Economics

profjosephalba

Graduate Coordinator, Economics

Assoc Prof Joseph Dennis Alba
ajoalba@ntu.edu.sg​
SHHK-04-80

A Stimulating Research Environment which Merges Academic Rigour with Intellectual Breadth

Economics offers full-time and part-time Ph.D. by research. We provide students with a stimulating research environment which merges academic rigour with intellectual breadth. The programme equips students with a strong knowledge of economic theory and analytical techniques, which enables them to conduct solid research in their chosen field of specialization. 

The curriculum includes coursework, participation in seminars and workshops, as well as research under the mentorship of research supervisor(s). The programme generally takes four years to complete. It begins with one year of intensive study in the core subjects of economics (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics, and Quantitative Methods), culminating in the submission of a thesis which documents the results of original research.  The programme has a small student-to-faculty ratio, which fosters research collaboration between students and faculty members. Students also receive training in research and teaching methods.

Our faculty’s research interests span across all major areas of economics, with significant strengths in Behavioural and Experimental Economics, Environmental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomics, Applied Microeconomics, Economic Growth and Development, and Econometrics.  Our recent publications appear in top economics journals, including Economic Journal, Games and Economic Behaviour, International Economic Review, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Economic Growth, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Finance, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Management Science, RAND Journal of Economics, and Review of Economics and Statistics, among others.

The Ph.D. programme in Economics is MOE-subsidised.
  • ​​​​​​​A good first degree in Economics or related field from a highly ranked university, with at least second upper honors.

  • An adequate background in Mathematics/Quantitative Methods. 

  • An excellent GRE score, especially in the quantitative section (minimum requirement: Verbal & Quantitative Reasoning 319 out of 340 and Analytical Writing 3.5 out of 6.0). GRE is not required from NTU, NUS or SMU graduates. 

  • A good language proficiency score: IELTS score at least 7.0 (on all subtests); TOEFL score at least 105 (IELTS is preferred).  Applicants from Singapore universities and English-speaking countries are exempted from IELTS/TOEFL.

  • It is strongly recommended for applicants to contact one of the professors whom they wish to work with. Applicants can discuss their proposal with the faculty member and ask for suggestions and feedback prior to submitting the application.​

 

IMPORTANT

  • Substitute tests due to COVID-19 safe distancing measures could be submitted. The University recognizes the TOEFL ITP PLUS (offered by ETS) and IELTS Indicator (offered by British Council)
  • The GRE General Test at home option offered by ETS is acceptable. 

Candidates may start applying online from 1 October for consideration to the following August intake. The application deadline is on 30th November for the Nanyang Research Scholarship (RSS) (same portal for self-financing students), and the Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship (NPGS)​. All applications received after 30 November will be processed for the next intake instead.  

Applications for the January intake will begin in June and end in July prior to the admission period. The application portal closes on 31 July for the Nanyang Research Scholarship (same portal for self-financing students).

Candidates who would like to be considered for Scholarship should meet the stipulated deadlines. Candidates applying for the Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship (NPGS), need not submit an additional application for the Nanyang Research Scholarship (RSS). However, RSS candidates will not be considered for the NPGS unless application has been made directly for the NPGS.

All graduate research applicants will have to pay an application fee of S$53.50. Only the first choice of the application will be processed. Candidates who wish to be considered to more than one subject area will have to make separate applications. 

Incomplete applications will not be processed by the School. Please ensure that your referee is aware of your application and is prepared to make the referee report submission as soon as he/she receives the automated official email from NTU. Applications will only be considered upon the receipt of the referee reports.

Applicants have to ensure the accuracy of all data before submission is made as no amendments are permitted once the application is submitted. 

Admission depends on the quality of the application as a whole, including the academic record, relevant experience, and research proposal​​. The research proposal is the essence of the application. Applicants need to design their proposal with clarity and sound judgement on the scope of the research in the subject area that they want to undertake. Please use this template to input your research details. 

Decisions on admission to the University are made on academic merit, the availability of an appropriate supervisor and/or availability of scholarship. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed to ascertain their holistic suitability for graduate studies. The School considers every application carefully before making recommendations for admission. Successful candidates will receive the offer from the University’s Office of Admissions. Candidates shortlisted for admission will be notified of the outcome anytime between March to May for the August intake and November to December for the January intake (if applicable).

​The Research Programmes in the School of Social Sciences are MOE-subsidised​.

For more information, please visit the Research Programmes Admission Guide page.

Enquiries can be sent to ac-sss-ge@ntu.edu.sg

Cohort 2018 and before

Ph.D. students must complete and pass the following

  • Six core courses: HE9001 Mathematical Economics , HE9002 Econometrics I, HE9003 Econometrics II, HE9101 Seminar in Microeconomics , HE9102 Seminar in Macroeconomics  and ​HE9106 Topics in Mathematical and Microeconomics (18 Academic Units)
  • Other Degree Requirements 
  • PhD Qualifying Examination and Conversion
  • Thesis
  • Seminar Presentation 
  • Oral Examination​
 
Typically, Ph.D. students must complete the coursework requirement within the first two semesters (Generally students from other subjects take three semesters. The timeline should be discussed with the Supervisor and/or Graduate Coordinator). They should maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.50. Other degree requirements include: Epigeum Research Integrity (online course), HWG703 Graduate English (unless exempted) course, HWG702 Small Group Teaching, Information Research & Management (online course) and attend research seminars. Students on scholarship might have additional requirements to fulfil. Students are encouraged to work closely with their supervisor and the graduate co-ordinator to ensure timely completion of all the requirements. 
 

Ph.D. students will have to submit and defend their thesis proposal as part of the Qualifying Exam (also known as the Confirmation Exercise). The Qualifying Exam should be completed within 12 months (18 months for other subjects) from the start of candidature. The final completed thesis will be examined by a panel of internal and external examiners, after which, Economics students will make a seminar presentation before the oral examination. Refer to the Timeline and  PhD Milestones for more instructions. 

 

Cohort 2019

Ph.D. students must complete and pass the following

  • Six core courses: HE9001 Mathematical Economics, HE9002 Econometrics I, HE9003 Econometrics II, HE9101 Seminar in Microeconomics, HE9102 Seminar in Macroeconomics and HE9106 Topics in Mathematical and Microeconomics  (18 Academic Units)
  • Other Degree Requirements 
  • PhD Qualifying Examination and Conversion
  • Thesis
  • Seminar Presentation 
  • Oral Examination​

Typically, Ph.D. students must complete the coursework requirement within the first two semesters (Generally students from other subjects take three semesters). The timeline should be discussed with the Supervisor and/or Graduate Coordinator). They should maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.50. Other degree requirements include: ERI701 Epigeum Research Integrity (online course), HWG703 Graduate English course(unless exempted), HWG702 University Teaching for Teaching Assistants, Scholarly Communications and Impact (online course), Communications Courses, 3 Minute Thesis Symposium and attend research seminars. Students on scholarship might have additional requirements to fulfil. Students are encouraged to work closely with their supervisor and the graduate co-ordinator to ensure timely completion of all the requirements. 

Ph.D. students will have to submit and defend their thesis proposal as part of the Qualifying Exam (also known as the Confirmation Exercise). The Qualifying Exam should be completed within 12 months (18 months for other subjects) from the start of candidature. The final completed thesis will be examined by a panel of internal and external examiners, after which, Economics students will make a seminar presentation before the oral examination. Refer to the respective e-guides (Aug 2019Jan 2020Aug 2020​) for more instructions. 

 

Cohorts 2020 and onwards

Ph.D. students must complete and pass the following:
  
  • Seven core courses: HE9001 Mathematical Economics, HE9002 Econometrics I, HE9003 Econometrics II, HE9101 Seminar in Microeconomics, HE9102 Seminar in Macroeconomics, ​HE9106 Topics in Mathematical and Microeconomics and HX9001 Research Methods for Social Sciences (21 Academic Units)
  • Other Degree Requirements 
  • PhD Qualifying Examination and Conversion
  • Thesis
  • Seminar Presentation 
  • Oral Examination​
 
Typically, Ph.D. students must complete the coursework requirement within the first two semesters (Generally students from other subjects take three semesters). The timeline should be discussed with the Supervisor and/or Graduate Coordinator). They should maintain a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.50. Other degree requirements include: ERI701 Epigeum Research Integrity (online course), HWG703 Graduate English course(unless exempted), HWG702 University Teaching for Teaching Assistants, Scholarly Communications and Impact (online course), Communications Courses, 3 Minute Thesis Symposium and attend research seminars. Students on scholarship might have additional requirements to fulfil. Students are encouraged to work closely with their supervisor and the graduate co-ordinator to ensure timely completion of all the requirements. 
 
Ph.D. students will have to submit and defend their thesis proposal as part of the Qualifying Exam (also known as the Confirmation Exercise). The Qualifying Exam should be completed within 12 months (18 months for other subjects) from the start of candidature. The final completed thesis will be examined by a panel of internal and external examiners, after which, Economics students will make a seminar presentation before the oral examination. Refer to the respective e-guides (Aug 2019Jan 2020Aug 2020​ and Jan 2021) for more instructions. 
 
 

Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP)

Students receiving scholarship from the Ministry of Education (MOE) – RSS / NPGS / Grants – are required to fulfil the Graduate Assistantship Programme (GAP). GAP is a set of hours divided into Teaching /Research /Development duties determined by the type of scholarship and natio​nality of the student. The GAP is a form of in-service obligation effected for Cohort 2014 and onwards and has to be completed 6 months before the submission of the thesis. 

All students from Cohort 2020 and onwards are to take an Integrated Research Methods Course:

HX9001 Research Methods for Social Sciences (core)
This course will cover the fundamental research methods in social sciences. It will cover broadly the general methods shared by the different subjects, namely, Economics, Psychology, Public Policy & Global Affairs, and Sociology and some specific methods which are only particular to some of the subjects. Topics to be covered include (but not limited to), experimental design, field experiment, survey designs, interview, and secondary data analysis based on databases, literature review, ethics, and IRB application. 

The first half of the semester will be the methods shared by all 4 subjects in the school, and the second half of the semester the class will be divided into two groups: PPGA/Sociology, and Economics/Psychology where research methods unique to these subjects will be delved into deeper.



The following courses are offered by Economics. Please click here for the courses that will be offered in a particular semester. 

HE9001 Mathematical Economics (core)
The aim of this course is to provide the graduate students with advanced mathematical background needed in economic research. Topics covered will be a balance between the conventional mathematical economics and the new developments in the frontier of computational economics, which include the advanced matrix analysis and qualitative analysis, optimization with or without constraints, discrete and continuous dynamic optimization, continuous and the discrete dynamic processes, nonlinear analysis and chaos, delayed-differential systems. Introductions to Singular and non-singular perturbation theory, Wavelet analysis, Genetic algorithm, Neural network and their applications in economic analysis will be also provided.

HE9002 Econometrics I (core)
This course builds on the earlier Principles of Econometrics by considering further inferential methods related to the multiple regression model using matrix algebra, and other methods widely used in empirical research. Large sample asymptotic theory is also introduced. Topics covered include maximum likelihood estimation, LR, Wald and LM test principles, instrumental variables and GMM estimation and model selection.

HE9003 Econometrics II (core)
This course provides a detailed treatment of models for analyzing both cross-sectional and time series data. The course emphasizes application rather than theory; hence, the models introduced are illustrated with examples using real-life data. In general, theoretical developments are often carried to the extent that they enhance understanding of the model.

HE9101 Seminar in Microeconomics (core)
The aim of this course is to provide a solid foundation in microeconomics at the graduate level. The course teaches tools related to optimization behavior and equilibrium analysis, bringing together topics in classical consumer and producer theories under perfect competition with modern game theoretical analysis. The core concepts are complemented with various applications, but the focus is on concepts and methods.

HE9102 Seminar in Macroeconomics (core)
This course provides a one-semester graduate level course in macroeconomics that covers a range of topics. The course is divided into three broad topics: The first set of topics includes a brief overview of the growth literature and discussions on a few papers on general equilibrium (GE) growth models (exogenous and endogenous growth, and without and with credit constraints). The second set of topics is on business cycle models (dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models without nominal rigidities) to examine the impact of various shocks such as news, technological change, or uncertainty etc., on output, consumption, employment, investment and asset prices. The third set of topics is on New Keynesian models (DSGE models with nominal rigidities) to examine optimal monetary and fiscal policies under various types of shocks including monetary shocks. During the discussions, the students will also be introduced to software platform Dynare, and other Matlab toolboxes, which may be used to numerically solve DSGE models.​

HE9103 Seminar in Monetary Economics
The aim of this course is to provide a solid foundation in monetary economics at the graduate level. Students will develop a critical understanding of both theoretical and empirical strategies used in the literature. This course is divided into three broad topics. The first set of topics is on monetary policy in a flexible in the sticky price in a New Keynesian model. The third set of topics includes econometric analysis of the monetary transmission mechanism. This course also introduces the money-in-utility model, the cash-in-advance model and a basic model of bank runs, which are necessary to analyze the impact of monetary policy on growth and welfare.

HE9104 Seminar in Development Economics
This course introduces students to modern empirical methods including simple structural estimation and multiple methods in reduced form analysis. Students will be instructed to read classical/recent papers on relevant topics and to present the papers in class.

HE9105 Seminar in International Economics
This course aims to equip students with knowledge and skills to analyse economic relationships between countries covering both trade and monetary issues. The first half of the course deals with international trade theory and policy. Key topics include analyses on why countries trade with each other, the effects of trade on welfare and income inequality, the effects of trade barriers to trade and economic integration, the role of firm heterogeneity in international trade and the relationship between globalization and inequality.

The second half of the course focuses on issues related to international macroeconomics. This part of the course begins by laying out balance of payments accounts and open economy income identities. The course then focuses on some main questions in open economy macroeconomics. These include discussions on the issues of global imbalances, provision of frameworks to understand why countries run large current account surpluses or deficits,  discussions on the determination of nominal and real exchange rates and reviews of episodes of currency and financial crises.

HE9106 Topics In Mathematical Economics & Microeconomics (core)
This course intends to equip the postgraduate students with advanced mathematical theories, methodologies and computational algorithms that are widely applied both in economic analysis and financial analysis. Topics include but not limit to Log-Concave Distributions, Optimization of Submodular Functions, Genetic Algorithm, Artificial Intelligence, Neural Network, Wavelet Analysis, Support Vector Machine, Perturbation Theory, Agent-based Modelling, and Qualitative Comparative Statistics etc. It will not only update the researchers with most recent advances but also let the students have hands-on experience on the relevant applications in economic modeling, simulation and forecasting.

HE9201 Contemporary Issues in Economics
The contemporary issues covered in this course are behavioural and experimental economics. Behavioral and Experimental Economics is one of the fastest growing fields in economics today. It challenges some of the key assumptions in standard economic theories, such as rationality and self-interest. Oftentimes, people are not the flawless, time-consistent maximizers of their own expected utility that neoclassical rational choice theory assumes them to be. This course will teach the students the basic behavioral theories that describe the above behaviors, including basic prospect theory, hyperbolic discounting and theories of fairness and altruism.

Since behavioral economics (BE) is informed by insights from experimental research, the course will also introduce the students to experimental economics (EE) as a research methodology. We will discuss the main experimental evidence that supports the behavioral view of human decision-making. Students will get acquainted with the terminology of experimental economics, and the main types of experiments. They will learn how to design and conduct economic experiments. They will also learn how to design an experiment and analyze the outcomes.


Notes: 
 

  • Courses and requirements are subject to review and change.
  • Not all courses are available in one given semester. 
  • ​Courses will be offered on the basis of student intake, research areas and availability of faculty. 
  • Please click here for the courses that will be offered in a particular semester.
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