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Information for Prospective Ph.D. Students

David Lobell, Reed Walker and Tatayana Derugniya
Stanford’s David Lobell, Berkeley’s Reed Walker, and University of
Illinois’s Tatyana Derugniya gather at the SEEPAC-organized 2018
conference at Stanford, “Advances in the Economics of Climate Change."

Stanford is a great place to obtain a PhD degree, specializing in environmental, resource or energy economics.  You will be well trained and well positioned for jobs in academia, government, NGOs, consulting and the private sector.

The field of study involves applying methods from economics to problems related to energy, natural resources and environmental quality.  The main foci are on the interplay between the natural world and the economy and how energy, resource and environmental markets work.

The field can be multidisciplinary in that students need depth in economics, first and foremost, but are encouraged to acquire some knowledge of natural science, engineering and other social sciences relevant to their research interests.  This multidisciplinarity helps in communicating with researchers in other fields as well as providing better motivation of socially relevant research questions.  Environmental, resource and energy problems are inherently multidisciplinary.

There are several “homes” for students pursuing a PhD in this field.  Each department/program has a different emphasis and student cohort size so students should make choices based on their interests and long-term goals.  Financial support may also vary from program to program.  And job opportunities may be different for graduates of different programs.  What is common to all programs is that they permit students to acquire real depth in economics, necessary to become a prominent research economist, as well as supplemental strength in a complementary area of scholarship.  Probably the biggest difference among the programs is the academic interests of the fellow students with whom you matriculate and how prospective employers view degrees from different programs and departments.  Strong preparation in mathematics is necessary for any of these programs.  Masters degrees or work experience post-bachelors degree are not necessary though desirable:

Economics Department:  Deep and rigorous training in several fields of economics.

Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (EIPER):  Emphasis is on training in two areas of scholarship, one of which can be economics.

Graduate School of Business (GSB):  Similar to the Economics Department except that students have a particular interest in business and other areas of scholarship found at a business school..

Management Science and Engineering (MS&E):  A flexible curriculum with an emphasis on developing and applying mathematical tools to solve policy and business problems.

Relevant Faculty

Recent PhD Recipients

Current PhD students