Economics

Stock Market

A Unique Opportunity for Ph.D. Education

Clark's Ph.D. program in economics offers students the unique opportunity to earn a Ph.D. in the setting of a liberal arts and research university. These advantages include small classes, ready access to faculty who have published in leading journals in their fields, and an intellectual environment where differences in disciplinary approaches need not serve as barriers to learning. The program has been granting Ph.D.s since the 1930s, and its graduates have developed successful careers in teaching, research, and business.

Economics Ph.D. Learning Outcomes

  • Master core theoretical material.  Students will achieve mastery of the theoretical material covered in the core PhD courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics.
  • Identify and synthesize existing knowledge.  Students will be able to find existing economics journal articles on a given topic, identify the connections between the articles, and prepare a detailed literature review, summarizing the existing state of knowledge in that area.
  • Apply economic theory to specific topics.  Students will be able to use their knowledge of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory to develop economic models and apply them to specific research questions.
  • Conduct empirical research.  Students will be able to develop testable hypotheses, based on economic models, collect the necessary data, and apply appropriate econometric techniques to test those hypotheses.  Students will be able to interpret correctly the results of their analyses, and summarize the key points of their findings.
  • Communicate effectively in written and oral presentations.  Students will be able to write research papers that effectively communicate their research results.  Students will be able to present economic arguments and analysis to an audience.
  • Advance the state of knowledge.  Students will complete an acceptable PhD dissertation that advances the state of knowledge in their field.

Program Focus

The program structure emphasizes the development of the theoretical understanding and empirical skills required to carry out research in applied economic analysis. Already in their second year, students have opportunities to conduct and present original research. The early emphasis on research helps students move rapidly after reaching the dissertation stage. This emphasis also assists Clark Ph.D.s in their job search.

The Clark program develops basic skills in economic theory and econometrics as well as in research. All students complete two semesters in introductory statistics and econometrics, two semesters of microeconomic theory and two semesters of macroeconomic theory. In addition, they specialize in two fields, each consisting of two to three semesters of coursework, and take additional course work in two electives. The Clark program regularly offers students specializations in four fields:

  •   International Economics
  •   Spatial Environmental Economics
  •   Applied Econometrics
  •   Development Economics

Other fields are occasionally offered and it is possible to combine related courses into a field, subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Elective graduate courses are offered in a variety of areas, including urban economics, industrial organization and labor economics. These courses are offered contingent on faculty and student interest.

Research Dissertations

The list of dissertations provides an overview of the exciting research in applied economics being conducted by Clark Ph.D. students. The congenial size of the program and the emphasis at Clark on high-quality teaching also offer students opportunities to cross field boundaries in their own research. Combinations of trade and industrial organization or environmental economics and economic development are two examples of how Clark Ph.D. students can draw on insights and techniques in related fields for their research.