Section 1

Ph.D. & Ph.D. Track

One of the central aims of the MSPE Program is to provide the research-oriented students with the necessary background in economics, statistics, and mathematics to gain admission to Ph.D. programs in economics and related fields at the University of Illinois or elsewhere. We have instituted two mechanisms for achieving this.

  1. Regular path: Students are advised and sent to take courses in the areas required by Ph.D. admission committees. Subsequently, in the fall of their second year in the program, the students are personally advised by the program's director as to which departments they should apply to, and how, in order to maximize the likelihood of their admission. The director will also write letters of recommendation for them to help them gain admission. This hands-on approach has enabled many of the MSPE students to enter excellent Ph.D. programs all over the world.

    Some students decide to apply to universities after completion of their master's degree and working for a few years. The program also helps them by providing them with advice and letters.

    A partial list of the universities to whose Ph.D. programs the MSPE students have gained admission is found here.

  2. The Ph.D. track: This is a very innovative and unique feature of the MSPE Program designed for students with a strong background in economics, quantitative methods, and English, and with excellent GRE scores. This feature has two great advantages for students:

    • It allows the more advanced students to automatically transfer to our economics Ph.D. program.
    • By taking Ph.D. level courses in their second-year of study in the MSPE Program, the Ph.D. track students reduce the time necessary to complete the Ph.D. program by one year.

    Placement of students in the Ph.D. track is solely at the discretion of the director of the MSPE Program who determines each student's adeptness and eligibility for it. All selected students must satisfy the following requirements to remain in the Ph.D. track.

Ph.D. Track Procedures

  1. First year, fall semester:
    • Courses: Microeconomic Theory I (Econ 530, Section B1 for non-econ Ph.D. students), Econometrics Analysis I (Econ 532, for econ Ph.D. students), Introduction to Game Theory (Econ 505).
    • Grades: A GPA of 3.5 or above in Econ 530 and 532, and a grade of A- or above in Econ 505.
  2. First year, spring semester:
    • Courses: Econometrics (Econ 503), Macroeconomics (Econ 501) plus one or two MSPE electives.
    • Grades: An overall GPA of 3.8 or above at the end of first year (in addition to the first semester grade requirements).
  3. Second year, fall semester:
    • Courses: Microeconomic Theory I (Econ 530, Section A1 for econ Ph.D. students), Macroeconomic Theory I (Econ 531), and one MSPE elective.
    • Grades: A GPA of 3.5 or above for the semester. (If the GPA requirement is not satisfied, students can petition the director of the Ph.D. program to remain in the Ph.D. track. He/she will review the petition and decide whether or not to grant the permission and set any additional conditions.)
  4. Second year, spring semester:
    • Courses: Microeconomic Theory II (Econ 533), Macroeconomic Theory II (Econ 534), Econometrics Analysis II (Econ 535).
  5. Ph.D. qualifying exams:
    • To formally transfer to the Ph.D. program, the Ph.D. track students, upon completing their second year courses, will have to pass Ph.D. qualifying exams in core courses (microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics). These are the same qualifying exams that the students in the Ph.D. program have to take and pass in order to remain in the Ph.D. program. They are typically offered in June and September.
  6. Other:
    • Failure at any stage results in the student to revert back to the master's track (no exceptions).
    • If a student reverts back to the master's track, he/she must satisfy the program's degree requirements in order to receive an M.S. degree.
    • Econ 530 (Section B1) and Econ 500 are counted as one course for satisfying the minimum of 10 graduate courses in the MSPE Program.
    • Econ 501 and Econ 531 are counted as one course for satisfying the minimum of 10 graduate courses in the MSPE Program.