Ph.D. Track

Students must be approved to follow the ILLINOIS Ph.D. Track within the MSPE Program.

One of the central aims of the MSPE Program is to provide the research-oriented students with the necessary background in economics, statistics, and mathematics to gain admission to Ph.D. programs in economics and related fields at the University of Illinois or elsewhere. We have instituted two mechanisms for achieving this goal.


This is a very innovative and unique feature of the MSPE Program designed for students with a strong background in economics, quantitative methods, and English, and with excellent GRE scores. This feature has two great advantages for students:

  • It allows the more advanced students to automatically transfer to our ILLINOIS Economics Ph.D. program.
  • By taking Ph.D. level courses in their second-year of study in the MSPE Program, the Ph.D. track students reduce the time necessary to complete the Ph.D. program by one year.

Placement of students in the ILLINOIS Ph.D. track is solely at the discretion of the director of the MSPE Program who determines each student's adeptness and eligibility for it. All selected students must satisfy specific requirements to remain in the ILLINOIS Ph.D. track.

Regular Path

For those who are not approved to pursue the Ph.D. track, but still have a desire to apply to a Ph.D. program after completing the MSPE Program, the MSPE program offers the flexibility of the plan of study so that they can acquire the skills necessary to increase their chances of being admitted to a Ph.D. program.

Students are advised and sent to take courses in the areas required by Ph.D. admission committees. Subsequently, in the fall of their second year in the program, the students are personally advised by the program's director as to which departments they should apply to, and how, in order to maximize the likelihood of their admission. The director will also write letters of recommendation for them to help them gain admission. This hands-on approach has enabled many of the MSPE students to enter excellent Ph.D. programs all over the world.

Some students decide to apply to universities after completion of their master's degree and working for a few years. The program also helps them by providing them with advice and letters.

A partial list of the universities to whose Ph.D. programs the MSPE students have gained admission is found here.