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Department Information

Economics is the science which studies how individuals, governments, firms, and nations make choices on allocating scarce resources to create value in society.

The Department of Economics at Southern Methodist University (SMU) is highly ranked among economics departments in the United States and offers comprehensive coverage of the major fields in modern economics.

The department has been at the forefront of graduate education at SMU. The Ph.D. in Economics program is over 55 years old and was the first Ph.D. program at the university. It has a strong national reputation and an excellent placement record in both academic and non-academic positions.

We also offer multiple Master’s degrees that emphasize strong training in quantitative techniques of economic and econometric analysis and are geared towards business and government professionals.

Program Features

At the graduate level, the Department of Economics offers a Ph.D. in Economics, as well as several Master’s degrees in Economics including an M.A. in Law and Economics, an M.A. in Applied Economics, and an M.S. in Applied Economics and Predictive Analytics.  Based on The Financial Engineer rankings, the SMU MA in Applied Economics program is ranked #41 out of 151 programs in the nation (2019).

Degrees Offered

Explore our Master's Degrees in Economics

Explore our Ph.D. Degree in Economics

Economics Program Features at SMU

The department is located on the third floor of the Umphrey Lee Center.

George W. Bush Institute — SMU Economic Growth Initiative

George W. Bush Institute — SMU Economic Growth Initiative


In the summer of 2018, The George W. Bush Institute and the Department of Economics at SMU launched the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative. This Initiative leverages the strengths of both institutions to promote policy-relevant research at the frontier of many fields in the Economics discipline. 

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. The work is achieved through three Impact Centers – Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and the Engagement Agenda – by which the Bush Institute engages the greater community with its important work.

The Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative promotes policies to support domestic economic growth and strengthen our competitiveness in the global economy. The initiative also highlights the benefits of continuing American economic leadership, global trade, immigration, and the economic vitality of cities and regions in our country.

As part of that effort, the Initiative is funding multiple Fellowships to attract and support world-class scholars as Ph.D. students in the Department. Learn more about those fellowships here.

Learn More About Recent Projects

Learn More About Recent Projects


Stay up-to-date on the latest Economics department news by checking out our Announcements page. 

Admission Requirements

  • 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA

  • 12 hours of undergrad economics

    • 2 intermediate theory courses
    • 1 price theory (microeconomics)
    • 1 macroeconomics

  • An introductory course in statistics

  • One semester of calculus
  • GRE cumulative score of 310

  • 3 letters of recommendation

  • 12 hours of undergrad economics

    • 2 intermediate theory courses
    • 1 price theory (microeconomics)
    • 1 macroeconomics

  • Demonstrate mathematical proficiency equivalent to:

    • Multivariate calculus (i.e. 3 semesters of university-level calculus)
    • Probability and statistics (2 semesters)
    • Differential equations
    • Linear algebra

Deadlines for Admission

For graduate Economics programs:

  • Priority deadline for Fall admission is January 15th.
  • M.A./M.S. final deadline for Fall admission is May 1st.

Departmental Assistantships

All applications to be considered for department assistantships must be completed by the applicable priority deadline.

Note: Applications received after the applicable priority deadline will be considered for any remaining funds and openings.



A Guide to Choosing, Applying for, and Thriving in a Ph.D. Program



Degree Requirements

Applied Economics Track

30 term credit hours of an approved program of study (15 hours must be 6000 level courses)

  • Three required core courses:
    • Three required econometrics and microeconomic analysis training courses
    • 6 additional courses, 2 of which must be 6000 level courses
    • B average overall courses

International Economics and Policy Track:

  • 30 term credit hours of approved program courses (15 hours must be at 6000 level courses)
  • 3 required core courses
  • 3 required international economics courses
  • 2 economics courses
  • 2 courses of free elective

Law and Economics Track:

  • 6 required courses
  • 3 economic electives
  • Final exam required
  • B average overall courses
  • 3 required core courses

  • 2 required advanced analytics courses

  • 2 required business intelligence courses

  • 1 required global perspective course

  • 2 elective courses

  • Must have at least 5 courses at the 6000 level or above

This degree is only available to students currently or previously in the Ph.D. program in Economics at SMU.

Students pursuing the Ph.D. program are qualified to receive the M.A. degree on this track after having fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Pass the written qualifying examination in microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory

  • Complete 30 term hours of courses in their program.
  • 48 semester credit hours
    • Maintain a 3.0 average
  • Pass the written qualifying exam in Micro and Macro Economic Theory at the end of the 1st year
  • 2 field courses required and completed with at least B

  • Complete faculty advisor-approved research paper by end of the 3rd year at a symposium

  • SMU resident for at least one academic year

  • Must successfully defend the dissertation within 8 years of starting the program

Alumni Spotlight


Punarjit Roychowdhury, Ph.D. in Economics, 2017

What is your research area?

I am an applied microeconomist. My research focuses on how social interactions and social networks influence individual economic decisions and outcomes.

What is the best thing you’ve done as a graduate student at SMU?

I have written several interesting research papers in the last couple of years under the supervision of my adviser. I presented one of my papers at the SMU Graduate Research Day 2016 for which I won the Dean’s award. I have also thoroughly enjoyed teaching undergraduate courses in economics as an adjunct lecturer.

What is your favorite thing to do in Dallas?

I am a film buff. So, when I am not working on my dissertation, I often go to the movies. I also like to try new food from different places in and around Dallas.

What do you wish you had known before starting graduate school?

Research is a 24-7 process (and often it is very frustrating). So it is important for one to be know how to successfully strike a balance between research and personal life. I wish I had known this before starting graduate school.


Do not hesitate to contact your program of interest with any questions you might have!



Want to learn more about SMU’s graduate programs in Economics?

Contact us today, we will be in touch!