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PhD in Economics

“Minnesota is one of the finest economics departments in the world. The training is very rigorous and students are encouraged to integrate cutting edge techniques to their applied work. The department has an intense, yet friendly environment. It was a great place to earn a PhD.”
— Patrick Bajari, Vice President and Chief Economist, and UMN PhD, 1997

The PhD program at the University of Minnesota focuses on preparing students for careers as research economists. Our courses will provide you with the tools you need to conduct research and our workshop system will guide you through the dissertation writing process. While in the workshops you will not only benefit from the experience of presenting your research before your fellow students and faculty, you will also see other students go through the same process and learn to give constructive feedback of your own. Our emphasis on cooperative learning helps students build lifelong research partnerships with each other and with faculty. We believe our strong placement record is a reflection of our approach to academics.

Our environment continues to be a fertile ground for frontier-pushing research. Past work has led to several Nobel Prizes. Lars Peter Hansen, class of 1978, received the Nobel Prize in 2013 for his work on the Generalized Method of Moments. Daniel McFadden, class of 1964, received the Nobel Prize in 2000 for “development of the theory and methods for analyzing discrete choice.” Two of our recent graduates, Connan Snider (2010) and Thomas Youle (2014), were the first to show evidence of “fraudulent actions” on the London Interbank Offered Rate using data and a simple theoretical model of collusion, leading to the discovery of the biggest financial scandal ever.

The faculty here want to help you produce a thesis that makes a valuable contribution to economic literature and allows you to go on to a productive career that will reflect favorably on the University of Minnesota. Taking advantage of their interests by bringing your research ideas to them for reaction is beneficial to you as a student. The earlier you start to think about engaging in research, the sooner you will begin to develop productive and interesting ideas that can lead to a thesis.

If you have specific questions about our program, please contact the Economics Graduate Studies Office. They will be happy to answer your questions about our admissions process, course offerings, or your fit to the program. The Graduate Studies Office cannot evaluate your chances of admission without receiving a complete application. You can contact the Graduate Studies Office by phone at 612-625-6833 or by email at

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