PhD program


The PhD Program in Economics at the University of Victoria is designed to provide students with a sound knowledge of an expanded range of theory and tools, and to provide a consistent emphasis on the application of these tools to areas of policy importance. The program combines strong training in core economic theory and econometrics with electives in modern areas of applied economics.

A distinguishing feature of the PhD Program is an expanded core, and more focused fields, than is usually the case. The co-operative option is a novel feature of the program, and there is an emphasis on communication skills. Graduates of the UVic Economics PhD Program will be well prepared to compete effectively for research positions in the public and private sectors, or to pursue academic careers.

Learning outcomes for the PhD program include:

  • Exposure to foundational theory
  • Ability to identify and synthesize existing knowledge
  • Develop models of interest and apply them to specific research questions
  • Conduct theoretical and/or empirical research at a level that advances the state of knowledge
  • Critical assessment of own work and that of others
  • Acquire effective communication skills through written and oral presentations
  • Become experts in one or two chosen fields within economics
  • Learn skills to become effective teachers
  • Complete a PhD dissertation at a level to be published in academic journals

General requirements

Core requirements

Students are required to complete six core courses:

  • ECON 500 (Microeconomic Analysis/Theory)
  • ECON 501 (Macroeconomic Analysis/Theory)
  • ECON 545 (Econometric Analysis)
  • ECON 546 (Themes in Econometrics)
  • ECON 551 (Information and Incentives)
  • ECON 552 (Macroeconomic Issues)

The courses incorporate recent theoretical developments but approach them from the standpoint of their application rather than their intrinsic interest in pure theory. These are viewed as courses in modeling methods and develop modeling skills by using illustrations of the application of theory, and by requiring students to undertake modeling exercises. The application of general theoretical tools to a wide variety of specific problems in various field areas is stressed.

Candidacy examinations

Candidacy for PhD students in our department is satisfied by successfully completing:

  1. Two written comprehensive examinations from the three topic areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics
  2. An oral examination on your progress towards a dissertation research program

Students enroll in ECON 693 (PhD Candidacy Examinations) for the duration of their preparation for candidacy examinations. This begins at the time of enrollment in the PhD program and continues until candidacy requirements have been completed. Successful completion of ECON 693 is based on overall performance in the program as well as completing the two requirements above.

A student's supervisory committee determines the comprehensive examinations required. A student may not take a comprehensive examination more than twice. Comprehensive examinations are offered twice a year. Each examination is set and graded by a Comprehensive Exam Committee consisting of at least two faculty members from our department. A student's supervisory committee determines the requirements of the oral examination for Candidacy. In exceptional circumstances, a student's supervisory committee, with the approval of our department's Graduate Committee, may set alternative candidacy requirements. Explicit details on the Candidacy Examinations are provided here

Fields of specialization

While it is possible to graduate with almost any field of specialization within economics, the PhD Program in Economics at UVic is focused on five field areas: econometrics; environmental and resource economics; labour economics; industrial organization; and development and growth. These areas are related closely to the application of the techniques taught in the core courses and to the research strengths of our department.

Each student is required to take three field courses, determined by his/her supervisory committee.


The PhD dissertation consists of a substantial piece of original research work, of a publishable standard. The dissertation is supervised by a committee of at least four members, one of whom must be from outside the Department of Economics. The Chair of the committee is the student's academic supervisor.

A student moves to undertaking their dissertation after successful completion of ECON 693 (PhD Candidacy Examination). During dissertation work, the student is registered in ECON 699 (Dissertation), with an oral examination of the dissertation culminating the PhD. 

Co-op option

An attractive feature of the PhD degree is the co-operative education option. Students taking the co-op option have the opportunity to take semester-long paid employment with public and private sector employers. This provides an excellent opportunity for both domestic and international students to integrate professional experience into their degree program and obtain additional financial support. Further to this, research undertaken during the work terms may provide the basis for the student's Dissertation.

Students selecting the Co-op option must take Econ 516, Cost-Benefit Analysis (offered in the Spring term) and must pass Candidacy prior to taking their first co-op work term. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of B (5.0) or better.

In order to receive the co-op designation on their UVic degree, PhD students must complete a minimum of three, four-month work terms. It is also possible for students to go on a single work term, in such a case, the student’s degree will not include the recognition of a co-op option, but that of Work Experience.

Each work term is followed by a written report from the student that must be judged satisfactory by our department. Students who may be interested in the Co-op option will have an opportunity to meet the in the Fall of their first year in the program.

Co-op positions are filled by a competitive process involving the submission of applications and participation in interviews. Flexibility regarding job location and work setting increases the probability of placement. International students should note that they are not eligible to apply for Canadian Federal Government positions but are generally eligible for most other positions, as long as they have a valid study permit.

LATHE Graduate Certificate

What is LATHE?

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE) is a dynamic Certificate Program that focuses on the pedagogical knowledge and practical skills required to teach effectively in higher education.  LATHE combines knowledge and practice about teaching and learning across the disciplines to create a future professoriate fluent in the foundational principles of post-secondary instruction. It will challenge participants to reflect on their practical teaching activities in a scholarly way within their disciplinary context. 

  • Earn this graduate certificate concurrently with UVic doctoral degree
  • Be part of a program that is focused on your future. Enroll in the 16-month, part-time, 6.0-unit Graduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education.

Course Content

First Year:

ED-D 600: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (1.5 units) - Fall term

Explores instructional research and contemporary practices in higher education. Topics includes using effective teaching strategies, developing course curriculum, and exploring psychology of learning and instruction.

ED-D 610: Contemporary Issues in Higher Education (1.5 units) - Spring term

Critically examines the problems and issues that dominate current thought and discussion globalization and internationalization, university governance, teaching and leaning, the nature of academic work, corporatization of post-secondary institutions, credentialism, and relations between higher education and the state.

Second Year:

ED-D 605: Educational Psychology: Doctoral Apprenticeship in Teaching in Higher Education (3.0 units)

This two-semester course provides guided teaching apprenticeship under the mentorship of the program faculty advisor, program consultant of the LTC and select faculty members. Participants will engage in presentations, role-play scenarios, teach undergraduate classes, and complete the program with a teaching dossier.

Program Cost

For concurrent University of Victoria graduate students there is a ONE time program fee for the whole 6.0 unit certificate:
  • Domestic: $723.56 plus $114.50 for the application fee.
  • International: $863.16 plus $140.50 for the application fee.

Please note that fees are increased every May. These are the current fees as of May 2015.

This program is jointly offered by Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies (EPLS), the Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC), and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS).

The LATHE graduate cerfificate is restricted to doctoral students who are co-registered in their own disciplines at the University of Victoria.

For further information and to register for the program, contact Cynthia Korpan, LTC Professional Development Programs and TA Training Manager, at 250-472-4798 or


Our faculty members have a broad range of research interests, as is reflected in their recent publications and other research activities.


See the How to Apply page for instructions on how to apply to the program.

Admission into the PhD Program is highly competitive, and places are limited. Admission is offered only in the Fall Term (September) of each year. Normally, a student should have completed an MA in Economics before entering the PhD Program, but Masters students who show sufficient promise may be permitted to transfer into the PhD Program.

Aside from ascertaining that students possess skills at a level to undertake a PhD, we also requires students to have appropriate written and verbal communication skills. Students whose skills in any of these areas are considered to be inadequate may be asked to complete necessary upgrading prior to admission.

All applicants coming from a university outside North America are expected to complete the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Applicants for admission whose first language is not English, and who have resided in Canada or other English-speaking countries for less than three consecutive years immediately prior to the session applied for, must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Please see the Language Proficiency requirements.

Financial assistance

All students are considered for financial assistance. Financial assistance consists of teaching assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships.

Students are encouraged to look for external support as well.

Further information

Students who require further information concerning the program should visit the Graduate FAQ page prior to contacting the .

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above information, prospective students are urged to consult the latest University of Victoria Calendar, or contact the in the Department of Economics.