Can You Get a PHD in Game Theory?


Jane Flores

Game theory is a fascinating field that applies mathematical principles to analyze strategic decision-making. It has been used to study a wide range of subjects, including economics, politics, biology, and psychology.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in game theory, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get a PhD in this field. In short, the answer is yes! Let’s explore this topic in more detail.

What is Game Theory?

Before we dive into the question of whether you can get a PhD in game theory, let’s briefly define what this field entails. At its core, game theory is the study of how people make decisions when their choices depend on the actions of others. It involves analyzing situations in which individuals or groups have conflicting interests and must strategize accordingly.

Game theory is often used to model economic scenarios such as market competition or bargaining between firms. It can also be applied to political situations such as voting systems or arms races between nations. Additionally, game theory has been used to study biological phenomena such as animal behavior and evolutionary strategies.

Can You Get a PhD in Game Theory?

Now that we have an understanding of what game theory entails, let’s address the question at hand: Can you get a PhD in this field? The answer is yes! There are many universities around the world that offer PhD programs specifically focused on game theory.

These programs typically involve coursework in advanced mathematics and economics, as well as specialized courses on topics such as mechanism design and social choice theory. Students are also expected to conduct original research and produce a dissertation that contributes new insights to the field of game theory.

What Are Some Top Programs for Game Theory?

If you’re interested in pursuing a PhD in game theory, there are many excellent options available to you. Here are some top programs:

  • Stanford University: Stanford has a renowned program in game theory, with faculty members who are leaders in the field.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): MIT’s economics department is known for its strength in game theory research.
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech): Caltech’s social sciences department offers a PhD program that includes coursework and research in game theory.
  • Harvard University: Harvard’s economics department has a strong focus on game theory, and the university hosts an annual conference on the subject.

What Careers Can You Pursue with a PhD in Game Theory?

If you obtain a PhD in game theory, there are many career paths you can pursue. Some examples include:

  • Academia: Many graduates of game theory PhD programs go on to become professors or researchers at universities around the world.
  • Government: Game theory is often used to inform policy decisions, so there are many opportunities to work for government agencies or think tanks.
  • Private Industry: Companies in industries such as finance and consulting often hire individuals with expertise in game theory to help them make strategic decisions.


In conclusion, if you’re interested in studying strategic decision-making and have a strong background in mathematics and economics, pursuing a PhD in game theory may be the right path for you. With many top programs available around the world and numerous career opportunities upon graduation, this field offers exciting possibilities for those who want to explore the intersection of mathematics and human behavior.