Our Ph.D. program is notable for its blend of advanced economic theory and applied
policy analysis, provided in the context of a small graduate program with emphasis
on quality teaching that assures close association with fellow students and professors.
At Nebraska, economists are trained in applied economic analysis in graduate programs
that begin with solid technical training in economic theory and quantitative methods
and progress to applications of those tools in selected fields. Graduates are employed
in college and university teaching positions as well as in research and consulting
for business and government.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was the first school west of the Mississippi River to
formally establish a graduate school and doctoral degrees in economics have been awarded
at the University of Nebraska for over 100 years.
A core program consisting of courses in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, and
econometrics is required of all candidates. In addition to the core program, all candidates
study two major fields of specialization (see below). The degree requires not less than 48
hours of course work, successfully completing a qualifying exam in economic theory and comprehensive
exams in two fields of specialization, and writing a doctoral dissertation on an original topic.
- Economics 815, Analytic Methods (Mathematical Economics), (1-3 credits)
- Statistics 880 or 882 (3 credits)
The core courses are provided to assure that students receive solid training in
economic theory and econometrics. Students demonstrate mastery of theory by passing
the Qualifying Examination in Advanced Economic Theory and mastery of econometrics
by earning at least a B in each course.
- Economics 912A and 912B, Microeconomics I and II (6 credits)
- Economics 911A and 911B, Macroeconomics I and II (6 credits)
- Economics 917, 918 and 819, Econometrics I, II and III (9 credits)
A major field of concentration in economics is required. The field requires a minimum
of six hours of course work at the Ph. D. level and a research paper in the form of
journal article accepted by the student's committee.
An optional second field may be taken. The requirement is six hours of course work at the Ph.D. level.
- Field I (≥ 6 credits)
- Field II (≥ 6 credits)
Students may include electives within economics or cognate areas.
Students must demonstrate ability to conduct research by writing an original dissertation
and defending that dissertation in an oral examination. At least 12 hours and up to 42 credit hours may
be used for this purpose.
- Total Course Work (≥ 48 credits)
- Dissertation Work (≥ 12 credits, maximum ≤ 55)
- Grand Total (≥ 90 credits)
- Economic Education
- Feminist Economics
- International Trade and Development
- Labor Economics
- Public and Urban Economics
Members of the economics
faculty have published a wide variety of books and have made important contributions
to national and international journals in economics. Excellence in teaching is also
a trademark of the department. Numerous awards for distinguished teaching have been
received at the University and national levels by the faculty. The department offers
a variety of fields of specialization but is sufficiently small to allow for substantial
individual and informal contact between graduate students and their professors.
After successful completion of the first year qualifying examination, each student is
assigned to work with a faculty member on research.
The department does not employ a rigid formula for admission, but we expect excellent
undergraduate (or graduate if applicable) records in economics, mathematics and statistics.
We expect excellent GRE scores,
TOEFL scores (when applicable) and strong letters of recommendation.
At the minimum, Ph.D. students are expected
to have intermediate level training in economics (both macroeconomics and microeconomics)
in their backgrounds. In addition, Ph.D. students are expected to have strong mathematical
backgrounds including at least two semesters of calculus, a course in linear (matrix) algebra,
and a course in mathematical statistics. Differential equations and Math Analysis are also
recommended Any course deficiencies must be removed prior to the first semester of enrollment.
- Apply online at
the Office of Graduate Studies and submit the application fee.
- The next day you will receive instructions for the
UNL GAMES application system. Please note: All application materials (except
transcripts and finance resource certification) must be submitted electronically.
Do not send paper recommendation forms.
Three letters of reference are required and should be submitted through
GAMES (Graduate Admission Management and Evaluation System)
Please submit a Statement of Purpose outlining goals and objectives for studying
economics at the graduate level.
- Statement of Purpose must be sumitted through
You should register to take the GRE (standard test)
and have the results forwarded to UNL (use institution code 6877). You should also submit your scores through
International students should also include a TOEFL score (minimum score of 550
written, 213 computer based or 80 iBT (use institution code
6877)) or 6.5 IELTS. Guidelines for international
students can be found at
International applicants will be required to submit evidence of spoken English ability
to be considered for teaching assistantships.
Applications are evaluated as received. Applications received after the deadline
may be considered; however, a timely decision is not guaranteed. Spring Admissions are
considered only under unusual circumstances and funding is typically not available. Because
coursework begins in the fall semester, beginning the program in the spring semester is problematic.
Current information on tuition and costs is available here. The department awards
three to four assistantships to new students each year. These appointments are either
teaching or research assistantships and carry financial packages that are highly
competitive with those offered by other graduate institutions. Assistantships provide
a full tuition waiver, stipend for up to four years and medical insurance. These
assistantships may be supplemented with Othmer, Chancellor’s and Ogle Fellowships.
All applicants are considered for assistantships. No separate application for financial
aid is required. Preference in financial assistance awards is given to Ph.D. applicants,
but M.A. applicants are considered as well.
Assistantship decisions for the fall semester are typically made in February and
March. Recipients are notified on or about April 1. Duties of first-year recipients
of assistantships will likely include assisting professors with their instructional
In addition to assistantships, the department traditionally gives two competitive
awards to Ph.D. students. The McConnell Dissertation Fellowship provides full support
for two semesters to a student who is in residence and in the completion year of
the dissertation. The Bingham Teaching Fellowships are one-year supplemental stipends
and are given in recognition of outstanding teaching abilities and performance.
Do not contact individual faculty members or the chair of the department. After
reviewing the website and our
direct all questions to our director of
economics graduate programs, Professor Matthew J. Cushing listed below.