Earn Your Doctorate at the Dyson School—An Innovative, Immersive PhD Program

Prepare for research-rich careers in academia and industry.

Offered by the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, this PhD program is fully funded, fully residential—and fully designed to prepare you to tackle today’s most pressing economics issues. 

Earning a doctoral-level degree opens you up to exciting opportunities, whether you plan to teach at the college level, want to pursue a research-related career in industry, or wish to use your skills and knowledge in the nonprofit sector.


Why Earn a PhD in Applied Economics and Management at the Dyson School?

Considered one of the best applied economics PhD programs in the nation for research output, the Dyson School’s doctoral offering combines Ivy League rigor, experiential learning, and faculty mentorship. Here are just a few ways our program is unique among applied economics PhDs:

Fully Funded

All applied economics PhD students receive full tuition assistance, plus health insurance and a stipend for all five years

STEM-Designated

Our program prepares you to be a researcher in today’s technologically advanced, big-data-focused landscape.

Flexible and Focused

Choose an industry-focused concentration area, such as food and agricultural economics.

Experience-Rich

Partnerships across Cornell give you unprecedented teaching and research opportunities.

Program Overview: The PhD in Applied Economics and Management at a Glance

Here’s a quick overview of the AEM PhD program, from degree type to program duration:

Degree Awarded

PhD in Applied Economics and Management

Location

Ithaca, NY

Program Format

Full-time residential and STEM-designated

Program Duration

Five years


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Our Curriculum: PhD Course Requirements

The first two years of the PhD in applied economics and management program include foundational coursework in areas such as economic theory, applied econometrics, and macroeconomic research. Then, you’ll progress into general electives, as well as electives related to your concentration area.

The heart of the PhD program is your dissertation, and this faculty-mentored, research-based project will be the focus of your final three years in the program.

View PhD in AEM Degree Requirements

PhD in AEM Concentrations: Developing Your Expertise

As a doctoral student at the Dyson School, you’ll choose one of four concentrations. As you take electives and engage with faculty in one of these research areas, you’ll begin to home in on your own area of expertise. Within this concentration, you’ll develop your dissertation idea and form your special faculty committee.

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Environmental, Energy, and Resource Economics (EERE)

Discover how the economy and the environment interconnect. This concentration covers a wide range of existing and emerging environmental issues. EERE students gain environmental economics experience through our partnerships with the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and the Cornell Institute for China Economic Research.

Faculty expertise in the environmental, energy, and resource economics PhD concentration area includes:

  • Climate change
  • Air and water quality
  • Policy evaluation
  • Transportation
  • Renewable and nonrenewable energy
A bike delivery person picking up a box of produce from a stand.

Food and Agricultural Economics (FAE)

Explore every aspect of the food chain, from farm to market to consumer. Not only will you get to work with experts at the Dyson School, but with our connection to Cornell’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Food Industry Management Program (FIMP), you have unparalleled access to a broad range of experts, including natural scientists, farmers, and food retailers.

Faculty expertise in the food and agricultural economics PhD concentration area includes:

  • Agricultural finance
  • Behavioral economics
  • Food retailing and marketing
  • Farm management
Facade of an apartment building with clothes handing on the balconies.

International & Development Economics (IDE)

Find solutions to market challenges around the world. This concentration will expand your knowledge of pressing societal issues, including poverty, public health, and agriculture. Teaching and research opportunities for IDE students include the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition, the Emerging Markets Institute, and the Einaudi Center for International Studies.

Faculty expertise in the international and development economics PhD concentration area includes:

  • Poverty and inequity
  • Nutrition and urbanization
  • Public works programs
  • Resilience measurement
  • Labor markets

Management (MGMT)

Dive into the science of management in industries of all kinds. Concentrating in management gives you flexibility in building your academic plan, including hundreds of electives and endless possibilities for dissertation research topics. Our faculty members have an incredible range of scholarly and professional experience, our management concentration highlights three core areas:

View from the ground looking up at tall buildings and the blue sky.Real Estate Economics (REE)

Faculty in this area examine issues related to real estate and urban development. Research interests include:

  • Commercial real estate finance
  • Investment performance
  • Tall buildings
  • Valuation

A woman in a cream suit sits a table with a laptop open in front of her talking to another woman.Strategy and Business Economics (SBE)

Faculty in this area explore a range of strategy-related questions. Their research interests include:

  • Digitization
  • Human capital management
  • Organizational economics

A man sits in front of three computer screens talking on a cellphone.Finance

Faculty in this area focus on empirical finance issues. Research interests include:

  • Climate finance
  • Household finance
  • Asset pricing
  • Financial institutions

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Benefits of a STEM-Designated PhD in Applied Economics and Management

A longtime innovator in economics education, the Dyson School has always prepared its students for the changing marketplace. Our STEM-designated PhD program takes that to another level by ensuring our graduate-level curriculum gives you the technical competencies demanded of today’s researchers. Your studies will cover applied econometrics, machine learning, programming, and other emerging areas relevant to business. 

The STEM designation offers additional benefits to Dyson School students on an F-1 visa, including the opportunity for extended learning and professional experiences in the United States.


After the PhD: Careers in Academia and Industry

A senior data scientist at Citibank. A research agricultural economist at the US Department of Agriculture. An assistant professor at Hong Kong University of Technology. 

Dyson School PhD graduates take their research experience into academia and industry. As scholars, they teach and continue their research at institutions across the US and abroad. They also serve in high-profile economist, data scientist, advisor, and related roles at organizations from federal agencies to global financial services firms to nongovernmental organizations. 

VIEW PhD in AEM CAREER OUTCOMES

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Your Dissertation: Putting Ideas into Action

Intellectual curiosity at the Dyson School is strong. Our PhD students devote their research to economics and management topics spanning sectors and industries. Dissertations in recent history take a deep dive into issues such as:

  • Tax policy, public health, and government spending
  • Food safety and consumer demand in China
  • Business process innovation in commercial firms
  • Impact of fintech in agricultural economics
Explore Student Research

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Our Faculty: Research with Industry-Leading Scholars

As a PhD student at the Dyson School, you’ll work alongside some of the most brilliant minds in economics and management. In addition to receiving individual mentorship, you’ll get to build your own special faculty committee—an advisory group that will guide you through every step of your dissertation.

Throughout the program—from foundation courses to electives across Cornell—you will learn from award-winning educators, widely published scholars, and industry-leading practitioners.

Meet Dyson Faculty

Natasha Jha smiles in a white top and blazer with green trees in the background.

“One of my favorite aspects of the PhD in Applied Economics and Management program was the abundance of seminars and the regular hosting of conferences. The wide range of seminars and the frequency of conferences created an intellectually stimulating environment and facilitated thought-provoking discussions with experts and peers.” — Natasha Jha ’23


The PhD Student Experience: Living and Learning at the Dyson School

When you join the Dyson School, you will become part of a vibrant, collaborative learning community dedicated to positively impacting people around the world through economic and management research.

Our Community

As a PhD student at Dyson, you will make meaningful connections across campus and beyond. You’ll learn from a world-class faculty, engage with ambitious peers, receive close research mentorship, and have access to a broad range of academic and career support services.

See More Reasons to Choose Dyson

Our Campus

With historic buildings, modern learning spaces, beautiful scenery, and plenty of amenities, Cornell is an amazing place to live and learn. We’d love to show you around campus, whether you meet us in person at an admissions event or join us for an online tour.

Explore our Ithaca Campus

Our Expertise

Our faculty are experts in many areas but perhaps most notably for consulting, consumer packaged goods, financial services, technology, and agribusiness. The breadth and depth of our knowledge is especially helpful as you pursue your doctoral research. 

Discover our Industry Advantages

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Admissions Overview: How to Apply to the PhD in Applied Economics and Management Program

The ideal candidate for the Dyson School’s applied economics PhD program will have a thorough knowledge of economic theory and quantitative methods, as well as a background in calculus and real analysis. Our admissions page has more details about eligibility requirements, deadlines, and materials you need to submit with your application.

View Admissions Requirements
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Applied Economics FAQ: Your PhD Questions Answered

As you research and compare applied economics PhD programs, you probably have questions about program length, the admissions process, dissertation requirements, career possibilities, and more. Explore the answers to frequently asked questions to help you learn more about the Dyson School’s program.

Visit our FAQ

Next Steps: Apply to the Dyson School PhD in AEM

Ready to apply to our highly selective, fully funded PhD in Applied Economics and Management? We encourage you to officially start the application process today at the Cornell Graduate Admissions website.