Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctor of Philosophy

Program overview


The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Economics is designed to meet the needs of future high-level practicing economists in non-academic settings.

Components of the doctoral program

Recent studies have found that non-academic employers of Ph.D.-level economists are concerned about the training that existing programs give their graduates. In a 1991 report commissioned by the American Economic Association, Dr. Anne O. Krueger reported that the proportion of new economics doctorates taking their first job in academia has significantly declined and that universities are not adequately serving the non-academic portion of the market. She wrote that "...our major concern focuses on the extent to which graduate education in economics may have become too removed from real economic problems...and that the focus on developing skills required for applied research should be stronger...." The WMU Ph.D. program in applied economics is designed to address this need.

WMU's program retains a core curriculum as is required by traditional Ph.D. programs in economics, but requires that students participate in a series of applied economics workshops and complete a one-year internship in a non-academic organization. Doctoral students intern with organizations such as:

  • City, county, or state government agencies
  • Consulting or research firms and institutes
  • Financial institutions
  • Businesses and hospitals.

This internship is conducted under the aegis of an employee of the organization as well as a Department of Economics faculty member. The purpose of this internship is to give students the incentive and opportunity to apply their knowledge of economic theory and empirical methods to the actual problems faced by these organizations. The internship is also intended to provide the subject of the student's dissertation and therefore send the department's graduates into the job market with a somewhat different orientation than that of graduates from traditional programs.

The Ph.D. program is designed to be completed within four years by a student entering with good undergraduate economics and quantitative methods (mathematics and statistics) training or a Master of Arts in Economics.

The economics department has seventeen full-time and two adjunct faculty, with a wide range of research interests. The common theme to this research is that it is applied research. The faculty's belief in the importance of using state-of-the-art economic theory and empirical methods to address the myriad problems of an economic nature confronted outside the classroom has led it to introduce a program of study leading to a Ph.D. degree in applied economics.

Questions? Contact:
Dr. James Hueng

It is the policy and commitment of Western Michigan University not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, color, national origin, height, weight, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, handicap, or veteran status in its educational programs, activities, admissions, or employment policies in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and all other pertinent state and federal regulations. GRP 94-057/0894/2M


Department of Economics
5307 Friedmann Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008 USA
(269) 387-5535 | (269) 387-5637 Fax