PhD Program

Information about tuition fees and financial assistance can be found here.

The Ph.D program is normally open only to holders of an M.A. in Economics. Successful completion of the McGill M.A. does not automatically qualify students for admission to the PhD. McGill M.A. students must make formal application to the Graduate Admissions Committee. New incoming Ph.D. students must take ECON 709 Microeconomic Theory 3, ECON 711 Microeconomic Theory 2, ECON 712 Macroeconomic Theory 1, ECON 713 Macroeconomic Theory 2,  ECON 662D1/D2 Econometrics, and ECON 701 PhD Comprehensive Examination. 

Candidates admitted to the "Ph.D 2" year must satisfy four requirements: 1) coursework; 2) the Ph.D Written Comprehensive examination; 3) the "third field"; and 4) the dissertation and oral defense. Students with an outstanding academic record, but without an M.A. in Economics, may be admitted to the "Ph.D 1" year. They must complete the course work for the M.A. Non-Thesis option before proceeding to Ph.D 2. 

The norm is that students enter in PhD 2. There are then 6 mandatory terms of full-time residency, which usually comprise the fall and winter terms of the first three years, ie:

Fall year 1: full time; Winter year 1: full time; Summer year 1: continuing

Fall year 2: full time; Winter year 2: full time; Summer year 2: continuing

Fall year 3: full time; Winter year 3: full time; Summer year 3: continuing

After these mandatory years of full time status, it is possible to complete the program.  

So after your third year is complete, registration looks like this:

Fall year 4: additional session*; Winter year 4: additional session; Summer year 4: additional session

Fall year 5: additional session 

*additional session fees are payable every term (ie including summer), whereas you only pay fees for the fall and winter terms during the first three residency terms.  

This continues until the Summer year 6 (PhD 7) term, which is the last permitted term of registration before being in time limitation.  Additional explanation can be found on the student accounts website and in the ecalendar

Coursework: Students entering the Ph.D 2 year will be required to take up to 12 graduate level courses over two years of study. The immediate aims of coursework at the Ph.D level are to prepare students to be able to pass their comprehensive exams, to help them find a thesis topic and to give them the necessary skills to undertake research on their thesis.

Ph.D Comprehensive Examinations: All Ph.D 2 students take their written Macroeconomic and Microeconomic Theory Comprehensive examinations at the end of the year in May. If they fail either of the two (or both), they would re-do them within a minimum of four (4) months and a maximum of six (6) months. In such circumstances the grade of HH (to be continued) will be used. In the event of a second failure, a grade of F will be reported to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the student will be withdrawn from the University. The comprehensive exams are denoted by ECON 701: Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination. Students register only once for the comprehensives.  

Third field: In addition to the two fields examined in the comprehensives, a third field is required. As noted above, however, it is satisfied by course requirements. Use of econometrics as the third field requires two courses at the 700 level over and above ECON 662D1 Econometrics / ECON 662D2 Econometrics.

Failure policy: A student will be required to withdraw from the University if he/she has two course failures or two comprehensive failures. A course failure is a failure to achieve the graduate passing grade of B- in (i) any course; (ii) any supplemental exam associated with a course; (iii) a re-taking of a course. Each instance is deemed to be a new failure, even if the second instance is in a supplemental associated with the same course as the initial failure. A comprehensive exam failure is a failure to achieve the passing grade in (i) the macro/micro comprehensive exam or (ii) either of the two field comprehensive exams. Each instance is deemed to be a new failure, even if a second instance is in the same exam as the initial failure. Notice that as long as the Macro/Micro comprehensive exams are taken during the same comprehensive exam period, ( i.e., either in May or during the retake) they are considered a single exam and therefore failing one or both of them will be considered as a single failure. See this webpage for course failure and comps failure webpage

Third-year paper and oral defense: Ph.D students who have completed their comprehensive exams are required to participate in ECON 770 PhD Research Seminar 1 and ECON 771 PhD Research Seminar 2. The objective of this course is to ease the transition from consuming to producing research. The final goal is to write, submit to the department, and present a paper. Ideally, this paper should serve as a starting point for the dissertation. The dates for submission and presentation will be determined on a year-by-year basis by the faculty member in charge.

About a month before the thesis is ready for initial submission, the supervisor should consult with his/her student and identify one or more potential examiners who are qualified to examine the thesis. Initial contact can be made by phone or email, as deemed most efficient. Please consult Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) website for details regarding thesis formatting.

Open only to PhD students PhD students who have completed their first year of studies may take select courses at other Montreal universities. More information on joint offerings is available here.


Supervision website

The Supervision: Graduate and Postdoctoral Support website offers research and evidence-based advice to graduate students and their supervisors on how to work together effectively and avoid common problems in supervision.

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