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Doctoral Program

Why Michigan?


The discipline of economics has become increasingly technical, focused on arcane abstractions, often failing to connect with the messiness of economics as it works in the “real” world. Michigan stands apart as a department which champions the view that the cutting-edge theoretical and empirical methods of economics can and should be used for understanding and improving the world in which we live. The faculty of the Department of Economics is committed to pursuing economic knowledge that contributes to solving significant social problems. The commitment to applied, relevant economics does not shun the development of new theoretical or statistical methods. Rather, rigorous analysis of problems requires fresh insights from theory and econometrics.


Michigan is a full-service department, offering fields in virtually all specializations of modern economics including microeconomic theory, econometrics, macroeconomics, finance, history, international economics, development, public finance, industrial organization, labor, and natural resources. Many faculty, and the students who work with them, collaborate with other programs on campus including the Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Public Health, the Institute for Social Research, the Ross School of Business, and the School of Information. With over 50 faculty actively engaged in research in the department, and an equal number in other programs on campus, graduate students can pursue a wide variety of specializations.

Career development

Michigan is rightfully proud of its placement record. For decades, every doctoral student that has graduated from the Department of Economics has obtained a position working as a professional economist. Many have gone on to careers in academic institutions. Others have pursued careers in public policy or at premier liberal arts colleges. What explains our success in placement? First, our students are well trained. Michigan students leave the program with expertise in economics as it is practiced in the top research and teaching institutions in the world. Second, we run a comprehensive placement service that prepares students for interviews, seminars, and campus visits. Third, preparation for the job market is a multi-year process that begins the day students enter our program.


Ann Arbor is a great place to live (Don’t believe us? Check out the variety of rankings of our city!), and the department is a great place to work. Faculty and graduate students are actively present in Lorch Hall. The department runs more weekly departmental seminars and student brown bags than it is possible to attend. The Graduate Economic Society is an active student organization that participates in setting policies for the graduate program and sponsors various activities designed to broaden the outlook and perspective of students as prospective Ph.D. economists.


The University of Michigan is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse faculty and student body that reflect a wide range of cultures, ethnicities, perspectives and experiences. We believe that a wealth of knowledge comes from our students’ backgrounds, their educational history, their gender, their prior work/research experience and a variety of experiences. Graduates of the doctoral program have come from countries across the globe and from all regions of the United States.

Want to join us?

Admission is limited to students whose record shows a capacity for advanced work in the field of economics. An economics major is not a prerequisite, but some previous training in economics is essential. Training in calculus, linear algebra, differential equations and probability and statistics is also essential. Grades received in these courses are important factors in the admission decision. When appraising an applicant's scholarly promise, the faculty considers the academic record as well as letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, the results of the Graduate Record Examination and other experience.

Please see further information on our Application Process and FAQs on how to best prepare an application to the University of Michigan’s Economics PhD program!