Student Life

Many complementary programs are likely to be of interest to prospective students considering doctoral study in economics at Chicago. These programs supplement formal admissions and degree requirements, courses, and workshops already available to students. 

Student Award Programs

The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics confers annual prizes to outstanding students in the department. Awards include:

Martin and Margaret Lee Prizes and Graduate Student Teaching awards, including prizes for the Highest Score Earned on the Price Theory Core Exam, the Highest Score Earned on the Theory of Income Core Exam, the Highest Score Earned on the Quantitative Methods Core Exam, and the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

The Yiran Fan Memorial Prize, a fellowship established in memory of late UChicago Ph.D. student, Yiran Fan, which includes contributions from Fan’s parents and is awarded to a student in the Joint Program in Financial Economics.

The George S. Tolley Prize, initiated by economist Vinod Thomas, AM’74, PhD’77, recognizes a third-year doctoral student in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics whose research paper demonstrates the potential for the impact of economic analysis on policy. 

A donation made in honor of George S. Tolley will fund a $5000 prize for three years, beginning in 2021. The George S. Tolley Prize will be awarded to a student whose 3rd year doctoral research paper demonstrates the potential for the impact of economic analysis on policy. The prize will be a special award bestowed over and above the awardee’s graduate funding package. It will be conferred in the Autumn Quarter of the winning student’s fourth year in the doctoral program.

All rising fourth year students who have completed their third year research paper are eligible to apply. If you would like to be considered, please email your interest along with your third year research paper to Graduate Student Affairs Administrator Kathryn Falzareno ( The winner will be selected by a faculty committee led by Mikhail Golosov, the Director of Graduate Studies, and will be announced at the annual Graduate Student/Faculty Lunch in November.

Clubs & Involvement

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. 

The Political Economy Club Mentor-Mentee Program

The Mentor-Mentee Program is an opportunity for first-years to socialize with and learn from more experienced students, especially in the context of life at UChicago as a new PhD student. Students are paired according to research preferences or other points of connection. In this way, first-year students gain insights and advice in navigating the beginning of their research journeys, and have a peer point of contact for questions or assistance. For any questions, please contact PEC leadership.

Guest Lecture/Visit Series

Graduate students have also organized a Guest Lecture/Visitor 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.

Math Camp

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.


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.

STEM Eligibility

The PhD program is STEM eligible for international students.


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.