Some Economics professors (e.g. here and here) obtained a PhD in Economics in Europe and then obtained a PhD in economics in the U.S. in just one year. I would like to do the same as I am finishing a PhD in Economics in Europe and I would like to get a PhD from the U.S. for obvious reasons (e.g., higher prestige, better job prospects).

How is it possible that they did the PhD in the U.S. in just one year? Is it possible that it was some kind of joint PhD? Or maybe they only did the preliminary examinations? I would appreciate any advice that would be useful regarding obtaining a second PhD (from the U.S.).

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    At least in Peri's CV, he lists an award for student teaching in 1996 and a US fellowship in 1997. The Italian Ph.D is in 1997 while the US one is in 1998. He must have started the US one in 1996 or earlier.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 20:11
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    And in Persico's, he passed his Northwestern quals in 1992---one year after obtaining his undergraduate degree. The Italian PhD seems to be somehow dual-tracked while he was a student at Northwestern. The answer here may be that these things have to be set up from $t_0$; there are worse things than not achieving as much as Persico.
    – kyle
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 20:55
  • I don't know about economics, but I know a number of people who have done a PhD in English abroad while doing a PhD in their language in the US such that dual PhD (one in English literature, the other in, say, Spanish literature) isn't unheard of. It helps if one program doesn't require coursework (just the dissertation), doesn't generally require physical presence, and/or lacks time limits. Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 17:16

2 Answers 2


Note that both professors have their European degree from Bocconi. Double degrees appear to be a Bocconi (and some other universities') special. For the MSc level, it's explicitly mentioned on their web page as a highly selective option; see, e.g., here. But you also find an economics PhD program in which you spend a year abroad participating in a partner university's course work and studies, the AEEP. It is not explicitly mentioned that you'll get two PhDs - and you probably won't on a general basis -, but if you get close to a professor abroad during your year, and start your research with them, it doesn't seem a stretch to think you can negotiate two.

Note that one of the current partner institutions is Northwestern, as in one of the examples you linked, while the other (Berkeley) is not mentioned. This might be due to changes in times, or simply to the professors linked not having been part of this particular program. But as Bocconi is apparently very active in these international cooperations, it seems highly likely that both were part of one of them.

The bottom line is that, in my opinion, it will be very unlikely that you'll find a U.S. institution at which you can get a second PhD in only one year if you haven't been part of such a program, where the second degree is a natural and fairly minor extension of your work predominantly in Europe.


I have a degree from MIT one year after a degree from Edinburgh (though I didn't do economics.) This is because I went to Edinburgh to do some research part way through my PhD, and the only way we could fund that research was with a masters, but I didn't really care about having (another) masters so it took me a long time to finish that dissertation, and then even longer to organise my viva for it. So really I had completed that Edinburgh degree in 1998, but it was awarded in 2000.

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