Field Exams

Students must successfully demonstrate mastery over two fields prior to advancing to candidacy. Subject to course availability, the department offers courses in the following fields of study.

Austrian economics
Constitutional political economy
Economic history
Economic sociology and political economy
Experimental economics
Industrial organization
Institutions and development
Law and economics
Monetary theory
Public choice
Smithian political economy

The evaluation of a student’s knowledge of a particular field may be assessed in one of two ways: (1) through a written exam, or (2) through an original academic research paper that demonstrates mastery of the field of study. Each field committee, appointed by the Director of Graduate Programs, has the option to decide which of these two forms of evaluation will be used to assess students’ knowledge. The method of evaluation will be announced each January, immediately following the spring exams, by the Graduate Studies Office and will affect the subsequent August and January exam sessions.

Students are not permitted to take field exams or submit a field paper prior to the successful completion of the qualifying exams and required field coursework. No exceptions will be made.

Written field exams are closed-book, three hours in length and are offered during the same time frame as qualifying exams (August/January). For those fields requiring a written paper, students may submit their final paper(s) on, or before, the date specified during the exam period in January and August. Papers will not be accepted after the date announced by the Graduate Studies Office. The specific dates for exams and the submission of research papers will be communicated to students by the Graduate Studies Office.  

The field committee will grade exams or evaluate academic papers submitted to meet the field requirement. Exams and papers are graded as “Pass” or “Fail.” Students are allowed two attempts of passing the exam or research paper requirement. In the case a student receives two “Fail” grades, they must choose a different field of study. This requires completing the two-course sequence of the alternative field and either sitting for the associated field exam or submitting a new research paper. The same research paper may not be submitted for more than one field.

Prior to taking a field exam, a student must take all of the required course work in that field. The specific courses that count toward satisfying the course requirement for each field are as follows:


Field Exam

Required Course Work


  ECON 880, 881


  ECON 828, 839 (or 895 Const Econ II)

  Economic History

  ECON 623, 823

  Economic Sociology and
    Political Economy

  ECON 895 Economic Sociology I

  ECON 895 Economic Sociology II

  Experimental Economics

  ECON 838, 885,886
  These 3 field courses are required to satisfy the
  course requirements for this
 field exam.

  Industrial Organization

  ECON 844, 846


  ECON 676, 829, 866
  Any 2 of these 3 field courses will satisfy the
  course requirements for this field
 exam. However,
  exam questions may 
draw from material covered
  in all 3 
field courses.

  Law and Economics

  ECON 840, 841


  ECON 817, 871

  Public Choice

  ECON 852, 854, and/or 856   
  Any 2 of these 3 field courses will satisfy the
  course requirements for this field
 exam. However,
  exam questions may 
draw from material covered
  in all 3 
field courses.

  Smithian Political Economy

  ECON 843 Smithian PE I

  ECON 845 Smithian PE II



Last updated:  12/20/21