The graduate programs in economics at The University of Michigan offer preparation for the wide range of careers now open to professional economists in academic, business, and government sectors. The Department's faculty and graduates have long been involved in leading developments in research and teaching and in governmental economic policies. The graduate programs are designed to continue this tradition, by providing their students with rigorous analytical and practical training.
The Department offers two major programs, one leading to the Ph.D. degree in Economics, the other leading to the Master of Arts degree in Applied Economics (MAE). The Ph.D. program in Economics at Michigan has a long history and many distinguished alumnae and alumni. Designed primarily to train professional economists, its emphasis is on the theoretical core of the discipline and its applications together with the essential research skills. Most elective classes are small and permit extensive class participation. The sequence of core courses provides an intensive basic preparation in the discipline, while advanced courses, seminars, and research opportunities are offered in a wide variety of specialized fields. The doctoral student will ordinarily devote the first two years to coursework, independent reading, and preparation for the preliminary examinations. The theory exams are normally completed by the end of the first year and the applied field exams by the end of the second. The remaining years are devoted primarily to the dissertation. The time required to write a dissertation varies so widely that it is difficult to generalize about it. For those who work part-time as graduate student instructors, it normally takes two to four years. The Master's program in Applied Economics, as the name implies, is a policy-oriented program, with emphasis on the application of economic tools and concepts to practical problems arising in a variety of fields. Students in this program ordinarily require one and one-half years to complete their work.
The integrated programs of study and research are designed to bring students into the mainstream of modern economics by offering them the opportunity to work with leading scholars. The programs are also designed to provide substantial flexibility in setting up a course of study fitted to the student's interests. They offer the student resources in each of many specialized fields and techniques. The Department also participates in a rich variety of interdepartmental programs, including financial engineering, complex studies, population studies, health economics, law and economics, natural resources and economics, public policy and economics, and social work and economics. All these programs naturally endeavor to help students develop high skills in analysis, research, and expression. But they aim also to encourage the student's originality and independence of mind in seeking out and making significant contributions to the field of economics.