Doctoral Courses

Click here for the current USC Schedule of Classes. 

Departmental Clearance (D-clearance)

To request D-clearance for a given section, send the following to the PhD Program Advisor (Ms. Annie Le).*

  • USC ID
  • Course code
  • Section number (5 digits)
  • Overall GPA
  • Non-ECON Doctoral Students: in addition to the items listed above, please provide the following in order to receive D-clearance for a 600-level (doctoral) ECON course. Forwarded email messages will suffice as written approval:
    1. written approval from the instructor
  • Master's Students: in addition to the items listed above, please provide the following in order to receive D-clearance for a 600-level (doctoral) ECON course. Forwarded email messages will suffice as written approval:
    1. written approval from your program director or academic advisor
    2. written approval from the instructor

*Seats within ECON 601, ECON 602, and ECON 611 (fall semesters) as well as ECON 603, ECON 605, and ECON 609 (spring semesters) are reserved for 1Y PhD in Economics students. As such, each semester, only a few seats within these courses are open to non-Econ and MS AEE students.

*Seats within ECON 613 are primarily limited to doctoral students. Students within the MS in Mathematical Finance program should enroll in ECON 515, not ECON 613.

*ECON 606, ECON 616, ECON 620aL, ECON 620bL, ECON 659, and ECON 652 are exempt from the requirements stated above. Contact the Master's Programs Advisor to receive D-clearances for these courses or for ECON 500-level courses not listed below.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Below are steps for enrolling in and receiving a “CR” (credit) mark for ECON 596: Internship for Curricular Practical Training (1.0 units).

Step 1: Follow the CPT Application Process to complete the CPT I-20 Request Form and attach a signed offer letter (on the organization’s letterhead) for review by the PhD Program Advisor. Your offer letter should contain your scope of work and how this will relate or contribute to your research and dissertation. If it does not, send this supplementary context (2-3 sentences) to the PhD Program Advisor via email.

Step 2: The PhD Program Advisor will review your CPT Request and—if approvedgrant you D-clearance to enroll in ECON 596: Internship for Curricular Practical Training (1.0 units). You will need to manually register for the course via WebReg.

Step 3: After verifying your enrollment in ECON 596: Internship for Curricular Practical Training (1.0 units), the PhD Program Advisor will sign and complete the CPT I-20 Request Form. USC OIS will then automatically receive the finished form.

As always, communicate with OIS if you have any CPT/visa questions.

Step 4: Add this action item to your calendar or task list. Failure to complete the following requirement in a timely manner may lead to an “MG” (missing grade) or “NC” (no credit) mark.

Upon completion of your internship, have your supervisor email the PhD Program Advisor a signed memo written on the organization’s letterhead. The memo needs to confirm that you have successfully completed your internship. The verification letter does not need to be long; 1-2 paragraphs will suffice. 

ECON 523: Economic History and Development (4)

Historical trends in developed and developing societies in various aspects of modernization such as human resources, capital, technology, resource allocation, income distribution, international relations.

ECON 527: Theory of Value: Classical Origins and Neoclassical Critique (4, Fa)

Classical economic theory; its precursors, main contributors, extensions, and critics; focus upon the writings and ideas of Smith, Say, Malthus, Ricardo, Mill, and Marx.

ECON 538: Values and Social Analysis (4)

Factors that make values an essential feature of human society; how values develop, change, and are abandoned; role of values in economic development.

ECON 600: Economics of Choice (4)

Reviews the normative and positive theories of choice drawing upon recent theoretical and empirical work in cognitive and evolutionary psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics and economics.
Prerequisite: ECON 500.

ECON 601: Microeconomic Theory I (4)

Optimization of the consumer and the firm; duality and imputed value; perfect and imperfect competition in product and factor markets. 
Prerequisite: ECON 401; Recommended Preparation: ECON 500.

ECON 602: Macroeconomic Theory I (4)

Aggregate demand, supply and government policy; theories of economic growth and business cycles; static and dynamic implications of government policies. 
Prerequisite: ECON 401.

ECON 603: Microeconomic Theory II (4, Sp)

General equilibrium theory; existence, uniqueness, and stability; welfare economics; social choice; dynamic models and uncertainty; special topics. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601.

ECON 604: Game Theory (4)

Strategies and equilibrium concepts; dynamic and repeated games; incomplete information and learning in games.
Prerequisite: ECON 601.

ECON 605: Macroeconomic Theory II (4, Sp)

Macroeconomic theory based on the concepts of optimal growth and intertemporal equilibrium; overlapping generations models; recent developments in macroeconomic theory. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601 and ECON 602.

ECON 606: Behavioral Theories of Decision-Making (4)

Examination of behavioral theories used to describe and predict choices made in both an individual decision-making setting and strategic environments. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601.

ECON 607: Topics in Dynamic Optimization (4)

Theory and numerical methods for dynamic optimization and control; selected applications in economic analysis and econometrics. 
Prerequisite: ECON 502 and knowledge of FORTRAN.

ECON 608: Advanced Neuroeconomics (4)

Advanced methodology of neuroeconomics including neural activity, memory, value and reward systems, emotions, and risk. 
Prerequisite: ECON 503.

ECON 609: Econometric Methods (4, FaSp)

Review of statistical methods of estimation and inference, linear regression with multicollinearity and serial correlation; multivariate regression and simultaneous equations. 
Prerequisite: ECON 611.

ECON 610: Quantitative Analysis in Macroeconomics (4, Sp)

Dynamic economics, applied general equilibrium models, computational and calibration tools, discrete-state dynamic programming, log-linearization of Euler equations. 
Prerequisite: ECON 602, ECON 605.

ECON 611: Probability and Statistics for Economists (4, FaSp)

Introduction to probability theory and statistical inference to prepare students for graduate courses in econometrics and economic theory; probability, random variables, distributions, estimation, testing, asymptotics. 
Prerequisite: MATH 226.

ECON 612: Econometric Theory (4)

Inference and prediction, generalized and restricted least squares, specification analysis, multivariate and seemingly unrelated regressions, simultaneous equations techniques, dynamic models, instrumental variable estimation.
Prerequisite: ECON 609.

ECON 613: Economic and Financial Time Series I (4, Fa)

Simultaneous equation models, dynamic structural econometric models, vector autoregressions, causality, forecasting, univariate and multivariate nonstationary time series, tests for unit roots, cointegration, autoregressive conditional heteroscedasticity models, time series models with changes in regime. 
Prerequisite: ECON 609.

ECON 614: Economic and Financial Time Series II (4, Sp)

Stock returns, predictability and volatility, random walk and variance-bounds tests, estimation of capital asset, multifactor, and derivative pricing models, term structure of interest rates. 
Prerequisite: ECON 604.

ECON 615: Applied Econometrics (4, Fa)

Use of quantitative models to describe and forecast economic activity; estimation and application of such models to selected policy problems. 
Prerequisite: ECON 609.

ECON 616: Experimental Economics (4)

Laboratory methods for testing economic theory; experimental comparison of alternative market and non-market institutions; identification of behavioral responses to alternative regulations. 
Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 601.

ECON 620aL: Experimental Methods (2)

Experimental methods of and design of computer-based experiments. Use of standard software for data collection in individual decision-making experiments and games.
Prerequisite: ECON 601; Recommended Preparation: ECON 616.

ECON 620bL: Experimental Methods (2)

Experimental methods relying on non-choice data. Design methods of experiments that record information in decision-making and physiological data of emotions. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601; Recommended Preparation: ECON 616.

ECON 634: Political Economy of Institutions (4)

The functions of laws, rules, customs, conventions, and other restrictions on economic and social activity. Theories of institutional evolution. 
Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 601.

ECON 636: Health Economics I (4, Fa)

Techniques of microeconometric analysis to inform health policy. Topics include: demand for health, medical care, and insurance, risk selection, medical innovation. 
Recommended Preparation: ECON 601, ECON 611.

ECON 639: Contemporary Economic Policy: Theory and Practice (4)

History and analysis of the fundamental continuing policy issues: recession, inflation, public debt, regulation, international competition, energy resources and environmental issues, welfare and income distribution.
Prerequisite: ECON 500 and ECON 501.

ECON 641: Empirical Analysis of Economic Development (4, FaSp)

Theory and empirics of the sources of and barriers to economic development and the micro underpinnings of macroeconomic dynamics of growth, inequality, and productivity. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601, ECON 609.

ECON 642: Poverty, Human Resources and Economic Development (4, FaSpSm)

Household production models and intra-household models of behavior and their empirical implementation, focus on poverty, human resource investments and their interaction with public policies. 
Prerequisite: ECON 501, ECON 609.

ECON 644: Economic Development Programming and Policy Planning (4)

Model construction and application to policy and planning: open economy macroeconomics, trade and investment, institutions, technology, income inequality, environment, policy reforms, political economy. 
Prerequisite: ECON 501 or ECON 602; ECON 500 or ECON 601.

ECON 645: Economic Growth (4, Fa)

Surveys theoretical and empirical developments in growth macroeconomics. To equip students to undertake frontier research and policy work to reduce global income inequality.
Prerequisite: ECON 602.

ECON 650: International Trade Theory (4)

General equilibrium theory applied to theory and practice of commercial policy, economic growth, and trade. 
Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 601.

ECON 651: International Monetary Theory (4)

Balance of payments concepts and measures; price theory and the foreign exchange market; international monetary systems; adjustment mechanisms; speculation and official intervention. 
Prerequisite: (choose two): ECON 500 or ECON 501 or ECON 601.

ECON 652: Economics of Financial Markets II (4, Sp)

Financial market equilibrium and partial equilibrium asset pricing in discrete and continuous time; properties of equilibria with and without complete markets; theory of option prices; Black-Scholes pricing formula; term structure of interest rates; hedging strategies and managing market risk using options, futures and swaps; hedging exchange-rates risks. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601.

ECON 653: Empirical International Economics (4)

Empirical treatment of advanced topics in international finance including the determination of real and nominal exchange rates; stabilization policies in developing currencies and currency crisis models. Econometric methods in analyzing foreign exchange data and in forecasting. 
Prerequisite: ECON 501, ECON 513; Recommended Preparation: ECON 625, ECON 651.

ECON 659: Economics of Financial Markets I (4, Fa)

Equilibrium model of finance economy; absence of arbitrage; complete and incomplete markets; asset pricing theory; representative agent pricing. Capital Asset Pricing Model, martingale property of security prices. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601.

ECON 661: Topics in Macroeconomics

Current areas of research in macroeconomics: Structural Change; Inequality and Macroeconomics

ECON 663: Financial and Monetary Macroeconomics

Macroeconomic models of financing and nominal rigidities. Focuses on the ways through which the financial system or financing constraints can affect macroeconomic fluctuations.

ECON 700: Research on Frontier Economics

Examination of various frontier research topics of economics through critical discussions of research papers that study the most recent economic research agendas.

ECON 671: Economics of Labor and Human Capital (4)

A human capital interpretation of labor demand and supply; wage determination, differentials, and discrimination; job turnover and occupational mobility; unions and collective bargaining. 
Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 601.

ECON 673: Program Evaluation (4)

This course first proposes various means of evaluating an economic program. It then applies the tools to specific problems. 
Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 601; ECON 609.

ECON 680: Industrial Organization (4)

Decision-making, economic behavior and organization in firms; types of competition and market structure; property rights, nonprofit decision making. 
Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 601.

ECON 681: Economics of Regulated Industries (4)

Theories and methods of government regulation; effects of regulation on various industries; behavior of regulatory agencies. 
Prerequisite: ECON 500 or ECON 601.

ECON 687: Urban Economics (4, FaSp)

Economic models will be used to understand the main facts observed in cities in the developed and developing world. Special attention will be paid to empirical hypothesis testing and developing an urban economics research agenda. Students will be exposed to new data sets being collected using Smart Phones and other novel technologies that have greatly expanded our ability to test relevant hypotheses.
Prerequisite: ECON 500 and ECON 501

ECON 688: Empirical Industrial Organization (4)

Econometric analysis of industrial organization issues including industry regulation and deregulation, collusions and pricing in differentiated oligopolistic markets, entry and exit, auction mechanisms, contractual relationships. 
Prerequisite: ECON 601, ECON 603; Recommended Preparation:ECON 600, ECON 603, ECON 612, ECON 615, ECON 680.

ECON 690: Seminar in Economic Theory (2, max 8 units, FaSp)

Current research in economic theory presented by faculty, students and outside scholars.

ECON 691: Seminar in Econometrics (2, max 8 units, FaSp)

Current research in econometrics presented by faculty, students and outside scholars.

ECON 692: Seminar in Economic Development (2, max 8 units, FaSp)

Current research in international, regional, and urban development economics presented by faculty, students and outside scholars.

ECON 693: Seminar in Applied Economics and Public Policy (2)

Current research in applied microeconomics, macroeconomics and public policy presented by faculty, students and outside scholars.

ECON 694: Seminar in Dynamic Economics (2, max 8 units, FaSp)

Topics in dynamic economics involving business fluctuations, economic growth and development, micro-economic adjustments and market mechanisms; related quantitative and qualitative methods; empirical research involving economic change.

ECON 696: Empirical Microeconomics Seminar (2, max 8 units, FaSp)

Presentations on current research in empirical microeconomics by outstanding scholars from leading economics departments and faculty at USC.
Registration Restriction: Open only to Economics Ph.D. students.

ECON 715: Advanced Topics in Econometrics (4)

Time-series methods; aggregation; structural models and methods such as factor analysis and multiple indicator models; various special topics. 
Prerequisite: ECON 612 and ECON 613.

ECON 790: Research (1-12 units, FaSpSm)

Research leading to the doctorate. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department.

ECON 794abcd: Doctoral Dissertation (2, FaSpSm)

Credit on acceptance of dissertation.

ECON 794z: Doctoral Dissertation (0, FaSpSm)

Credit on acceptance of dissertation.


  • University of Southern California | Department of Economics | Department Chair: Romain Ranciere
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 8335