In the past, students who obtained a Ph.D. in Economics primarily pursued careers in academia, government, or with NGOs. Today the private sector, including hedge funds and technology firms, are demanding large numbers of individuals with Ph.D.s in Economics and related disciplines, with Amazon alone hiring hundreds of Economics Ph.Ds. Students with a passion for learning the most advanced theoretical and empirical techniques, undertaking original research, or teaching, should consider obtaining a Ph.D.
If you are wondering whether graduate school in Economics or a related field such as Finance is right for you, we encourage you to reach out to Professor Felipe Goncalves for advice, and to do so early in your undergraduate career. Preparation for graduate school takes time. Professor Goncalves can help you make the right decisions when selecting courses and majors as well as with choosing the right graduate programs.
In general, students who are pursuing an undergraduate Economics degree should be sure to supplement their economics course work with additional math preparation beyond that required for a B.A. in Economics. An undergraduate degree in Mathematical/Economics or Mathematics would also be useful preparation for graduate work in Economics.
We advise students interested in applying to Ph.D. programs to seek out opportunities to engage in research either through work as a research assistant for Faculty in the Economics Department, through our Undergraduate Research Fellows Program, or by writing an honors thesis.
Although spots are limited, you might also consider applying to our Departmental Scholars Program, which allows undergraduate students to take Ph.D. level course work and pursue simultaneously a B.A. and an M.A. degree in Economics. In addition to the academic training, this program will allow you to experience the tenor of a Ph.D. program
Finally, note that the UCLA Career Center offers personal assistance and programs on the graduate school application process. For instance, the Letters of Reference Service at the UCLA Career Center allows UCLA undergraduates, graduates, and alumni (who pay an annual activation fee) to store their letters of reference for graduate and professional school programs as well for support of faculty and post-doctoral research positions at the college and university level.
In addition to the standard courses required for the major, students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. program in Economics should include additional coursework in mathematics and statistics, particularly Linear Algebra, Real Analysis, and Differential Equations. Consider the courses listed below offered by our Mathematics Department:
Math 32A: Calculus of Several Variables
Math 131A: Analysis
For additional information about applying for a Ph.D. Program in Economics, please visit the websites below.
GRADUATE SCHOOL PREPARATION RESOURCES: