Information for Prospective PhD Students wishing to study with Prof. Charles Kolstad


I welcome PhD students who wish to study with me here at Stanford.  My research interests are broadly in environmental, energy and natural resource economics, with a particular emphasis on climate change.  For students to work with me, I request that students be seriously interested in developing their skills as environmental economists while at Stanford. 

Typically, Ph.D. students with an interest in working with me train to be economists, with a research focus in environmental economics, natural resource economics or energy economics. There is also a role for knowledge and training outside of economics to help you ask better and more relevant economics research questions.

Stanford is extraordinarily rich in faculty and research programs and full of opportunities for graduate students related to environmental, energy and natural resource economics and policy.  In addition to teaching departments, there are a number of research institutes on campus that involve students, visitors and faculty in research, including the Stanford Energy and Environmental Policy Analysis Center (SEEPAC), the Precourt Institute for Energy (PIE), The Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). 

But it is degree-granting departments and program in which PhD students matriculate.  So your first step would be to choose a program to which you would apply.  PhD programs at Stanford that are appropriate for students interested in working with me or similar faculty (see SEEPAC website for a partial list of related faculty) include the Department of Economics, the Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), the Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Department of Management Science and Engineering (MS&E). You do not need to contact me prior to applying; simply indicate your interest in working with me on your application.  Keep in mind that although there are similarities among these programs, they are different in objectives and requirements. 

Whichever department or program you choose, you should plan on enrolling in a rigorous set of coursework in economics during your first two years at Stanford. This means successfully taking the first year PhD sequences in microeconomics (Econ 202-204) and econometrics (Econ 270-272) offered by the Department of Economics (or equivalent offered by the GSB). In addition, students should take the PhD classes Economics 250 (Environmental Economics) and 251 (Resource and Energy Economics). This is a minimum set and other coursework would depend on student interest and needs. Strong preparation in math prior to matriculation is essential (preferably through real analysis).  Undergraduate training in economics is less important, though applicants should demonstrate an understanding of what constitutes economics as an academic discipline.

Questions?  Send me an email.