University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

PhD Program

Submitted by srtariqu on Wed, 02/19/2014 - 11:33pm

PhD Program Details


The University of Calgary PhD program is fast becoming one of the most sought after in the country. The progression of our program is attributable to the quality and diversity of our research. We promote student-faculty interaction to ensure students have the best possible chance to excel.

Our PhD program has approximately 45 students currently enrolled and admits between 7 and 15 students every year. Students can expect to complete the program in between 4 and 6 years depending on their academic background.

PhD students are given priority to teaching assistantships and are required to apply for scholarships and funding opportunities applicable to their area of specialization. Our faculty continuously receive funding from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council as well as other agencies. Some members of our faculty also hold Tier I and II Canada Research Chairs. Given the abundance of awards and financial resources, our PhD students have access to a wide variety of research and funding opportunities.

We actively support our job market candidates. Our faculty conduct mock interviews and candidates are encouraged to present their job market papers multiple times in front of all members of the department. We believe our involvement has increased the success of our candidates. In the last few years, our students have earned positions in North America, Europe and Asia.

Our students have access to a plethora of information pertinent to their research and learning through our libraries which includes textbooks, handbooks and journals in all specializations that we offer.  We are also home to a federal data center that permits students to apply directly for their own research agendas.

We encourage our senior students to participate in a mentoring program for incoming students. If you are anxious about joining our Economics department, coming to the university, or living in Calgary in general, you can request a mentor to help you adjust to the University of Calgary lifestyle.

Our students have access to a number of recreational facilities including a fully equipped gym, swimming pool, and squash courts. Access to such facilities is included with tuition. Our department holds start of semester welcoming parties, Christmas parties and a variety of social events are carried out by our student graduate association.

We invite you to look further into what the PhD program can offer you. Any additional questions or concerns can be emailed to

Program Details

Students can expect to complete the Economics PhD program in between four and six years depending on their academic background. The first two years of the PhD program focus on formal coursework and associated milestones. Completion of no less than twelve semester long graduate level courses, including core courses in Microeconomics (Econ 707, 757), Macroeconomics (Econ 709, 759) and Econometrics (Econ 615, 715) is required.

Upon completion of the required coursework students are expected to undertake an oral candidacy examination following which the remainder of the program is devoted to original research and the associated production of a formal dissertation.

The typical program and associated milestones are itemized below:

Prior to the Fall Semester (first year): Students are encouraged to attend a week long “Block Week” course in mathematical economics. This course is intended to be a combination refresher and primer for formal mathematical techniques used at the graduate level in both core micro and macroeconomics courses. This is a non-credit course and no formal grades are assigned.

Fall Semester (first year): Students are required to register in core Microeconomic Theory (Econ 707) and Macroeconomic Theory (Econ 709) courses. Typically, students will also register in a single field course in the fall term.

Note: The department suggests that students register for only 3 courses in the first year fall term due to the workload associated with the required core Micro and Macroeconomics theory courses.

Winter Semester (first year): Students are required to register in Advanced Microeconomic theory (Econ 757), Advanced Macroeconomics (Econ 759) and Advanced Econometrics (Econ 715).

Spring and Summer Semesters (first year): The first year spring term is devoted to preparation for and completion of the required Field of Study Examinations in Micro and Macro Theory. These exams are generally set for in May. Students who fail to pass a comprehensive exam on the first sitting are allowed to re-take one or both comprehensive exams in August.

Fall semester (second year): Students are required to register in field courses of their choice. At this stage, students should begin to work on a paper to satisfy the department’s second-year research paper requirement. This involves writing a research paper in their field(s) of specialization.

Winter semester (second year): Students typically register in three field courses of their choice, satisfying the remainder of their coursework requirements. (Completion of the required twelve semester long courses must occur before the student can sit for the thesis proposal oral examination described below).

Spring and Summer semester (second year):  The spring and summer of the second year are devoted to the research paper requirement. A research proposal for the paper together with a declaration of a supervisor needs to be submitted by May 15th of the second year.

Third Year The final version of the second year research paper must be submitted by end of October of the third year.  Following completion of the paper requirement, students must sit for an oral candidacy exam by January of the third year (after 28 months in the program). Students entering the program without prior credit for Econ 657,659 and 615 can apply for an extension, in which case the deadline is 36 months.

Post Candidacy Outside an expectation that students will regularly participate in department seminars and workshops, students are left to pursue dissertation related research under supervision. Following completion of the dissertation, students are required to sit for a formal oral defence of the dissertation.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance to graduate programs at the University of Calgary is competitive.  Success in meeting our minimum entrance requirements with respect to, for example, grade point average or GRE scores does not guarantee admission to the PhD program.

Applicants must hold or obtain the following minimum qualifications before the Faculty will give consideration to admission:

  • A Master of Arts degree in Economics or its equivalent, with a high level of proficiency in Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory and Econometrics.
  • The minimum GPA requirement for the PhD program is 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 in the student's completed MA program.

After admission: Once students have been admitted to a graduate program at the University of Calgary, they must maintain a B average to remain in the program.  Students receiving less than a B-on any course, or more than one mark below a B- may be asked to leave the program. 

Tuition & Funding Opportunities

Tuition Fees

PhD program tuition fees are set by the university. 

Funding Opportunities

Students in the department receive funding from a number of sources, including scholarships and positions as teaching and research assistants. This funding depends largely on the student’s academic standing, level of involvement in the department’s research series and to some extent entrepreneurship on the student's part in seeking out funding opportunities.

Additional Resources

Visiting Students

If you are a graduate student from another institution, you can take courses or pursue research at the university for credit towards your degree.   Start your application here:

Get Connected