Current Students


There are three steps to completing your PhD.

Comprehensive Exam

The department requires Ph.D. students demonstrate their knowledge by the successful completion of two formal, written examinations.  These are:

  • Doctoral Comprehensive examination
  • Econometrics examination           

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination - The department's comprehensive exam covers economic theory. As stated in the UNM Catalog:       

This examination, which may be written, oral, or both, is not limited to the areas of the student's course work, but tests the student's grasp of the field as a whole.”

Thus, the examination is not limited to the student’s course work, but tests a student’s grasp of economics as a whole. Questions require the student to demonstrate a superior grasp of the theory and the tools. The student’s performance is evaluated by the manner in which they approach the problem; their demonstrated understanding of economic theory and application; and their ability to interpret results. 

Econometrics Exam

The econometrics examination tests the student’s knowledge of econometrics, which is one of the key empirical methodologies in applied economics.  As with the comprehensive exam, the exam is not limited to the student’s course work but tests her/his grasp of econometric concepts and applications as a whole.

Past Exams

Students preparing for the Comprehensive Exam and/or the Macroeconomics Exam may find past exams a useful tool for their study. Please click here to access previously used exam questions.

Research Requirement

One of the most difficult transitions for the Ph.D. student is from “student” to “researcher.” To that end, the department has a research requirement. The product of the research requirement is a paper submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed economics, or economics-related journal.

The student’s Committee on Studies (COS), formed in the second year after admission, directs and mentors the student in this endeavor. The topic must be pre-approved by the committee prior to conducting the bulk of the research (while the paper may emanate from a class paper, there must be significant value added to fulfill the research requirement). The research requirement paper is not to be part of the student’s dissertation.

After these three steps students will file for application for candidacy.