Students in Business Economics take courses in microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, probability and statistics, econometrics, business history, the Business Education for Scholars and Teachers (BEST) Series, and other doctoral level courses.

A written general exam in microeconomic theory is required.


Student are required to complete a teaching assignment for one full academic term.

Special Field Examination

A Special Field Examination, also called “Orals”, is completed at end of second year or beginning of third year. The exam is taken in three areas of concentration, where each concentraion area typically covers material that is equivalent to two terms of coursework. The three areas, taken together, should demonstrate good breadth of preparation. Preparation for the special field exam may be in the form of doctoral courses in economics and doctoral seminars; second-year MBA courses; doctoral courses offered elsewhere at Harvard or M.I.T.; and reading courses.

Research & Dissertation

The dissertation should demonstrate the candidate's ability to perform original research that develops in a scholarly way a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding in the chosen special field. The original work will include the presentation, analysis, and evaluation of unique data yielding significant, relevant, and independent research conclusions.

See Program Requirements for detailed curriculum information.