Pursuing PhD in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology doesn’t require an introduction. It is, arguably, the best technology school in the world. While its degrees in technology are regarded with utmost respect the world over, not many people know that its economics department is also as illustrious, what with it being rated as the best in the United States of America according to many surveys (such as a National Research Council study and US News and World Report). 

In this third article of the series, we will look at pursuing a PhD in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the earlier two articles, we have looked at pursuing graduate programs in economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and  the University of Florida. The PhD program at MIT is very competitive, with only 22 admissions in a year after choosing from hundreds of applications from all over the world.

The PhD scholars at the Department of Economics at MIT have some required courses they need to pass. These include – microeconomics and its theory, macroeconomics and econometrics. On top of this, students are required to take two major and two minor fields (for a total of four fields) in economics and pass in at least both their major fields. The good news is, that the fields offer a wide range of choice – from public finance to international economics and industrial organization.

The name MIT in itself inspires confidence, respect and awe. But for those among you who are still thinking about the future prospects after doing a PhD in economics at the Massachal usetts Institute of Technology, here is a short description – people passing out with a PhD in economics from MIT have gone on to teach at some of the most prestigious B-schools and universities in the world, worked for organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the National Economic Council, and also been the top advisers in various federal government advisory boards and councils.

During the PhD program in economics at MIT, PhD scholars are not only expected to pass their examinations and give their theses, they are also expected to attend informal lunch sessions that induce healthy discussion of research activity among professors and students and slightly more formal workshops which take these discussions to, as already mentioned, a more formal level. Some of the most illustrious alumni have mentioned how helpful these experiences were in shaping their future abilities in the field of economics.

The entry, as already mentioned, is extremely competitive (what else can you expect from MIT, anyway?). The basic requirement is a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The bachelor’s degree doesn’t necessarily have to be in economics or a field related to it.

The general GRE score has to be reported by each applicant. The completed application needs to be sent to the MIT Admissions Office, and only after thorough scrutiny of each and every application, the institute takes a decision regarding whom to admit.

The entry may be difficult, but admission is a dream come true for many aspiring economists in the world. As easily understandable, PhD in economics at MIT opens up a vista of opportunities for the degree holder not easily obtainable by others.


I am Deepanjan Datta doing electrical engineering from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Durgapur, India. I love to write, and develop software programs.