Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Economics

Please note that we are not accepting applicants for the Fall 2024 cohort.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in applied economics in the Department of Economics at Western Michigan University is designed to meet the needs of future high-level practicing economists in non-academic and academia settings. The Ph.D. program is intended to be completed within four years.

NOTE:  Our Ph.D. in Applied Economics has the following CIP Code: 45.0603


The Department of Economics has faculty demonstrating a wide range of research interests with a common theme of applied research. The faculty uses state-of-the-art economic theory and empirical methods to address a myriad of applied economic problems.

Program requirements

Components of the doctoral program

The WMU Ph.D. program in applied economics develops skills required for applied research and prepares doctorates for their first job in academia.

Dr. Susan Pozo with studentWorkshops and internships

WMU's program retains a core curriculum as is required by traditional Ph.D. programs in economics, but also requires participation in applied economics workshops and allows the completion of an internship in a non-academic organization.

During an internship, students report to an employee of the organization and a Department of Economics faculty member. The internship gives students the incentive and opportunity to apply knowledge of economic theory and empirical methods to the actual problems faced by an organization. The internship may provide the subject of the dissertation and therefore send graduates into the job market with a somewhat different orientation than that of graduates from traditional programs.


For admission to the Ph.D. program in applied economics, students must satisfy all the criteria identified in the graduate catalog. In addition, the Department of Economics requires:

  • GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical).
    Note: Students in our most recently admitted Ph.D. class had an average verbal GRE of 146, an average quantitative GRE of 158, and an average analytical GRE of 3.2.  We do not have a minimum required GRE.
  • Intermediate level microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory.
  • One year of calculus.
  • A personal statement discussing career plans.
  • Three letters of reference from persons in a position to assess your qualifications for doctoral-level study and likelihood of successful completion of the Ph.D. degree.

Meet our students

The Department of Economics has a diverse student body with students from all over the world. Our doctoral students have opportunities to teach undergraduate classes, attend conferences and conduct research both independently and in collaboration with faculty.

Our Ph.D. alumni have established successful careers and lives. Check out current job positions of some of our Ph.D. alumni.


Contact Dr. Christine Moser, director of graduate programs, for additional information.