PhD in Economics

The doctoral program in economics gives students exposure to the distinct fields of Austrian economics, experimental economics, and public choice. With the influence of two Nobel Laureates, the late James Buchanan, Mason professor, and Vernon Smith, Mason professor emeritus, the program provides students with a rich perspective on a variety of fields.

As a part of the PhD program, you will work alongside well-renowned faculty to engage in original research and learn how to communicate ideas with a wide-ranging audience. Doctoral students benefit from Mason’s location in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and are exposed to exceptional opportunities. Mason graduates go on to become value-added innovators in the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

The first year of study focuses on core theory and application. The second year of the program focuses on demonstrating mastery in two fields. Student may choose from a varied range of fields including Austrian economics, constitutional economics, economic history, experimental economics, industrial organization, institutions and development, law and economics, monetary theory, public choice and Smithian political economy.

Students who plan to pursue the PhD degree should apply directly to the doctoral program. They can earn a master’s in economics while pursuing the PhD.

Our graduate programs hold courses generally in the evening on the Fairfax campus. The PhD program can accommodate students who are considering part-time enrollment.

Limited funding for PhD students is available through teaching assistant positions and the Mercatus Center PhD Fellowship Program.


Our doctoral students have opportunities to teach undergraduate classes, conduct research both independently and in collaboration with faculty, and attend conferences. Check out our Job Market Candidates tab to read about more of our doctoral students.