The Ph.D. program began in 1975 as a research degree aimed at advancing development in both the domestic economy, especially in the cities, and internationally, especially in less developed diasporic communities around the globe. Its first fields of specialization were therefore urban economics and development economics. Since then, it has added fields in human resources (labor/health economics) and international economics while never losing sight of the central role of the Ph.D. program in providing brilliant leaders in research, top policy positions, and education to bolster the implementation of sound economic principles in all areas of endeavor.
The Ph.D. program in Economics prepares students for positions of leadership in domestic and international institutions by providing them with high quality graduate instruction and research experience in the field of economics. The program's aim is to produce graduates who can compete successfully for appointments as top researchers, faculty, and influential policy makers in domestic or international public institutions and for research and administrative positions in private sector institutions.
The Ph.D. program consistently enrolls over 30 students and graduates, on average, three each year.The PhD program focuses on four areas: economic growth and development, urban economics, labor economics, and international economics. The program includes a special emphasis on the specific challenges facing the African American community and the African Diaspora. Its fields include foci on urban development, inequalities pervading the labor market, and the development challenges of Caribbean and African societies. The Ph.D. program leads research and instruction in such areas not only through classroom work but also by providing internship opportunities in community/faith based organization, local and national government agencies, policy organizations in the D.C. area, and in its own Center for Urban Progress and the Center on Race and Wealth.