Program Coordinators: Carlos Asarta and Elizabeth Farley-Ripple


The University of Delaware offers a new innovative interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Economic Education, run jointly by the School of Education and the Department of Economics and designed to train the next generation of leaders in this important and fast-growing field.

The field of Economic Education focuses primarily on developing and evaluating economic and financial literacy programs and curricula in the K-12 school system, in universities, and in a wide variety of outreach programs. William Becker, one of the leaders in the field, describes the field this way: “it focuses on the scholarship of teaching economics…the content to be taught, methods of teaching, evaluation of those methods, and information of general interest to teachers of economics in elementary through graduate school.”

Traditionally, professionals and scholars in this field have been trained in either Economics or Education, with little or no formal training in the other area. This is no longer an adequate model for training economic educators: the increasing complexity and importance of economics in today’s world requires a new generation of scholars and leaders who have a deeper understanding of both disciplines. Drawing on the substantial strengths in graduate programs in Economics and The School of Education at the University of Delaware and on the nationally recognized University of Delaware Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the UD Ph.D. in Economic Education provides that needed interdisciplinary training.

Graduates of the program will have a wide range of professional and academic employment opportunities, including University Departments of Economics and Education; Centers for Economic Education (approximately 300 nationally, most affiliated with universities); education units within regional Federal Reserve Banks and other private sector businesses and foundations with an interest in economic and financial literacy; school districts and state departments of instruction; and education consulting and evaluation firms.

The curriculum is evenly balanced between core coursework in Economics and in Education, including theory, research methods, and applied topics. Electives allow students to specialize in one area or the other, depending on student interests and strengths. The program can realistically be completed in four years following a B.A. or in three years for a student with substantial prior graduate training in Economics or Education.

Students do not need any special undergraduate preparation, although exposure to coursework in economics mathematics (through elementary calculus), and statistics is strongly recommended. Strong students will be considered for financial aid. For more information, contact Prof. Carlos Asarta, Department of Economics, or Prof. Kathleen Minke, Director of Graduate Programs, School of Education


All students must demonstrate graduate-level competence in economic theory and in statistical methods. Students without this background at the time of admission will take the following additional University of Delaware courses as part of their graduate work in the Economic Education PhD program: ECON801, ECON802, ECON803, ECON804, and EDUC 856.

Students who have completed fully comparable graduate coursework prior to enrollment in the Economic Education PhD program may seek a waiver for these courses. A waiver is granted only when a student provides evidence that the courses taken were fully equivalent to these courses and that mastery of the material has been achieved. Decisions about course waivers are made as part of developing the student’s Individual Program Plan. The Department of Economics has sole authority to award waivers for the economics courses listed above and the School of Education has sole authority to award waivers for the education course.

The Ph.D. in Economic Education requires a minimum of 45 credits of graduate-level coursework. As indicated above, some students will also take additional courses in economic theory and in statistical methods. The required coursework for all students includes:

  • Proseminar courses (EDUC 805, EDUC 806, 6 credits)
  • Research Methods courses (EDUC 850, plus one of the following EDUC 812, 826, 865, 873 or 874, 6 credits)
  • Colloquium (EDUC 840, 3 credits)
  • Education content electives (6 credits)
  • Economics courses (ECON 820, 829 plus two electives, 12 credits)
  • Free Elective (3 credits)
  • Dissertation credits (EDUC 969 or ECON 969, 9 credits)

Sample Student Schedules

Admission Information

Students must meet the following minimum entrance requirements.

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • An officially reported GRE scor Students typically are expected to have minimum scores of 150 on the verbal and quantitative sections and a 4.0 on the analytic writing section. Most admitted students have far higher than the minimum scores.
  • An undergraduate GPA of 0 or higher.
  • An officially reported minimum TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based test) or 600 (paper-based test) or 250 (computer-based test). IELTS scores may also be used and the minimum acceptable score is 7.0.
  • A written statement of goals and objectives, including a statement that clearly identifies the applicant’s interest in the program.
  • Undergraduate coursework in microeconomics and macroeconomics at the intermediate level or above and in statistics and mathematics (calculus) is expected. Otherwise qualified students who lack this background may be directed to appropriate coursework to remedy this deficiency.

Applicants who meet stated requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths. Admission decisions are made by the Committee on Graduate Studies in Economic Education and are based upon a number of factors, including the applicant’s GRE scores, college transcripts, application essays and letters of recommendation.

The program enrolls 2-3 students per year. Admission is highly competitive. Accepted students will typically receive a tuition waiver and a stipend in return for 20 hours of work per week.

The application deadline is December 15. Students are admitted for the upcoming fall term only.

More information on the application process can be found on the how to apply page.

Affiliated Faculty

The following faculty are affiliated with the Ph.D. in Economic Education:

  • Carlos Asarta,  Associate Professor and Director, Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship
  • Elizabeth Farley-Ripple, Associate Director and Associate Professor, School of Education
  • Bob Hampel, Professor, School of Education
  • Henry May, Associate Professor, School of Education; Director, Center for Research in Education and Social Policy
  • Bonnie Mezaros, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics
  • Ratna Nandakumar, Professor, School of Education

For more information about this program, please contact program coordinators Carlos Asarta or Elizabeth Farley-Ripple.