Program and Curriculum

Program Overview

Academic Achievement

The objective of the Ph.D. program is to prepare students for academic careers at major research universities. It is expected that our graduating students will have:

  1. One or more journal publications in top tier academic journals
  2. Multiple presentations at major academic conferences.
  3. Won awards for best dissertations and best papers at professional conferences, and
  4. Developed effective personal networks with scholars from around the world.


Students are required to complete core course requirements, and develop a “study plan” in consultation with their advisory committee. Students should complete coursework during the first two years of the program.

Summer Paper

Each student is required to write a summer research paper during their first summer in the program. The summer paper must be approved and accepted by IB Department core faculty and the GWSB Doctoral Committee, by the end of the second year. It is expected that this summer research will result in a paper that is accepted for publication in an ABS4 or ABS3 journal by the end of the fourth year of the program (continued fellowship is contingent on this result).

Second Year Comprehensive Field Exam

Performance on the major field exam is an important indicator of a student’s capacity for successful completion of the degree. Proficiency in the major field is determined by a written exam. To maintain normal progress, this exam should be taken at the end of a student’s second year. (And this exam must be passed by the end of the spring quarter of the student’s third year or the student will be dismissed from the PhD program.) This exam will be administered and graded by a committee of three faculty members (who have taught the student a PhD seminar within the student’s chosen focus.)

Annual Review

Student performance is reviewed at the end of each year. The review evaluates student promise and progress, looking at course grades, written and oral capabilities, capacity for intellectual contribution, participation in the academic life of the school, and research productivity and progress. This review will include a recommendation to the Associate Dean whether the student should continue in the program and areas for improvement where needed.

All doctoral students are required to attend the IB research seminar series.

Graduating Timeline

The dissertation defense must be completed in five years. In extenuating circumstances, extensions not to exceed two years may be granted by the Associate Dean in consultation with the Dissertation Committee.

Unsatisfactory Performance

Students will be withdrawn from the program if they do not meet the following performance expectations. All course work must be completed (with satisfactory grades) by the end of the second year, the summer paper must be approved by the end of the second year, and the comprehensive exam must be passed before the start of the third year. In extenuating circumstances the Doctoral Committee, on the recommendation of the department, may grant extensions of up to but not exceeding one year, for the timelines above. Engagement in research activities of the department, and progress toward proposal and the dissertation, are critical from year three onwards.

The Curriculum

The level of competence expected from doctoral graduates is that of a scholar contributing to the advancement of the student’s chosen field. This implies three competencies:

  1. A broad knowledge of the field
  2. A detailed understanding of current research in that field
  3. A sound grounding in advanced research methodologies.

The curriculum is designed as a 45 credit-hour program of formal course work taken in the first two years followed by three years of research leading to the dissertation defense. The formal coursework is structured as follows:

Semester 1, Fall, First Year
1 Theory ECON 8375 (or DNSC) Econometrics I
2 Theory ECON 8301 Microeconomic Theory I
3 Theory ECON 8305 Macroeconomic Theory I
4 Seminar IBUS 8462 Colloquium in Int’l Bus: Institutions and Development—Spencer, Riddle (all IB students)
Semester 2, Spring, First Year
1 Theory  ECON 8302 Microeconomic Theory II
2 Theory  ACCT 8102 Moral Hazard Agency Theory, Transaction Cost, Contracts – Zhang (all IB students)
3 Seminar IBUS 8463 Seminar in International Management – Berry (for Strategy Focus)
FINA 8324 Seminar: Topics in Empirical Finance – Agca (for Political Economy Focus)
4 Methods ECON 8376 (DNSC) Econometrics II
Semester 3, Fall Second Year
1 Theory Elective**
2 Seminar IBUS 8464 Seminar on Knowledge & Innovation in the International Economy – Phene (for Strategy Focus)
3 Methods Research Methods Elective**
Semester 4, Spring, Second Year
1 Seminar IBUS 8466 Seminar in International Political Economy – Jensen (all IB students)
2 Seminar Elective (for Strategy Focus)
FINA 8323 Seminar: Topics in Empirical Finance – Gergana (for Political Economy Focus)
3 Methods Research Method Elective**
TA for an IB Professor and hold office hours (9 semesters over 5 years) in preparation to teach a course one semester in year 4 or 5
Third and Fourth Year

Focus on Research
Develop / Defend Dissertation Proposal
Work on Dissertation

Fifth Year
Teach a course
Complete dissertation and defend

 **Possible Elective Courses

Theory Electives

Research Methods Electives

FINA 8321 Seminar in Asset Pricing ACCY 8001 Seminar: Empirical Research on Economics of Auditing/Marketing-Based Accounting Research
FINA 8397 Seminar in Real Estate ECON 8377 Econometrics III
FINA 8397 Seminar in Empirical Investments STAT 8281 Advanced Time Series Analysis
ACCY 8001  Seminar in Accounting Theory STAT 8262 Nonparametric Inference
ACCY 8001  Seminar in Management Accounting STAT 8263-4 Advanced Statistics Theory
ACCY 8001 Seminar in Corporate Governance DNSC 8397 Advanced Topics in Time-Series Analysis
ECON 8303 Microeconomic Theory III GEOG 6291 Methods of Demographic Analysis
ECON 8306 Macroeconomic Theory II GEOG 6290 Principles of Demography
ECON 8307 Macroeconomic Theory III GEOG 6221 Geospatial Techniques
ECON 8323-4 Monetary Theory and Policy PSC 8101 Introduction to Empirical Political Analysis
ECON 8341-2 Labor Economics PSC 8102 Empirical Political Analysis
ECON 8345-6 Industrial Organization PSC 8104 Qualitative Research Methods
ECON 8351-2 Development Economics PSC 8109 Systematic Inquiry / Research Design
ECON 8381 International Trade Theory PSC 8120 Maximum Likelihood Estimation
ECON 8382 International Finance and Open Economy Macroeconomics PSC 8185 Longitudinal Analysis
PSC 8124 Multilevel Modeling
ORSC 8261 Psychological Research Methods and Procedures
PSYC 8231 Development of Psychometric Instruments
Other Doctoral Seminars in DC area universities are available to students through the Consortium.