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Ph.D. Programme in Economics

The Ashoka approach to Economics is fundamentally about bringing together cutting edge economic theory and rigorous data analysis to address questions at the frontiers of research. Our faculty members are engaged in active research in applied microeconomic theory, game theory, decision theory, development economics, labour economics, health economics, public economics, political economy, behavioural economics, experimental economics, economics of discrimination, macroeconomic theory, empirical macroeconomics, monetary economics, and international finance.


Applications to the PhD Programme which starts in August 2020 will open on 6 January 2020 and will close on 31 March 2020. Applicants must apply through the online admissions portal. Admissions to the PhD Programme will be based on a written entrance examination as well as an interview. The entrance examination will be held at multiple centres around the country on 3 May 2020. Shortlisted candidates will be called for an interview. Applicants with an MSc/MA/MCom/BTech degree with at least 55% or an MPhil/MTech degree with at least 55% are considered eligible.


Click here to apply

Entrance Examination

The entrance examination will have two parts. The first part will be similar to the MA Economics examination and will test applicants on statistics, mathematics and analytical reasoning, through multiple choice questions. The second part will test applicants on microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics at the level of entry to the first year of the Masters Programme in Economics in any standard Economics programme in the country. In this section, students will have to solve three problems but will be able to choose from a short list of questions. Topics covered will include the following


Microeconomics: Theory of consumer behaviour; theory of production; market structure; general equilibrium and welfare economics; international trade; game theory - normal and extensive forms, Nash and sub-game perfect equilibrium.


Macroeconomics: Theories of income determination, neoclassical models of growth, infinite horizon and overlapping generation models, nominal rigidities, theories of unemployment, fiscal and monetary policy.


Econometrics: Random variables, statistical inference, linear regression (including regressions with dummy variable regressors), multicollinearity, autocorrelation, omitted variables, measurement error, instrumental variables.


Indicative textbooks include Advanced Microeconomic Theory by Geoffrey A. Jehle and Philip J. Reny, Advanced Macroeconomics by David Romer, and Introductory Econometrics by James Wooldridge. However, questions will not necessarily be based on these books alone.


Click here to view a sample paper for the PhD examination. Note that the final paper will have more questions in Part I. 


Based on the written test and interviews, following candidates have been selected for enrolment in the Ph.D. Programme (Economics) and recommended for TA-ship (Monsoon Semester 2019).


O50-2019-01725 Ojasvi Khare
O50-2019-01918 Mahima Mukhija
O50-2019-02089 Sakshi Satija


Programme Requirements

The first two years are primarily focused on coursework and developing a research plan. From the third year onwards, PhD candidates will present their work at seminars, and write up their research in the form of research papers that together form a draft PhD dissertation.

First year


In the first year, students will focus on building a strong foundation in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics by taking a year-long sequence of core courses in each.


Monsoon Semester

Microeconomics I
Macroeconomics I


Spring Semester
Microeconomics II
Macroeconomics II
Econometrics I


In order to meet the requirements for the PhD, students must maintain a minimum grade of B or 3.0/4.0 in these courses.


A first-year course requirement may be waived in specific circumstances, usually subject to passing a qualifying exam in a given subject, and with the permission of the PhD coordinator.  however, students must ensure they take at least 6 courses in their first year by taking elective courses or PhD reading courses in lieu of any first-year core courses for which they get a waiver. 


Appointment of faculty supervisor(s)

Up to two faculty supervisors will be appointed by the Program Coordinator of each individual department while taking into account (a) match between supervisor’s (and co-supervisor’s) specialization and area of proposed research, (b) student preference(s), and (c) number of students being supervised by individual faculty members.

Second Year


In the second year, students will develop their research interests by taking three one-semester elective courses across the monsoon and spring semesters. In order to meet the requirements for the PhD, students must maintain a minimum grade of B or 3.0/4.0 in these courses. In case students have already taken elective courses in their first year in lieu of core courses for which they have received waivers, they will not be required to take any more than 6 elective courses across both years. 


The list of elective courses offered in any semester will be announced closer to the date. Amongst others, students can expect elective courses in the following areas: Advanced Game Theory, Advanced Macroeconomics, Behavioral Economics, Decision Theory, Development Economics, Economic and Social Networks, Experimental Economics, Health Economics, History of Economic Thought, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Public Economics, Political Economy, Time Series Analysis.


Students may also take a PhD-level reading course in a subject more closely aligned to their research interests. However, approval for counting such a course towards the PhD must be obtained from the student’s Faculty supervisor.


Students already holding an MPhil degree prior to admission at Ashoka University may apply to have the elective course requirements waived, and move directly to submitting a research plan.


Research plan

In their fourth semester, students must submit a research plan in the form of a short statement of their proposed research topic, including a description of methods, data and sources. In addition, they should submit a short piece of written work relevant to the thesis. Ideally, this should contain some preliminary theoretical results or empirical analysis.


Students will then be called upon to orally defend their research plan before a Student Research Committee, specifically constituted for each PhD student. The Student Research Committee, and chaired by the student’s supervisor, will be appointed by the Program Coordinator of the Department before the student plans to defend his/her Research Plan. It will include as members: (a) co-supervisor, if any, and (b) two faculty members who specialize in a related area, one of whom is from a different department or outside Ashoka University.


Formal admission to PhD candidate status

Students may apply to be formally admitted to PhD candidate status once they have completed their coursework requirements and successfully defended a research plan. Students holding a MA/MSc/MCom/BTech degree must complete this application within two years of being admitted to the PhD programme. Students holding an MPhil degree in Economics must complete this process within 1.5 years of being admitted to the PhD programme. Students who fail to meet these timelines will not be able to continue in the PhD programme.

Third Year and Beyond

Seminar Requirement

Each student who has been admitted to PhD candidate status must present their work in one Ashoka University seminar each year, beginning in their third year. The reason for this requirement is that students can get feedback on their work from faculty members and their peers; additionally, they can develop and improve their presentation skills. Presentations at an internal PhD-level seminar qualify towards this requirement. Students may also present their work in seminars outside Ashoka University, with the approval of their Faculty supervisor(s).


Research Committee review

Students who have been admitted to PhD candidate status must meet with their Student Research Committee (SRC) to review their progress once a year.


Dissertation defence

Once admitted to candidacy, the student will write up his/her research in the form of research papers, which together form a draft PhD dissertation. Students will be required to subject the draft dissertation to a check for plagiarism using standard software.


Students will submit the dissertation to his/her SRC for its internal assessment. With the approval of the SRC, the dissertation will be submitted to at least two external examiners and to the Faculty supervisor(s) for their formal assessment and recommendation. On the independent recommendation of each external examiner, supervisor and co-supervisor, the SRC will formally conduct a viva voce examination in the presence of at least one, but preferably both, external examiners. The examination will be open to all faculty members and students from Ashoka University.


After the viva voce, a copy of the dissertation is deposited with the INFLIBNET, and with Ashoka University Library.



Students must submit their final dissertation within six years of the date of admission to the PhD Programme. Based on need or justification, an extension of up to 1 year may be recommended by the SRC, and granted by Dean (Graduate Programs).


All PhD students will receive a monthly stipend of Rs 35,000. Students will also be offered housing on campus if it is available; if it is not, they will be paid a monthly rent allowance of Rs 7,000. PhD students will also be expected to work as Teaching Assistants on specified courses. Information on fees is available at the PhD Programme page.