Rensselaer's department of economics offers Ph.D. students the opportunity to work closely with research-active faculty. We maintain a small program through very selective admissions, ensuring that students get the time and attention to develop research competence.
Rensselaer's department of economics is uniquely positioned to offer graduate training in Ecological Economics. This fast growing field offers unparalleled opportunities for linking economics to new developments in the natural sciences and in the other social sciences. In addition to the Ph.D. program in Ecological Economics, the department offers a Masters of Science degree in Economics. Students may also opt for a Professional Masters Degree in Ecological Economics, Values, and Policy (EEVP) as a dual-major shared with the Science & Technology Studies Department.
We currently have about a dozen Ph.D. students. Recent and current students have come from the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Most students are supported by departmental teaching assistantships, external research grants, Rensselaer fellowships, or fellowships from external organizations.
Research assistantships may cover diverse topics including sustainable regional development, climate change policy, renewable energy economics, and sustainable livelihoods. In particular, our work in the area of sustainable development involves quantitative models linking economic structure, socio-economic characteristics, and ecosystem services. Such research covers both global analysis -- such as how climate change may impact future quantities and prices of food -- and community initiatives, in our geographic region and abroad, that involve public participation. The regional research has been funded by grants from the Hudson River Foundation, National Science Foundation, the N.Y. Department of State, and Rensselaer.
Students have also been funded on faculty grants in a variety of other areas including the diffusion of efficient lighting technology and industrial competition and R&D. Some students have obtained their own funding from external sources, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Environmental Protection Agency, Fulbright Foundation, National Science Foundation, Truman Foundation, Lincoln Land Institute, and Sandia National Laboratories.
Students have published in refereed journals (such as the Economic Journal, Ecological Economics, Economics, Governance, and Ecology, International Journal of Agriculture, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the Review of Social Economy), edited books (Sustainability in Question: The Search for a Conceptual Framework, Edward Elgar; Bioeconomics and Sustainability, Edward Elgar, Sustainability in Action: Sectoral and Regional Case Studies, Edward Elgar), and contributed to numerous conference proceedings. Recent Ph.D. dissertation and M.S. thesis abstracts are available. We also encourage our students to pursue internships as part of their training. Our doctoral students have worked at organizations such as United Nations Environment Programme (Geneva), Resources for the Future (Washington, DC), Business Week (New York, NY), and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Austria).