PhD Program in Applied Economics and Management

PhD Program Requirements

Please note: The following are general requirements for the Applied Economics and Management PhD program. Each student should check with their Special Committee for additional course requirements, and students should also check with the Dyson School’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and the Graduate Field Assistant for additional requirements of the Graduate School and the Applied Economics and Management (AEM) Graduate Field.

  1. Special Committee: The Graduate School requires that Applied Economics and Management PhD students must select the chair of their Special Committee by the end of the third week of their first semester. By the end of the 3rd semester you must have your three member committee consisting of your chair and two minor members. The chair needs to be a member of the graduate field of Applied Economics and Management. A student can ask for an extension if more time is needed (please see the AEM PhD handbook for details).
  2. Dyson School/Applied Economics and Policy (AEP) seminars: All PhD students are encouraged to attend weekly Applied Economics & Policy Seminars as well as seminars organized by different fields (such as Development Economics, and Sustainable Environmental, Energy and Resource Economics). The schedule for the AEP seminars can be found here.
  3. Registration units: To earn a Cornell PhD, a student must be registered for a minimum of six full-time academic semesters (which requires a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester). The AEM PhD degree completion usually takes 10 semesters of study, and students are expected to finish all their required courses by end of their fourth semester. Students must also maintain a meaningful engagement with the Cornell academic community (attendance and active participation in various workshops and seminars on campus, as an example).
  4. A grade of B- or better is required in all of the following mandatory courses during the first year of the PhD economics program: AEM 7010AEM 7020, AEM 7021, AEM 7100, ECON 6090, ECON 6170, and ECON 6190. During the second year of the PhD program, all students must take one macroeconomics course (ECON 6130 or AEM 7040), one additional econometrics class (ECON 7200, ECON 7230, PAM 6090, PAM 6091), Applied Microeconomics Research (AEM 7150 and AEM 7151) and at least six credits of elective courses in the student’s major area of specialization [Environment, Energy and Resource Economics (EERE), Food and Agricultural Economics (FAE), International and Development Economics (IDE), and Management (MGMT)].
    Note: The AEM Graduate Field requires students to receive a minimum grade of B- in each course (required or elective) to be in good academic standing. For continued financial aid, however, the AEM Graduate Field requires that students receive at most one B- per semester.
  5. Passing grade on the graduate field of Applied Economics and Management qualifying examination (also called the “Q” exam), usually taken at the end of the second semester. The Q-exam is based on material covered in AEM 7010 and AEM 7100 (combined); AEM 7020 and AEM 7021. Students have 2 attempts to pass all the 3 components of the Q-exam.
  6. Mentored research paper (AEM 7150): The paper should address an applied economics issue and should be of quality to eventually be publishable in a top field journal. Work should begin in the summer following the first year of the qualifying exam. Passing grade is required on the research paper in the summer following the second year of the PhD program.
  7. Admission to candidacy exam (also called the “A” exam) is taken at the completion of the required coursework, although this does not preclude taking courses after the “A” exam.
  8. Final oral dissertation examination (also called the “B” exam). Please note: The Graduate School requires two full-time semesters of course study between the “A” exam and the “B” exam.
  9. Submission of PhD dissertation.

Applied Economics PhD Coursework Template

Year 1

Fall Semester

ECON 6090 (Microeconomic Theory I)
ECON 6170 (Intermediate Mathematical Economics I)
ECON 6190 (Econometrics I)
AEM 7010 (Applied Microeconomics I)

Spring Semester

AEM 7020 (Applied Microeconomics II: Game Theory)
AEM 7021 (Applied Microeconomics III: Applied General Equilibrium Analysis)
AEM 7100 (Applied Econometrics)

Year 2

Fall Semester

AEM 7150 (Applied Microeconomic Research I)
Either ECON 6130 (Macroeconomics I) or AEM 7040
Econometrics Elective (ECON 7200, ECON 7230, PAM 6090 or PAM 6091)
Major Area Elective(s)

Spring Semester

Econometrics Elective (ECON 7200, ECON 7230, PAM 6090 or PAM 6091)
Major Area Elective(s)

Please Note

  1. Students on a teaching or research assistantship should expect three credit hours of time will need to be allocated to the teaching or research assistantship each semester.
  2. Courses necessary for each major and minor are determined by the student’s Special Committee. Some concentrations (e.g., Finance) require written qualifying examinations.