A Ph.D. in Economics allows students to examine the way economics affects global and local industries. Government economic analysts help politicians understand how regulatory boards and laws influence the national economy.

Economics is the study of the supply and demand of goods or services and how they are produced, distributed, and consumed. It tackles the “economic agents,” such as the buyers and sellers, as well as their interaction and behavior.

While an online Ph.D. in Economics degree is a challenging option, it leads to numerous professional career pathways. The rewards are immeasurable as it paves the way for several promising careers in the field. These opportunities allow for the all-important actual interaction and engagement with fellow students and professors.

A Doctor of Economics (DPhil, DEcon, or EconD) is a research-oriented degree program that prepares students for a career in economics research, policymaking, or teaching. It is the highest degree achievable in the field of economics.

Students who pursue a Doctor of Economics degree can specialize in a wide range of areas, including macroeconomics, econometrics, finance, public policy, and economic history.

With this degree, students gain a strong understanding of economic theory and its application to real-world problems. They also develop the necessary skills to conduct quality research and become proficient in quantitative methods.

Doctoral graduates may pursue a career in academia or join the private sector as economists, financial analysts, or policy analysts.

Today, several educational institutions offer a Ph.D. in Economics degree programs that, while obtainable online, may entail on-campus attendance as part of coursework requirements. Many universities have a residency requirement for the completion of the Ph.D. program. They require students to attend off-site seminars at different locations in the country.

DEc holders generally possess advanced knowledge of microeconomics that emphasizes the study of economic agents and macroeconomics that deals with the economic agents as a whole to form an economy.


Best Doctor of Economics (DEc) Schools


Rice University


School Highlights: The Rice University Doctorate in Economics covers all of the most pivotal areas of the discipline. In particular, it emphasizes the development, defense, and analysis of any model or theory that has a place in “intuitive plausibility.” Students are exposed to in-depth research projects early on in the degree through workshops, seminars, lectures, and projects.

The program also offers access to the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics, a program that drastically increased the university’s standing as a leader in economic research.

For students with a passion for accounting, the Department of Economics and the Jones School of Business recently partnered to offer a concentration option in Finance! Graduates from Rice are sought-after talents for positions in:

  • research institutions,
  • universities,
  • private firms,
  • and government agencies all across the world.

Coursework Sample:

  • Economic Development
  • Financial Economics
  • Macroeconomics

Campus Location: Houston, TX


  • Higher Learning Commission


clemson university


School Highlights: The Doctor of Philosophy in Economics at Clemson University is a highly professional program that emphasizes the application of circumstances “that lend themselves to logical analysis.” Its goal is to prepare graduates to take on educational and non-educational positions in national and international public and private sectors.

The curriculum gives students an excellent understanding of micro and macroeconomic theory, and students implement rigorous economic models in real-world simulations.

The Field Courses take students out of the classroom and into the community, where they put complex ideas into practical use. Clemson University truly creates experts in Economics through this unique Ph.D. program.

Coursework Sample:

  • Advanced Managerial Economics
  • Economics of Wildlife Management and Policy
  • Empirical International Economics

Campus Location: Clemson, SC


  • Higher Learning Commission


liberty university


School Highlights: Liberty University is one of the most vastly successful and popular online schools in the nation. It offers a 100% online Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy with a robust Economic Policy concentration.

The curriculum builds upon previous knowledge and expertise while enhancing policymaking skills for those working in:

  • nonprofits,
  • government agencies,
  • international organizations,
  • and consulting firms.

The coursework is delivered at an accelerated rate, and students complete classes throughout eight-week terms. Transfer students are free to utilize up to 50% of the total credits acquired at another institution, which drastically reduces their time at Liberty.

It is a 60-credit program that takes an average of three years to finish, and the affordable tuition rate has not increased in five years!

Coursework Sample:

  • Foundations of Statesmanship and Public Policy
  • Foreign Policy, Globalization, and Statesmanship
  • Introduction to Economic Policy

Campus Location: Lynchburg, VA


  • Higher Learning Commission


university of arizona


School Highlights: The University of Arizona has an exciting opportunity to earn a doctorate in economics that includes ten different concentration options in a wide variety of subjects. That fact alone sets this school far apart from others that offer students nowhere near the same amount of flexibility.

Each research specialization is instructed by top faculty members who have an enormous amount of experience in their areas of expertise. The first year of the program requires students to complete comprehensive coursework encompassing modern techniques and concepts of econometrics and theory.

It is during the second year when students begin their research projects, working side-by-side with professors. Students seeking a more niche area of study are encouraged to consider the Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics, which provides an avenue into the study of Wildlife Economics.

Concentration Options:

  • Behavioral Economics
  • Econometrics
  • Economic History
  • Environment and Energy Economics
  • Experimental Economics
  • Health Economics
  • Industrial Organization
  • labor Economics
  • Law and Economics
  • Microeconomic Theory

Campus Location: Tuscon, AZ


  • Higher Learning Commission




School Highlights: One of the most renowned educational institutions in the entire country, American University in Washington, D.C., supplies a distinctive Doctor of Philosophy program in Economics. The curriculum includes a focus on policy-relevant research and analysis, with numerous topics in micro/macroeconomics.

AU was the first school in the nation to offer a program that includes gender analysis in economics. The highly unique Info-Metrics Institute promotes information processing and dissemination and is available as an unmatched resource to all econ students.

Students can also take advantage of America’s study abroad partnership with EAFIT University in Medellin, Columbia, which offers an invaluable international experience. This state-of-the-art, forward-thinking curriculum puts graduates at the forefront of the industry.

Coursework Sample:

  • Economic History Macroeconomic Aspects
  • Growing Artificial Societies
  • Gender Perspectives on Economic Analysis: Microeconomics

Campus Location: Washington, D.C.


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education


Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1


School Highlights: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is recognized as one of the most fabulous and well-respected higher education institutions worldwide. The economics doctorate requires students to choose and complete two of the eleven major field options by the end of the second year. (All of the available majors can be found below.)

Econ students must also complete two minor fields from the eleven choices. Such a thorough course structure provides a phenomenal approach to the economics discipline.

Graduates are extremely well-seasoned experts who have both the research and practical skills to make a positive difference in communities throughout this country and others. Students can rely on MIT throughout their academic and professional years as an incredibly worthy career resource and network.

Concentration Options:

  • Development
  • Econometrics
  • Finance
  • Industrial Organization
  • International
  • Labor
  • Macroeconomics
  • Organizational
  • Political Economy
  • Public Finance
  • Theory

Campus Location: Cambridge, MA


  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the duties of Economists?

Economists study the behavior in the production, distribution, and consumption of goods, services, and resources by analyzing the data they collect.

They are the pioneers of evaluating economic issues and researching economic trends that affect consumer behavior. They have several duties that contribute to the welfare of the economy.

While economists prepare tables, charts, and reports that convey research results, they also analyze pieces of data using mathematical principles and statistics.

The majority of these economists work in the federal, local, and state governments. However, economists have numerous opportunities to work in different fields. They apply economic expertise to issues within the environment, development, health, and education sectors of society.

There are also economists who study the cost of products and services as well as examine exchange rates, employment levels, and business cycles. Also, they have a vital role in understanding and analyzing inflation, interest rates, and taxes.

Most of their work requires the use of spreadsheets, database management programs, and statistical data since they study historical trends and utilize them to make relevant forecasting.

Economists play an essential role in the federal government. They collect and analyze data about the economy such as wages, productivity, and employment to name a few. They help influence policymakers in making sound decisions that affect the economy through laws and regulatory procedures.

Additionally, some economists work for private companies and corporations. Their expertise will help these corporations understand how the trend of the economy will impact their business. They also help them through proposed solutions and strategies through the analysis of consumer data and sales that will maximize the company’s profits.

Economists also work for research institutions. Their forecasts and analyses are published in journals in the academic and private sectors.

Some people acquire a Ph.D. in Economics degree to become professors in schools or universities.

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How do I earn my Ph.D. in Economics degree?

The DEc degree program is designed to help students who have already built their careers in Economics to further pursue their expertise in the government sector, private, or academia. The Ph.D. program provides opportunities for students to develop research skills, economic theory, and an upper-level analysis

When pursuing a DEc, you must have a master’s degree in Economics or a related field in an accredited university or school. Ph.D. in Economics students are trained to be highly developed in mathematics, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Many programs require the submission of a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores.

Coursework related to your Ph.D. program may include economics & public policy, policy analysis and statesmanship, quantitative methods I and II, foreign policy, microeconomics and macroeconomics, globalization & statesmanship, and competing visions of statesmanship as well as a dissertation.

Doctoral programs take three to five years to complete depending on the students’ pace of learning. The program may also require a written qualifying examination after the first two years of the program. The final two or three years of this degree program emphasize dissertation projects.

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a school?


When you have finally decided to enroll in an Economics doctorate program, it is essential to consider which school or university to attend. One of the unwanted things you would want to happen is to waste time and money on a degree that employers won’t take seriously.

It is crucial that your chosen educational institution has accredited status from reputable accrediting agencies such as:

  • The Higher Learning Commission,
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges,
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education,
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges,
  • and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities among others.

In addition to these accrediting agencies, it will be beneficial for students to look into programs that have received accreditation from the AACSB. They are an external accrediting agency that accredits degree programs in business-related fields, including accounting, economics, and finance.

With this being said, colleges and universities that are AACSB-accredited have met specific standards of quality in their business-related educational degree programs.

What type of degree do I need to pursue research or educate others in Economics?


Economists generally work in an office environment independently. However, many economists work in educational institutions to teach students, administer the Economics department of the school, and provide academic student support services.

A Ph.D. in Economics will pave the way for your teaching career since most schools require a graduate degree in the teaching profession.

For the remainder of their workweek, they engage in research work and write journals or publications for academic use or reference.


What schools offer Ph.D. in Economics?

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia offers an entirely online Ph.D. in Public Policy with a concentration in Economics.

Other universities that offer a hybrid learning format include Clemson University in South Carolina, the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, Rice University in Houston, Texas, American University in Washington, DC, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

No doubt, earning a graduate degree can be challenging. However, if you can manage to integrate an Economics doctorate program without compromising your personal and professional life, the benefits are rewarding. Explore the beautiful possibilities of the world of Economics and enroll in a Ph.D. program today.

How long would it take to get a Doctorate in Economics?

The amount of time needed to earn a doctorate in economics typically ranges from 4 to 7 years. It usually consists of 1–2 years of coursework, followed by a comprehensive oral examination or qualifying exam.

After that, you would research and write your doctoral thesis and defend it before a committee. The exact time frame could be dependent on your individual program requirements and breadth of study.

Additional Information: