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Department of Economics

Policies and Procedures for the Ph.D. Degree in Economics

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Introduction
Admission Requirements
The Supervisory Committee
The Program of Study
Required Courses
Grade Requirements
Comprehensive Examinations
The Dissertation
Miscellaneous

Introduction

The following information is a guide to policies and procedures for the Ph.D. degree in Economics at Kansas State University. The information is intended for use by graduate students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Economics. The official policies of the Graduate School for graduate study are given in the Graduate Handbook, which is available in the K-State Union Bookstore and at http://www.ksu.edu/grad/handbook/ on the worldwide web. Students are responsible for being familiar with departmental and Graduate School policies. If an inconsistency between the Graduate Handbook and this document arises, the Graduate Handbook will prevail.

The Ph.D. degree is awarded to candidates who have demonstrated unique ability as scholars and researchers as well as proficiency in communication. The degree also certifies that the candidate has displayed familiarity with and understanding of the subject matter in the discipline and possesses the ability to make original contributions to knowledge.

The major tasks that must be completed in order to be awarded the Ph.D. degree are:
(1) Be admitted to the program. 
(2) Form a supervisory committee. 
(3) File a Program of Study. 
(4) Complete required courses.
(5) Pass comprehensive examinations. 
(6) Prepare and defend an acceptable dissertation proposal. 
(7) Prepare and defend an acceptable dissertation.

Details concerning each of these tasks are given in Sections 2-8 of this document. Section 9 of this document deals with assistantships, administrative structure, enrollment requirements, grievance procedures, and exceptions.

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Admission Requirements

In addition to general Graduate School requirements, the Department of Economics has the following requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program:

(1) 3 credit hours of intermediate macroeconomic theory

(2) 3 credit hours of intermediate microeconomic theory

(3) 3 credit hours of statistics

(4) 3 credit hours of calculus

The grade earned in these courses should be B or higher unless the student has received a grade of B or higher in a more advanced course in the particular subject matter. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours taken is also required. Although students with academic performance below these standards may be admitted because of other considerations, such as high Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, admission will be probationary.

Applicants normally are expected to provide GRE scores. In the absence of a GRE, substantial evidence of academic ability should be provided. Even so, an application without a GRE can be very difficult to evaluate. Transcripts from non-domestic universities are especially difficult to assess. Students also are expected to submit transcripts from each college or university attended, a statement of objectives, and three letters of recommendation.

International applicants must provide TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores. A score of at least 550 (213 on the computer-based test) on the TOEFL is required to be considered for admission to the Graduate School. Intensive English training is offered for students who have TOEFL scores below 550 (or 213 on the computer-based test). Students with TOEFL scores between 550/213 and 600/249 will be retested upon arrival at the University and may be required to take additional English language training.

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The Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee is responsible for ensuring that the student's doctoral program is of high quality. In consultation with the student, the supervisory committee advises the student on many aspects of the student's Ph.D. program. These aspects include, but are not restricted to, courses to be taken, the Program of Study, branch (field) examinations, the preparation of a dissertation, and meeting university and departmental regulations. Many aspects of the student's Ph.D. program require the formal approval of the supervisory committee.

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The major professor is the chair of the supervisory committee and is the major advisor of the student. The major professor generally provides the main guidance to the student during the preparation of the dissertation. The major professor generally is chosen on the basis of area of specialization. After becoming familiar with the research areas of the faculty, the student seeks a member of the graduate faculty who is willing to serve as major professor. If the student is continuing for Ph.D. study after completing a Master's degree, the major professor is not necessarily the same faculty member who was the major professor for the Master's degree.

In consultation with the major professor, the student selects the remaining members of the supervisory committee. In addition to the major professor, the supervisory committee must contain at least three other members of the graduate faculty. One member of the supervisory committee must be a graduate faculty member from outside the department. The student will determine the willingness of the selected faculty to serve.

The major professor and supervisory committee should be selected by the end of the student's first year of study for the Ph.D. degree. After being approved by the head of the department, the committee is formally appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. The proposed supervisory committee and the proposed Program of Study (see section 4) are submitted simultaneously to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval on the Graduate School form Program of Study: Doctoral , Appendix A. Changes in the supervisory committee require the approval of the head of the department and all members of the supervisory committee including those individuals to be added or replaced. The department head may sign for faculty no longer on campus. Requests for changes in the supervisory committee are submitted on the Graduate School form Program/Committee Change Form , Appendix B.

After the student is admitted to candidacy (see section 7), the Dean of the Graduate School appoints to the supervisory committee a member of the graduate faculty from another department who serves as chairperson for the final oral examination. The committee so constituted is known as the examining committee.

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The Program of Study

Every doctoral student must file a Program of Study with the Graduate School. The Program of Study is a formal list of the courses the student intends to take to fulfill the requirements of the degree. The student should prepare the Program of Study in consultation with the supervisory committee. The Program of Study should consist solely of courses directly related to the doctorate. The Program of Study should include all the courses required for the Ph.D. in Economics (see section 5) and the courses to be covered in the preliminary examinations (see section 7.2). Transfer credit may be listed on the Program of Study subject to the approval of the supervisory committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.

The Program of Study must be approved by all members of the supervisory committee, the head of the Economics Department, the Director of Graduate Studies of the Economics Department, and the Director of Graduate Studies of the Agricultural Economics Department. If either Director of Graduate Studies disapproves, the Program of Study must be approved by the Joint Graduate Committee (see section 9.2).

Full-time students should file their programs before the end of their second semester of graduate study. Part-time students should file their programs upon the completion of 9 credit hours. The Program of Study must be filed before the qualifying examinations are attempted. The proposed Program of Study and the proposed supervisory committee (see section 3) are submitted simultaneously to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval on the Graduate School formProgram of Study: Doctoral , Appendix A. Changes in the Program of Study require the approval of the head of the Economics Department and all members of the supervisory committee. Requests for changes in the Program of Study are submitted on the Graduate School form Program/Committee Change Form , Appendix B.

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Required Courses

The Ph.D. requires at least 90 credit hours. At least 30 hours must be for research credit earned in preparation of a dissertation. The remaining 60 hours normally come from course work. A minimum of 24 credit hours of course work on the Program of Study must be taken at Kansas State University. There are 10 required courses. These are:

ECON 735 - Mathematical Economics

ECON 940 - Advanced Microeconomic Theory I

ECON 945 - Advanced Microeconomic Theory II

ECON 805 - Income and Employment Theory I

ECON 905 - Income and Employment Theory II

STAT 706 - Basic Elements of Statistical Theory

ECON 830 - Econometrics I

ECON 930 - Econometrics II

ECON 710 - History of Economic Thought, or a graduate economics course at the 800-level or above in a third field

AGEC 901, 905, 923, or 936

The expected sequence for taking the core courses is:

Fall, first semester: STAT 706, ECON 735

Spring, second semester: ECON 805, ECON 830, ECON 940

Fall, third semester: ECON 905, ECON 930, ECON 945.

Students must complete ECON 830 and ECON 930 with a grade of B or better in each course.

The remaining 30 hours of course work is at the discretion of the student, subject to two restrictions. The first restriction is that all courses taken must be approved by the major professor and the supervisory committee. The second restriction is that courses must be taken that prepare the student to pass the preliminary examinations. While some of the discretionary 30 hours may come from related disciplines, it is expected that the majority of the discretionary 30 hours will come from economics courses.

A student entering the Ph.D. program with a Master's degree (from this or any other institution) may request transfer of up to 30 hours of that degree toward the Ph.D. The number of hours accepted depends upon the relevance of the course work toward the Ph.D., and is decided on a case-by-case basis. The substitution of transfer courses for the required courses listed above is decided on a case-by-case basis.

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Grade Requirements

Grade Book
Graduate work is graded A, B, C, D, F, credit/no-credit, pass/fail, incomplete, or withdrawn. For graduate credit, the grade in a course must be C or higher. To remain in good standing, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

To be awarded a graduate degree, the student (a) must not be on probation, (b) must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on graduate coursework and on coursework on the program of study, (c) must meet all the requirements of the Graduate School, the student's academic program area, and the student's supervisory committee, and (d) must be enrolled during the semester in which the degree requirements are completed.

Non-Graded Work (pass/fail, credit/no-credit)
At the discretion of the graduate faculty of the department or interdepartmental committee, seminars in which letter grading conflicts with objectives may be offered on a credit/no-credit or pass/fail basis. Seminars that are to be so offered must be listed with the Dean of the Graduate School.

All courses in the program of study, except dissertation research and seminars that have been approved for credit/no-credit or pass/fail, must be taken for letter grades. Research for doctoral dissertations is graded credit/no-credit exclusively. Incompletes for research credit hours awarded while research is in progress are not subject to the incomplete policy for course work.

No more than 6 hours of credit/no-credit or pass/fail course work may appear on the program of study for the Ph.D.

Apart from the program of study, courses may be taken credit/no-credit or pass/fail with the approval of the major professor and the professor offering the course. These courses do not apply toward a degree.

Incomplete Policy
The grade of Incomplete (I) is given in regular courses (other than independent studies, research, and problems) upon request of the student for personal emergencies that are verifiable. The faculty member has the responsibility to provide written notification to the student of the work required to remove the incomplete. The student has the responsibility to take the initiative in completing the work and is expected to make up the I during the first semester in residence at the University after receiving the grade, except for theses, dissertations, and directed research courses. if the student does not make up the I during the first semester in residence after receiving it, a grade may be given by the faculty member without further consultation with the student.

If after the end of the first semester the I remains on the record, it will be designated as IX for record keeping and will be computed in the student's GPA, weighted at 0 points per credit. A grade of NR will be treated in a like manner using the designation NX.

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Comprehensive Examinations

Qualifying Examinations
When the student has completed ECON 940 and ECON 945, the student should be prepared to take the microeconomic theory qualifying examination. When the student has completed ECON 805 and ECON 905, the student should be prepared to take the macroeconomic theory qualifying examination. For each examination the student is responsible for material covered in the most recent presentation of the relevant courses. Problems need not be based on specific course material. Problems intended to test the students ability to apply the concepts developed in the relevant courses are legitimate. Problems intended to test the students' broad understanding of the subject material are also legitimate.

The two qualifying examinations shall be given twice a year, just prior to the beginning of the fall semester and just prior to the beginning of the spring semester. The exams will normally be given in the same week. In order to take the qualifying examinations, the student must have an approved major professor, supervisory committee, and Program of Study. The student shall notify the Director of Graduate Studies of his or her intention to take the examinations at least four weeks before the examinations are to be given.

Students are expected to take the qualifying examinations as soon as the necessary courses have been completed. In particular, students entering the Ph.D. program in the fall semester on a regular admission basis are expected to take the qualifying examinations in January of the second year, i.e., after three semesters of course work. Students must take the qualifying examinations by at least the second offering following completion of the course work in the core area. If a qualifying exam is not taken by the second opportunity, a failure will be recorded.

If the student fails a qualifying examination, the student must retake the exam by at least the second opportunity or another failure is recorded. Failure to pass either qualifying examination on the second attempt shall result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program unless the student successfully appeals to the Joint Graduate Committee for a third and final attempt. A student may petition for a third attempt on one, but not both, of the microeconomics or macroeconomics qualifying examinations. [In other words, a student is limited to a total of five attempts to pass both qualifying examinations and may not attempt any one qualifying examination more than three times.] Such a petition will be considered only if s/he has received a Masters Pass on at least one of the two previous attempts on that examination. Student appeals will include a petition letter, a supporting letter from the student's major advisor, and a written plan describing steps for improving the student's exam performance. A plan should include at least one of the following: (i) sitting in on one or more of the relevant courses covering the exam material, (ii) submission of a satisfactory set of solution to the most recent qualifying examination.

The Director of Graduate Studies (Economics) will appoint two of the three examiners for the microeconomics qualifying examination, three examiners for the macroeconomics qualifying examination, and will designate a committee member as chairperson for each of the examining committees. The Director of Graduate Studies (Agricultural Economics) will appoint one member to the microeconomic theory examining committee. Each qualifying examination committee shall be responsible for preparing, administering, and grading the examination. The grade determined by majority vote shall be either Ph.D. pass, Ph.D. fail/Masters pass, or Ph.D. fail/Masters fail. The Director of Graduate Studies (Economics) shall handle the administration of the qualifying examinations, including scheduling the examinations in accordance with the Joint Graduate Committee guidelines and assuring the communication of results to the students and representatives of the Department of Agricultural Economics.

Preliminary Examinations
The preliminary examinations consist of two written, comprehensive examinations. These examinations shall cover two branches of economics (excluding microeconomics and macroeconomics) or one branch of economics and a field in a related discipline. Branch preliminary examinations shall cover at least six credit hours of course work from courses numbered 800 or above. The econometrics preliminary examination requires nine credit hours of course work. Related field preliminary examinations shall cover at least six credit hours of course work that are approved by the department offering the field. No course work may be listed in more than one branch or field. The specific course work for each examination shall be determined by the major professor in consultation with the student and must be approved by the supervisory committee. All course work for the preliminary examinations shall appear on the Program of Study.

If there is insufficient formal coursework for an examination, the supervisory committee may approve individualized course work (e.g., independent study or problems courses) to complete the coverage. The Graduate School limits such individualized course work to six credit hours on the Program of Study. Copies of papers, examinations, and other written work done for such individualized course work shall be placed in the student's file for the supervisory committee's reference.

Before the preliminary examinations are given, the supervisory committee may require the student to prepare and submit to the committee for its approval a syllabus detailing the subject matter for the examination.

In the event a student fails a preliminary examination, the student may not retake the examination for at least three months. Two failures in a particular preliminary examination will result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program unless the student successfully appeals to the Joint Graduate Committee for a third and final attempt.

Branch examinations will be prepared and graded by faculty members with expertise in the particular branches, subject to supervisory committee approval. Related field examinations will be prepared and graded by the department responsible for the field, subject to supervisory committee approval. Grades will be pass or fail. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for the administration of branch and field examinations.

Some branch areas and the courses that have been covered on these branch examinations are:

Development Economics 860, AGEC 815

Econometrics 830, 930, and one of the following:

915, AGEC 905, AGEC 923, AGEC 936, STAT 770

Industrial Organization 947, 948

International Economics 823, 981

Labor Economics 920, 927

Monetary Theory and Policy 801, 915

Regional/Transportation Economics 925, 955

This list is not exhaustive. For each branch, it is the responsibility of the student to assemble at least two courses that constitute a cohesive area. ECON 890 (Seminar in Economics) is often used as a course covered in a branch examination. The courses constituting a branch must be approved by the supervisory committee before the branch examination is taken.

The preliminary examinations must be completed at least 7 months before the final oral defense of the dissertation. The preliminary examinations may be scheduled after the program of study is filed and at a time deemed appropriate by the supervisory committee. Students must be enrolled the semester that preliminary examinations are taken. Once the supervisory committee and the student set an examination date, the student should complete the Graduate School form Request For Preliminary Examination Ballot , Appendix D, one month in advance of the preliminary examination. If all requirements have been met, a ballot will be sent to the major professor by the Graduate School.

The Dissertation

A doctoral dissertation must be completed before the awarding of a Ph.D. degree. The purpose of the dissertation is to demonstrate the student's ability to conduct significant original research, to analyze the information obtained from the research, and to present the results in a form acceptable to the supervisory committee. The student generally works closely with the major professor during the preparation of the dissertation. The student should also consult regularly with the other members of the supervisory committee regarding their dissertation work.

Before substantial time is invested in a particular topic, the student shall prepare a written dissertation proposal, including identification of the problem to be studied, a review of literature relevant to that problem, and an outline of the research procedures to be used. The candidate shall defend that proposal at a seminar. In consultation with the major professor, the student shall schedule the seminar and arrange for the announcement of the time and location to faculty and graduate students in economics and agricultural economics. The presentation shall be open to faculty and graduate students.

The oral defense of the dissertation proposal must be completed at least six months prior to the date of the final Ph.D. oral dissertation defense. If the supervisory committee decides that the proposal or the presentation is unsatisfactory, a second oral defense of the dissertation proposal is held after the candidate has submitted a satisfactorily rewritten proposal to the committee.

The tentative completed dissertation is defended in a public final oral examination. Copies of the dissertation must be provided to each member of the final examining committee at least two weeks before the final oral examination. At least three-fourths of the committee must agree that the dissertation is in acceptable form before the final examination may be scheduled. The final oral examination is actually scheduled by completing the Graduate School form Approval to Schedule Final Examination: Doctoral , Appendix E. All departmental graduate faculty must be notified of the time and place of the examination. The notice should include the title of the dissertation. The final oral examination is public, i.e., it is open to all interested individuals.

The candidate normally will be requested to review in 20 or 25 minutes the problem addressed by the dissertation and the analytical procedures and major findings. This presentation will be followed by questions from and discussion with the examining committee over these topics and related topics in the major and minor fields. Regarding the use of visual aids in the presentation of the dissertation, it is the policy of the Graduate Council that “The use of such materials, if admitted by the Chair of the oral examination, should be for the benefit of the committee and not the candidate.” To pass the final oral examination, the candidate must receive the approval of at least three-fourths of the examining committee. With the permission of at least three-fourths of the committee, a failed oral examination may be retaken but no sooner than three months from the date of the failure. After the final oral examination is passed, final copies of the dissertation are distributed in accordance with Graduate School guidelines. The dissertation must conform to Graduate School guidelines concerning format and appearance.

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Miscellaneous

Assistantships
Each year the Department of Economics offers assistantships to some of its graduate students. The number of assistantships available in a given year depends on the size of the GTA budget (which the department receives from the College of Arts and Sciences). Because the budget is, regrettably, not large enough to provide financial assistance to every graduate student, representatives of the department (namely, the Department Head and the Director of Graduate Studies) must decide which students are to be offered support. These decisions are based on various criteria.

Grades are important, especially in core courses (graduate micro, macro, and econometrics). An A in a core course is weighted more heavily than an A in an applied economics course (especially at the 600-level). In turn, an A in an applied economics course counts more than an A in a course from another department.

Progress toward completing the degree is also important. Graduate students seeking financial assistance are expected to stay on a schedule that allows them to complete their degree in a timely fashion. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, required courses should be taken as soon as possible, and students in the Ph.D. program should take the qualifying and preliminary exams immediately after they have completed the necessary course work. Appointment or reappointment to a GTA position depends upon suitable progress in terms of grades, courses taken, and comprehensive examinations.

Because the department relies on graduate students to teach some of its courses, graduate students with the academic ability, composure, and communication skills necessary for classroom instruction will be given a high priority for an assistantship. International students can be considered for classroom teaching positions only if they have received a score of 50 or higher on the SPEAK test, administered by the English Language Program.

Other things equal, students in the Ph.D. program will be favored over students in the M.A. program, but the type of program is less important than a student's academic record.

Students who have completed at least four years in our graduate program will generally be a lower priority for support than students in their first four years unless the department needs the skills of more senior students, e.g., to teach.

Administrative Structure
The Ph.D. program in Economics will have two administrators: a Director of Graduate Studies (Economics) and a Director of Graduate Studies (Agricultural Economics). Student recruitment and student records are the responsibilities of the respective departments.

Each department will have its own graduate faculty, which will be responsible for its graduate faculty nominations and program requirements (other than in economics theory and research methods). Programmatic changes involving qualifying examinations or economic theory must be approved by a favorable majority vote of both graduate faculties voting separately before the change is effective. All courses in the program of study, except dissertation research and seminars that have been approved for credit/no-credit or pass/fail, must be taken for letter grades. Research for doctoral dissertations is graded credit/no-credit exclusively. Incomplete research credit hours awarded while research is in progress are not subject to the incomplete policy for course work.

A Joint Graduate Committee will have the responsibility for generating program policy recommendations, monitoring the functioning of the program, reviewing and recommending admissions, and approving Programs of Study. The committee will have four members, two of whom will be appointed by the Head of the Department of Economics and two of whom will be appointed by the Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics. The Joint Graduate Committee chairperson will serve for a 12-month term beginning July 1. In years ending with an odd digit the Head of the Economics Department will select the chairperson. In years ending with an even digit the Head of the Agricultural Economics Department will select the chairperson. The Directors of Graduate Studies will serve on the Graduate Committee as non-voting members.

Enrollment Requirements
A student working for a doctorate must be enrolled at Kansas State University during the semester in which the preliminary examination is taken and in each subsequent semester until the degree requirements are met and the dissertation is accepted by the Graduate School, unless a leave of absence is approved by the major professor, department head, and Dean of the Graduate School. Failure to enroll will result in loss of candidacy. To regain candidacy, the student must successfully petition the Readmission Committee of the Graduate School. For more details and restrictions see the Graduate Handbook .

Grievance Procedures
(1) A student dispute will be handled within the student’s own department (Economics or Agricultural Economics) unless that dispute involves components of the doctoral program common to both Economics and Agricultural Economics. For those disputes handled within a student’s own department, the student must first bring the matter directly before the faculty member or administrator involved. If the matter is not resolved at this level, a student may appeal to the responsible administrator of the graduate program. The responsible administrator is the Director of Graduate Studies in the student’s department unless the dispute involves the Director of Graduate Studies. In that event, the responsible administrator is the Department Head. If the dispute involves both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department head, the dean of the academic college will handle the appeal. If the matter is not resolved in the student’s favor upon appeal, the student may petition the Dean of the Graduate School by filing a formal grievance within six months of the time the student knows of the matter prompting the grievance.

(2) Student disputes involving the joint doctoral program in economics must initially be brought to the faculty member(s) involved in the dispute. All unresolved issues including those involving qualifying exams should then be taken up with the Director of Graduate Studies in Economics (or, if the issue directly involves the Director of Graduate Studies, with the Head of the Department of Economics). The final channel of appeal within the joint program is with the Joint Graduate Committee. If the matter is not solved in the student’s favor upon appeal to the Joint Graduate Committee, the student may petition the Dean of the Graduate School by filing a formal grievance within six months of the time the student knows of the matter prompting the grievance. 

(3) For grievances involving course grades (but not academic dishonesty), the student must appeal the grade to the instructor within four months following the issuance of the grade in question. If a grade grievance is not resolved by the student and the instructor, the student may appeal in writing to the instructor’s department head, who will meet with the instructor and the student to attempt to resolve the dispute. The student is responsible for initiating this appeal within two weeks of the date of initiating contact with the instructor to dispute the grade.

If the grievance has not been settled to the student’s satisfaction at the department level, written appeal may be made to the dean of the instructional college. The student is responsible for initiating this appeal within two weeks of the date of the decision by the department head. If the student is not satisfied with any resolution reached after involvement by the dean, the student may appeal in writing to the Graduate Student Grade Appeal Board.

For additional information, see the Graduate Handbook.  

Exceptions
A request for an exception from the policies in this document should be made in writing by the major professor to the appropriate administrative body, with copies sent to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Head of the Department of Economics. For policies originating from the Graduate School, the request should be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School. For policies originating from the joint Ph.D. program, the request should be directed to the Joint Graduate Committee. For policies originating from the Department of Economics, the request should be directed to the Economics Graduate Committee. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies for information concerning the appropriate direction for the request.

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