Get Your PhD in Business Economics


We prepare you for an academic career in economics with rigorous training and grounding in all central areas of the field.

Your success in our PhD in Business Economics program is fostered by our faculty’s active interest in supporting student learning, along with advising and supervising overall research efforts to help you realize your full potential. As you learn from our renowned economics faculty, you have opportunities for cross-disciplinary work, combining economics with strategy, finance or marketing.

You also have the opportunity to engage with the Center for Research in Economics and Strategy, which advances the understanding of firms and markets by examining substantive questions and employing state-of-the-art analytical and/or empirical models.

Olin PhD students studying Business Economics frequently collaborate with the Department of Economics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

Business Economics Faculty and Research


Economics faculty members have a special interest in empirical and theoretical industrial organization. Their research pursuits cover a wide range of subjects, including industry studies, incentives in organizations, organizational design, health economics and the determinants of industry structure.

Their research has been published in prestigious journals, including:

  • American Economic Review
  • Econometrica
  • Journal of Political Economy
  • The Review of Economic Studies
  • Journal of Economic Theory
  • RAND Journal of Economics

Read about collaborative research by Business Economics faculty and PhD students.

  • Prework

    Prior to the first year—mandatory attendance at math camp (offered through the Economics department)

  • First Year

    Recommended Course Sequence

    First Semester

    • MEC 610 Microeconomics I (3 credits)
    • L11 501 Macroeconomics I (3 credits)
    • L11 5161 Applied Econometrics (3 credits)
    • Olin PhD Business Economics courses
       

    Second Semester

    • MEC 611 Microeconomics II (3 credits)
    • L11 Quantitative Methods II (3 credits)
    • L11 502 Macroeconomics II (3 credits)
    • L11 5175 Structural Econometrics (3 credits)
    • Olin PhD Business Economics courses

    The order of classes may change due to availability, and classes may be substituted with approval. A communications course (that focuses on oral communication) is also recommended during the first two years. When the student takes the course is determined by the student and his/her advisor.

    Research

    • Attend Economics and CRES seminars.
    • Begin research collaborations by meeting with faculty advisor monthly.
    • First-year summer paper—papers are due in August after the first year and are presented at a faculty seminar.

    Milestones

    First-year summer paper—papers are due in August after the first year and are presented at a faculty seminar.

    In the summer after the first year, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD Office by August 1 after the first year.

    The Micro Prelim Exam is offered in June. Students must receive a “Distinction/Honors” or “PhD pass” to continue in the PhD program. One retake of the exam is permitted.

    In August after the first year, students must attend an RA/TA orientation offered by The Center for Teaching and Learning.

  • Second Year

    Courses

    • Olin PhD Business Economics courses
    • Other Economics courses
    • Electives (directed readings, independent studies)
    • L11 5141 Advanced Microeconometrics (fall semester) 

    Research

    • Attend Economics and CRES seminars.
    • Second-year paper—papers are due in August after the second year. Presentations are given during a faculty seminar.

    Milestones

    • Second-year paper
    • Field exam

    In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by August 1.

  • Third Year

    Courses

    • Improvisation Course
    • B53 660 Seminar in Presentation Skills (fall semester, required) 

    Research

    • Attend Economics and CRES seminars.
    • Paper presentations (brown bag seminars and conferences)
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD Office by August 1.
    • Students are required to present at a department brown bag seminar.

  • Fourth Year

    Research

    • Attend Economics and CRES seminars.
    • Paper presentations (brown bag seminars and conferences)
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • Dissertation Proposal – students must be able to assemble a Research Advisory Committee for the proposal of their dissertation and must submit a Title, Scope and Procedure form as the committee’s approval of the proposed dissertation by September 30 after the fourth year.
    • In the summer, students must meet with the faculty coordinator to discuss progress and complete a progress report to be submitted to the PhD office by August 1.

  • Fifth Year

    Research

    • Attend Economics and CRES seminars.
    • Paper presentations (job market paper presentations with faculty and at conferences)
    • Dissertation research

    Milestones

    • Intent to Graduate (complete form online)
    • Job market and placement
    • Oral defense of dissertation
    • Submission of Examination Approval form, which signifies committee’s approval
    • Upload of final, approved Dissertation to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
    • Submission of Documented Teaching Requirements to PhD office

  • Course Descriptions

Meet the Business Economics Faculty


Brad Larsen

Brad Larsen

Associate Professor

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Stephen Ryan

Stephen Ryan

Full Professor

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