attractive fellowships which pay a greater stipend and allow access to working with Bush Institute Researchers and staff. The Office of Graduate Studies also provides fellowships for exceptional students which augment the stipend paid by the department. The Department also has a few additional internal fellowships for advanced students which will either provide upgraded funding in one year or provide some funding in later years. All applicants to the program are automatically considered for these additional funding opportunities.

The University also has a new Fellowship program beginning in 2019, the Mustang Fellowship. These fellowships are intended to attract high quality scholars who will bring a diverse background to SMU. These Fellowships will provide tuition waivers, health insurance and a $30,000 stipend for up to five years. This will involve a separate application which you can complete at the same time as your normal application. The Fellowship is only open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. If you wish to submit an application for this Fellowship, it will require you to write a brief essay explaining why your background will contribute to the diversity of our graduate programs at SMU. The University notes that examples of diversity include (but are not limited to) first generation college students, underrepresented minorities, underrepresented cultural or geographic backgrounds or veterans. If you are a high quality applicant and you feel your background can provide diversity along some dimension, you are encouraged to apply. The Economics Department is allowed to nominate one candidate for this Fellowship and the University will award up to six per year.

Field Courses

Our Ph.D. program offers a wide choice of specializations and fields. The program follows up rigorous core courses in the first year of the program with three semesters of advanced field courses that are designed to bring students to the frontiers of research in various fields of study. At least three field courses are offered each semester. Field courses offered in recent years include Advanced Econometrics, Advanced Economic Theory, Labor Economics, Industrial Organization, Experimental Economics, Monetary Economics, Development Economics, International Trade, International Macroeconomics and Development Economics.


The quality of our Ph.D. program is reflected in our excellent placement record. We have consistently placed students in tenure track faculty positions in quality academic institutions; recent academic placements include Appalachian State University, Auburn University, Bowling Green State University, Dayton University, Kuwait University, Louisiana Tech, Queensland Technological University, Ryerson University, Sam Houston State University, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Nevada and the University of New Hampshire.

Our graduates have also received non-academic appointments in research divisions of reputed international organizations, banks, corporate firms and economics think tanks; recent placements include the Anti Trust Section of the Texas Attorney General's Office, the Bank of International Settlements, the Bureau of the Budget in Thailand, Countrywide Home Loans, Exxon Mobil, Fannie Mae, IMPAQ International, the Korea Capital Market Institute, Korea Development Institute (KDI), the Maverick Capital Group, National City Bank, Price Waterhouse Cooper, TXU, Walt Disney and the World Bank.

The high quality of our Ph.D. program is also reflected in the impressive publication record of our graduates. Recent graduates have published in reputed professional journals including Applied Economic Letters, Econometrics Journal, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Economics of Education Review, Empirical Economics, European Journal of Public Economy, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, International Economic Review, Journal of Economics, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of International Trade and Economic Development, Journal of Macroeconomics, Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Journal of Urban Economics, Oxford Bulletin in Economics and Statistics, Public Choice, Review of International Economics, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Southern Economic Journal and The B. E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy.