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Graduate Studies Calendar 2014-2015 Program Descriptions Economics ECON
Economics - ECON
Contact Information

Location: Social Sciences Building, Room 454
Program number: 403.220.6064
Fax: 403.282.5262
Email address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Arts (MA), thesis-based and course-based

There is a requirement of full-time study for the course-based and thesis-based Master of Arts and doctoral programs.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Arts

a) A minimum of four full-course equivalent economics courses. These must include the equivalent of Economics 395/495/497 (econometrics), Economics 387/389 (mathematics for economists), Economics 557 (senior microeconomics), and Economics 559 (senior macroeconomics), with at least a “B” average in senior economics courses.

b) Three reference letters.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) The requirements listed above for the Master of Arts program. Doctoral candidates may require greater proficiency in Mathematics.

b) A Master of Arts degree in Economics or its equivalent, with a high level of proficiency in Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory, and Econometrics. If courses have been taken more than five years ago, students may be required to upgrade their knowledge in these fields.

c) Three reference letters.

3. Application Deadline

Deadline for submission of complete applications is January 15 for September admission.

4. Advanced Credit

The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Arts requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Arts (thesis-based)

a) For students holding an Honours Economics degree with credits in Economics 387, 389, 395, 495, 497, 557, and 559 or their equivalents, the completion of three full graduate courses in Economics. Such students may be able to complete the degree in one year. In special cases the Department may allow students to substitute one full or two half courses from a related discipline for one of the elective graduate courses in Economics.

b) For students without an Honours Economics degree or students whose Honours degree in Economics does not include the undergraduate courses specified in (a) or their equivalents, the completion of such courses as are required to raise their competence to the appropriate level. Graduate course requirements for such students are the same as in (a). Such students may be able to complete the degree in two years.

c) The completion of Economics 615, 657, and 659 unless one or more of them is explicitly exempted by the requirements for a specialization.

d) Successful completion and examination of the MA thesis (in accord with examination procedures of the Faculty of Graduate Studies).

Master of Arts (course-based)

The departmental academic requirements for the course-based Master of Arts degree are comparable to those for the thesis-based Master of Arts specified above. The differences in the course-based program are:

a) The thesis requirement is replaced by two additional full graduate courses (making a total of five full courses).

b) The number of full courses from a related discipline are increased to one and one-half of the elective graduate courses in Economics.

c) A research paper. The topic may be a limited empirical research project, a critical review of the literature in a particular area, or a critical analysis of a theoretical or important policy problem.

d) An exit requirement consisting of a research defence in an open conference and if unsuccessful a comprehensive written examination.

Master of Arts (thesis-based or course-based) with a Specialization in Health Economics

a) The completion of Economics 679 and 681 as two of the six half courses required in the thesis-based program, or as two of the ten half courses required in the course-based program.

b) Students may be excused from the requirement that they take Economics 659. However, if they are contemplating continuing on to a doctoral program, they are cautioned that most doctoral programs will require a course that is equivalent to Economics 659.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Economics requires that doctoral students take twelve half courses. Required courses include two courses each in econometrics, Economics 615 and 715, microeconomic theory, Economics 657 and 757, and macroeconomic theory, Economics 659 and 759. In addition, students must take six half courses in “field” areas. Doctoral students must also write a second-year research paper. See the department website for further information. Students are also recommended to take a non-credit one-week course in the Fall Session Block Week (the week prior to the start of classes) of the first year in Mathematical Economics. The Department allows for the possibility that master's-level courses and course work taken at other institutions may be substituted for some of the required doctoral courses. Decisions concerning course substitutions and the transferability of graduate courses from other institutions are made on a case-by-case basis. Students are advised that the comprehensive theory examinations, which are required of all doctoral students, include material from the core courses listed above.

6. Additional Requirements


7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Credit is not given for undergraduate courses.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time for students studying on a full-time basis is two years for the Master of Arts thesis-based and one year course-based, and four years for the Doctor of Philosophy. Maximum completion time is four years for the Master of Arts (thesis-based and course-based) and six years for the Doctor of Philosophy.

9. Supervisory Assignments

The process by which students are matched with supervisors is an informal one, based on mutual research interest.

10. Required Examinations

Doctor of Philosophy
Doctoral students are required to pass a written comprehensive examination in each of Microeconomic Theory and Macroeconomic Theory. Each examination will be three hours long. These examinations shall be scheduled in May of their first year. In August, students who fail one or more of the comprehensive theory examinations shall be given a second opportunity to pass those examinations they failed. Students who do not pass their comprehensive theory examinations by the second sitting shall be required to withdraw from the program.

Doctoral students must pass an Oral Candidacy examination. The examination is based on general research knowledge, the second-year research paper and the thesis research proposal.

Students who do not pass their oral candidacy examination by the twenty-eighth month of their program shall be required to withdraw from the program.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

Doctoral students are required to have a thesis proposal approved by the department before the candidacy examination.

12. Special Registration Information

Not applicable.

13. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to qualified students. For information on awards, please see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar. Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to the Department by February 1.

To be eligible for funding beyond the first year, a student must pass all comprehensive theory examinations by the beginning of classes of their second year. To be eligible for funding beyond the Fall Term of the third year, a student must receive a passing grade on their second-year research paper and their oral candidacy examination by the beginning of Winter Term in their third year.

14. Other Information

Graduate students must obtain a grade standing of “B” or better in graduate course work. A grade of “B-“ or less will trigger a departmental review of the student’s suitability for the graduate program and may result in a loss of funding

15. Faculty Members/Research Interests

The active research interests of the current faculty can be found at: