Our application system is now closed. We will start accepting applications for the 2024-25 academic year in October 2023.

Below you can find details about our PhD program and about the application process and requirements.



Admission Requirements

Applicants to the doctoral program should have an honours bachelor's degree (or equivalent) and a master's degree in economics. Exceptional applicants with degrees in related disciplines (e.g., finance) and with a strong mathematical and quantitative background will also be considered.

The application is submitted online (see "Apply to the PhD Program" below for the link) and must include a statement of interest, transcripts from each of the post-secondary institutions you have attended, and two academic reference letters. Applicants whose previous degree is not from a Canadian or U.S. university are required to submit the GRE. Non-native English speakers are also required to submit an English Language Proficiency test.

The requirements of the Ph.D. program, including the thesis, normally take at least four years of full-time study to complete, and must be completed satisfactorily within seven years of initial registration in the program.

The doctoral program comprises course work, including preparation in economic theory and areas of specialization, writing comprehensive examinations in micro- and macro-theory, and writing a doctoral thesis under the supervision of one or more faculty members.

Apply to the PhD Program

Our application system is now closed. We will start accepting applications for the 2024-25 academic year in October 2023.

Deadline information: The February 1 deadline only applies to the submission of the online application; we expect supporting documents to follow as soon as possible (by March 1). We begin evaluating applications immediately after the February 1 deadline, so please make sure that your application is complete as soon as possible. We will continue to allow applications to be submitted until our program is full, but if you are submitting after February 1, please alert the Graduate Assistant via email (econ.grad.assistant@queensu.ca).

Step 1: Apply to the PhD program

All applications for graduate study at Queen's University must be submitted online via the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs application portal.

Fee: $110 CDN, non-refundable

Step 2: Two Academic References

Reference letters are submitted through the online application portal.  Once an application is submitted, referees are notified via email and are provided with the necessary form.  Our department requires two academic reference letters in order to consider an application complete.  If your referee did not receive this email, please have him/her check their "junk mail" as often this is where they end up.  If this is not the case, please email us and we will arrange to have the email re-sent.  If your referee requests a hard copy of this form, please contact us and we will make the necessary arrangements.  Referee letters must be received directly from the source and if a hard copy is sent, it must be in a sealed and signed envelope. Reference letters sent through any other means will not be accepted. 

Step 3: Transcripts

Along with your application, you will be required to submit your official transcripts from each of the post-secondary institutions you have attended.  Transcripts can now be uploaded directly through the application portal to the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.  Details regarding submitting your transcript are located here (see Step 2). If your transcript is written in a language other than English or French, it must be accompanied by a translation completed by the issuing university. Unofficial transcripts will not be accepted. Photocopies of transcripts will not be accepted unless they are properly notarized.  If your transcript does not indicate the degree you were granted and the date you received it, you will need to submit an official letter from the issuing university providing this information.  

Please note:  If you are a current or former student of Queen's University, you will not be required to submit your Queen's transcript.

School of Graduate Studies
Queen's University
Gordon Hall Room 425
74 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario
Canada K7L 3N6

Fall term marks:

If you have not already completed your degree, we will require fall term marks before evaluating your application. Fall term marks may be submitted after the January 15th application deadline, however, it is best to send them as soon as possible so that your application may be adjudicated in a timely fashion.


Step 4: Graduate Record Examination and English as a Second Language


If your previous degree is not from a Canadian or U.S. university, you will be required to submit a GRE score.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  There is no minimum GRE score requirement and we are unable to comment of the competitiveness of scores as this depends on the annual pool of applicants.  GRE scores must be received directly from the issuing agency. Below you will find the necessary information required to do so:  

Institution Code: 0949                   Department Code: 1801



At Queen's, the official language of instruction is English. As such, non-native English speakers will be required to submit an English Language Proficiency test. Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not required to submit proof of English language proficiency. If within the 12 month period prior to the month of application you studied for at least one complete year at a post-secondary institution where English is the official language of instruction, you may be eligible for an exemption. To request an exemption, please submit your request in writing to the Director, Admissions and Student Services at the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

English Proficiency scores must be sent directly from the issuing agency. Below you will find the necessary information to do so:

TOEFL Institution Code:  0949        TOEFL Department Code:  84

In order to be considered for admission, you must meet or exceed the following English Language Proficiency test score:

TOEFL  - 600 paper based, 250 computer based, 88 iBT  - Please make sure that you meet the minimum requirements of each section of the TOEFL score as outlined in Step 4 of this link.

IELTS    - 7

MELAB  - 80

Course Requirements

The minimum course requirements consist of eleven graduate half-courses in the Department of Economics. Students must complete four graduate courses in economic theory (ECON-811, ECON-813, ECON-816, and ECON-817); two graduate courses in quantitative methods (ECON-850 and ECON-851); three 900-level courses with an ECON course code prefix; and two additional graduate level courses. Students must take a minimum of three half-courses in their first term and three half-courses in their second term of the program.

Mathematics Requirement

The Department of Economics requires that all incoming graduate students have adequate preparation in calculus and linear algebra.

A Graduate Methods Review Course is offered shortly before the beginning of the Fall Term. All Ph.D. students and M.A. Program III students are required to attend the course and satisfy all course requirements. All Ph.D. students must pass the Graduate Methods Review course before writing comprehensive examinations.

Foreign Language Requirement

There are no foreign language requirements.

Minimum Average Grade

A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher must be maintained in all primary courses taken towards the Ph.D. degree. A student's cumulative average will be computed on each anniversary of the student's first registration. This requirement is in addition to any imposed by the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. A student who fails to maintain the minimum average will normally be required to withdraw from the program on academic grounds. In calculating the cumulative average of a student who has failed a course, C+ will be used in place of the grade for the failed course until the student has redeemed the failure.

Comprehensive Examinations

All eligible Economics Ph.D. students are required to take both the Microeconomics and Macroeconomics comprehensive examinations no later than September of their second year in the program. All eligible Economics Ph.D. students are required to pass both the Microeconomics and the Macroeconomics comprehensive examinations by June of their second year in the program. The comprehensive examinations are normally offered twice each year; once in May and once August. For more details go to the Aims of and Procedures for Ph.D. Comprehensive Examinations.

All eligible Economics Ph.D. students are also required to submit a research paper that demonstrates readiness to carry out research on the scale of a Ph.D. dissertation. This paper must be submitted by October of their third year in the program, and all eligible Economics Ph.D. students are required to obtain a Pass on the research paper by February of their third year in the program.

Paper requirements section:

All Economics Ph.D. students will be required to submit a research paper that demonstrates readiness to carry out research on the scale of a Ph.D. dissertation. Work on this paper will begin in the second year and is intended to enable students to transition more quickly to the research phase of the Ph.D. program..

  1. A proposal for the paper must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator by May 31st of the second year.
  2. The final draft must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator by November 30th of the third year.
  3. The paper will be evaluated by a committee consisting of two faculty members chosen by the Graduate coordinator in consultation with the student, and will be marked as either Pass or Fail.
  4. Those that obtain a Fail have the opportunity to resubmit once, with the deadline for doing so being March 30th of their third year.
  5. After resubmitting, the paper will be evaluated and the grade will be either changed to a Pass or it remains a Fail. A student who does not obtain a Pass will normally be required to withdraw from the program. Like all academic decisions, this decision would be subject to the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs’ academic appeal process.

Post-Comprehensive Requirements

1. Ph.D. Thesis Seminars (ECON-999)

All Ph.D. students who have passed the comprehensive examinations are required to attend the Ph.D. thesis seminars. These seminars are held weekly and are organized by at least two faculty members. Students who have completed all their course work are required to make presentations of their research ideas in the seminars. These seminars are designed to provide helpful feedback from faculty and other students regarding a student's thesis topic and research.

2. Ph.D. Thesis Progress

All post-comprehensive Ph.D. students are required to meet individually with the Graduate Coordinator in the Spring-Summer term of their second, third, fourth and subsequent years in the Ph.D. program to report on their Ph.D. thesis progress. By the end of the Winter term of their second year in the Ph.D. program, all post-comprehensive Ph.D. students are expected to have begun actively developing their Ph.D. thesis research program by consulting with faculty members in the Department. By the end of the Winter Term of their third year in the Ph.D. program, students are normally expected to have formulated a detailed research plan and to have obtained the consent of one (or more) faculty member(s) in the Department to serve as their thesis supervisor (or co-supervisors). Failure to meet these thesis progress benchmarks may be taken as evidence of unsatisfactory academic progress in the awarding of graduate financial support for the ensuing academic year.

3. Workshops

Post-comprehensive students are required to attend one of the workshops (microeconomics, macroeconomics, or quantitative) on a regular basis. Students are encouraged to present completed work from their Ph.D. thesis in the appropriate workshop if they wish. The Workshops calendar is available online.

Funding Opportunities for Graduate Students

Financial assistance for all full-time graduate students in the Department of Economics typically includes a two-term Teaching Assistantship (currently worth $10,458 for the academic year), and may also include a scholarship (varying amounts). All master's students are eligible for funding in their first year in the program, while doctoral students are eligible to receive funding for the first four years in the program. All applicants will be considered for financial assistance if it has been requested on the application.

Queen's University has established a minimum guarantee of funding for doctoral students of $18,000 per year for four years. In 2022-2023, the minimum level of funding for new doctoral students within the Economics department was $25,000.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply to all possible external sources for fellowship support.

The two major external sources of funding are Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS).

More information on funding is available on the Graduate School's web page located here: http://www.queensu.ca/sgs/prospective-students/awards-scholarships


For further financial assistance, the following programs are available to our graduate students:

Queen's Work Study Program

SGPS Administered Funds and Programs

Recently Offered PhD Advanced Topics Courses


  • Instructor(s):

    This is the first section of the Ph.D. topics course of macro and money. This section of the course interprets macro and money broadly. The common theme is the presence of market frictions. The lectures will go through a small number of articles in detail, leaving the extensive reading of related articles to the students.

    In doing so, this section is intended to serve two purposes. One is to introduce students to a set of economic issues and models, and the other is to help students start thinking about research that will eventually lead to the dissertation in the field.

    It is important to understand both the economic idea in each article and the way in which a model is worked out to illustrate this idea. Depending on the economic issue involved, some articles are qualitative while others are quantitative.

    Students are expected to actively participate in the course through discussions and presentations. They are also expected to work out the models presented in the class and read the closely related papers.

  • Instructor(s):

    This is a PhD-level field course on experimental economics, with an emphasis on field experiments. We will discuss how experimentation can be used to test economic theories and investigate social phenomena. The goal is to teach students how to critically consume the experimental literature, as well as design, implement, and analyze their own experiments.

    The course will consist of lectures, discussions of research papers, as well as a final project that could become a dissertation chapter. The background for the course is graduate-level microeconomic theory and econometrics.

  • Instructor(s):

    The objective of this course is to provide PhD students with the necessary knowledge and tools to do research in industrial organization and competition policy. The material covered in this class focuses mostly on the structure of markets, and the strategic behavior of firms and consumers.

    The emphasis will be on empirical work, but we will also spend time talking about the importance of combining data with theory and suitable econometric techniques in order to study issues in Industrial Organization.

    The topics that will be covered include the evaluation of market power and mergers, product differentiation, productivity, collusion, price discrimination, entry and product positioning, and auctions.

  • Instructor(s):
    This is a graduate course on microeconomic theory. The primary goal of the course is to understand the roles of information in markets, and we cover topics that are at the intersection of information economics and industrial organization.
  • Instructor(s):

    This course combines theory, applications, and estimation of models of job search and firm behavior in imperfect markets, with a specific focus on topics including wage dispersion, wage dynamics, price setting, and market power.

    The course is designed to help students understand and explain real-life phenomena in the data, and to provide the theoretical, computational, and empirical tools to perform cutting-edge quantitative policy and economic analysis.