Ph.D. Program

A Ph.D. In Economics From SMU

The Ph.D. program in Economics at SMU is over fifty years old with an established reputation in the profession for providing rigorous training in both theory and econometrics. 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 but we are particularly strong in microeconomics – both theoretical and applied (including labor economics and industrial organization), applied econometrics and monetary economics. Recent additions to our faculty continue to add new areas of strength including economic growth & development and experimental economics. 

US Ranking

Our PhD program has been consistently ranked highly (despite its small size). According to the National Research Council (NRC) ranking of Ph.D. programs in Economics (, published in 2010 the upper rank of our PhD program is as high as 37 in terms of quality and research productivity.  In terms of per faculty publication the upper rank is as high as 6.


A majority of students entering the program receive financial support in the form of teaching or research assistantships. In addition, all Ph.D. students that pass the qualifying examinations (at the end of their first year) receive research or teaching assistantships. Unlike many other schools, these assistantships do not involve any classroom teaching, carry a relatively light workload and cover all tuitions, fees as well as health insurance (in addition to a competitive stipend).

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.