Program Requirements


Students in the DE must take three courses from the list below, or two courses from the list plus a third course with substantial political economy content with the approval of the DE head graduate advisor. At least two of the three courses must be taken outside of the student’s home department. And the three courses must be from at least two different departments.

Core Course List

  • PS 209A Comparative Political Economy (Levy, Vogel)
  • PS 226A International Political Economy (Aggarwal, Brutger)
  • PS 279 American Political Economy (Pierson)
  • Soc 273C Comparative Historical Methods (Riley)
  • Soc 280Q Economy and Society (Fourcade, Fligstein)
  • Soc 290 The Political Economy of Digitality (Fourcade)
  • His 280 Seminar on Economic History (Jackson, Brilliant, Rosenthal)
  • Econ 210A Introduction to Economic History (DeLong, Eichengreen, C. Romer)
  • Econ 215A Political Economics (Finan/Roland)
  • Econ 215B Political Economics (Finan/Roland)
  • Econ 260A Comparative Economics (Roland)
  • Geog 215 Seminar in Comparative and International Development (Hsing)
  • ESPM 217 Political Economy of Climate Change (Meckling)
  • Law 217.1 History of Political Economy (Grewal)
  • Law 217.12 Law and Economics
  • PHDBA 279PA Political Economy: Frameworks (Dal Bo)
  • PHDBA 279PC Political Economy: Empirics (Trebbi/Xu)
  • PHDBA 279PD Economic Institutions in Historical Perspective (Dal Bo)

DE students are encouraged to embrace the spirit of the program, and not only to satisfy the minimum formal requirements. In particular, they are encouraged to take at least two courses that stretch them beyond the most prevalent approaches to political economy in their home disciplines.

DE students are required to participate in DE workshops to be held about once a month during the fall and spring semesters and small-group meetings several times per year. They are also encouraged to participate in Berkeley Economy and Society Initiative (BESI) programs and DE-related conferences and workshops.

Since the Economics Department and the Haas School political economy programs overlap, students in one of these units may only count one course in the other unit as an “outside” course. Thus, an Economics student could count one Haas course as an outside course, but would have to take at least one course outside of both Economics and Haas.

The History Department offers a variety of seminars with the number 280, so only those that focus on political economy will count for this program. In case of doubt, check with the graduate student affairs officer.

Requirements for Admission

PhD students in any department may apply. All applications must be reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee of the Graduate Group. In order to gain such approval, students must have taken one core course (or be enrolled in one) before applying to the Designated Emphasis.

They must commit to fulfilling the DE requirements and present a tentative plan for doing so (with proposed courses, dates for those courses, and a target date for the Qualifying Examination).

Examination and Dissertation Requirements

Students must be admitted to the DE before the qualifying examination. The qualifying examination must include examination of knowledge within the DE.

Students must have at least one DE faculty member on their Qualifying Exam and Dissertation Committees. They should choose that member(s) from the Designated Emphasis affiliated faculty roster. Students may also request approval from the graduate adviser for another faculty member, who has substantial expertise in political economy, and whose own work is relevant to that of the student.

The dissertation topic must incorporate study within the Designated Emphasis.

Designated Emphasis Conferral Process
The Designated Emphasis will be awarded solely in conjunction with the doctoral degree and will be signified on the student’s transcript.

Political Economy Major Map

How to Declare a Major

The Berkeley Economy & Society Initiative (BESI)