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A special strength of our program is the opportunity for students to engage in research at an early stage. The first formal opportunity begins during the summer between the first and second years. During these few months each students is required to perform research in an area of economics that interests them, usually empirically related. The paper is not necessarily original research although some have chosen to do so. The point of the first-year paper is to expose students to research resources at the university and to expose students to the rigors of completing a paper.

During the second year of study, the following summer, and early fall of the third year, each student works on his or her own research and prepares a paper of sufficient quality to demonstrate an ability to engage in research. This paper may be a preliminary investigation of the student’s dissertation topic, or it may be a self-contained paper that is independent of the dissertation. To encourage excellence, the department offers awards for the best second year paper.


Both faculty and students are actively involved in a workshop conducted by the Department in the various areas of specialization. The workshop consists of a team of researchers (faculty and students) who make weekly presentations of their current research. In addition, the workshop provides regular forums for presentations of the current research of leading scholars from other universities and research institutions who visit the Department frequently. Third-year and fourth-year students participate in the workshop. Second-year students are encouraged to attend the workshop and first-year students are invited to attend.