In addition to the formal admissions and degree requirements, courses workshops, and faculty members, there are many complementary programs likely to be of interest to prospective students considering doctoral study in economics at Chicago.
The Political Economy Club
The Political Economy Club (PEC) is the organization run for and by graduate students in the Department of Economics. The PEC is in charge of organizing the department's social hours every other week (known colloquially as TGIFs) as well as special events during the year, such as the skit show and the spring picnic.
Guest Lecture/Visit Series
Graduate students have also organized a Guest Lecture/Visit Series through which they invite prominent scholars around the country to speak about their current interests, discuss research agendas and ideas with economics students at Chicago, and simply be available to meet informally over the course of a day.
Prior to the official beginning of Autumn Quarter each year, the department sponsors an optional two-week, non-credit course on quantitative methods in economics. Known informally as Math Camp, this voluntary program for entering students introduces some basic mathematical concepts used in economic theory and core classes. In addition, the program serves effectively as an informal way for new students to get to know each other before the academic year begins.
Teaching experience is not required to earn a doctorate in economics at Chicago, but economics graduate students have access to many paid jobs that are good opportunities to develop teaching skills. The College has a tutoring program that welcomes the assistance of graduate students to College students in economics and mathematics. In the Department of Economics, faculty and instructors hire teaching assistants for both graduate and undergraduate courses. Furthermore, the undergraduate program selects qualified advanced-year graduate students as lecturers; these lecturers lead independent sections of intermediate undergraduate economics classes. All lecturers are given training and feedback in the form of videotaped training sessions and two sets of student evaluations. Lecturers have found this to be an ideal first-time teaching experience that also enhances their standing in the competitive academic job market. The department takes pride in developing and recognizing top teaching skills. Economics graduate students have been recipients of the Booth Prizes awarded by the University for excellence in teaching.
Each September, the University also offers a two-day program on teaching in the College. Faculty members and administrators provide information on the curriculum and culture of the College. They also discuss the instructor's role and ethical obligations and offer assistance with leading discussions and lecturing. This program is open to graduate students across all departments at Chicago.
In addition to normal sources of financial aid, which include fellowships and teaching opportunities, the department has special funds for travel to partially defray expenses associated with presenting a paper at professional conferences, gathering data in the field, acquiring data sets, and dissertation support.
The department is fully committed to the placement of its doctoral students in professional academic, nonacademic, and research positions in the United States and abroad. In addition to the efforts of individual faculty members on behalf of their own students, the department holds an initial informational session each October for all students on the job market, compiles a placement brochure and distributes it to more than 500 organizations nationally and internationally, responds to inquiries and posts job openings, and conducts mock interviews with students prior to the January American Economic Association meetings (the principal forum through which graduate students interview with prospective employers).
Chicago-trained economists are highly sought after in the academic, private, and public sectors.