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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.

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

    Coursework

    In the first year, students will focus on building a strong foundation. In the first year, students must take six courses: a year-long sequence of each of the three core courses: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Statistics/Econometrics.

    Monsoon Semester

    • Microeconomics I
    • Macroeconomics I
    • Statistics

    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(s). 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 mentor(s)

    Up to two faculty mentors will be appointed by the PhD Coordinator(s) 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. The mentors’ key role is to encourage and assist the students to find a faculty advisor, and to help the students navigate through the program requirements.

  • Second Year

    Coursework

    In the second year, students will develop their research interests by taking a total of three elective courses in their second year (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 can take more elective courses in their second year, but 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 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.

    Finding an Advisor

    Students are strongly encouraged to find a potential advisor(s) within 1.5 years into the program, that is, after their third semester. This will ensure that the students have adequate guidance while writing the proposal for candidacy and will be able to submit it on time. The PhD mentors assigned to the students will facilitate them in finding the advisors.

    Admission to Candidacy

    To attain candidacy, students must submit a research proposal working towards the final dissertation. The deadline for the proposal is the beginning of their third year, that is, after the second year summer before the start of the Monsoon semester. The proposal should include a well developed research plan. The details of the proposal will be determined by the respective advisor and the Student Research Committee.

    Students will then be called upon to orally defend their research plan before their Student Research Committee (SRC), specifically constituted for each PhD student. The Student Research Committee will be appointed by the Program Coordinator of the Department before the student plans to defend their Research Plan. It will be chaired by the student’s faculty advisor (must be a permanent faculty (tenured or non-tenured) of the Economics department at Ashoka University) and will include as members: (a) co-advisor, if any, and (b) at least one permanent faculty member (tenured or non-tenured) from Ashoka University Economics Department, and at least one external committee member who is from outside the department (may be from any other department within the university or outside the university) who specializes in a related area. Post candidacy, students can change the composition of the Student Research Committee after getting approval from the PhD coordinators and the Research office.

    Students may apply to be formally admitted to PhD candidate status once they have completed their coursework requirements and successfully defended a research plan.

    The university requires that an incoming PhD student holding a MPhil/MTech degree need to fulfill the candidacy requirements within 1.5 years.

  • Third Year and Beyond

    Presentations

    After candidacy, students are expected to present at least once every year in the Graduate Event which is annually organized by the Economics Department. Besides presenting at Ashoka, students are encouraged to present their research in seminars or conferences outside the university.

    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.

    PhD Grad Event

    The department, every year, will organize a PhD grad event which will consist of student presentations and faculty panels.

    • Student Presentations: The upper year PhD students who have been admitted to candidacy will present their work. The content of the presentation will be mutually decided by the student and the faculty advisor.
    • Faculty Panels: Besides student presentations, there will be faculty panels to guide the PhD students. This will provide the PhD students an opportunity to interact with faculty, exchange ideas, and in general prepare them to become a professional economist.

    Dissertation defence

    Once admitted to candidacy, students will write up their 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.

    Timelines

    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).

Ph.D. in Economics Admissions

Applications for Ph.D. Programme in Economics are now open.

Applicants must apply through the online admissions portal. Admissions to the Ph.D. Programme will be based on a written entrance examination as well as an interview. The entrance examination will be held online on 1st May, 2022. 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.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka