Economics MPhil and PhD

Qualifications and durations

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme will enable you to conduct supervised research into your chosen topic and produce a written thesis (typically up to 60,000 words). You can complete the MPhil in 1 to 3 years (full-time) or up to 4 years (part-time).

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme comprises a more significant piece of research which will enable you to contribute to the academic community through a larger written thesis (typically up to 90,000 words). You can complete your PhD in 2 to 4 years (full-time) or up to 6 years (part-time)


Our staff provide an overview of the PhD application process.

The MPhil and PhD programme provides an opportunity to undertake original research into a wide variety of areas. The department has a strong international research reputation, covering all mainstream fields of economics. Many of our academics are acknowledged as leading the field in their disciplines. The department has a lively PhD community and team of academic staff, with their own individual research topic areas. The emphasis is on involving PhD students in our areas of expertise, providing them with a strong environment in which to pursue their research, and encouraging and helping with publication. Students are also encouraged to present their work both within the department and at international conferences.

Most students are registered in the first instance for the degree of MPhil. The MPhil may include some taught units in year one. Students are expected to carry out supervised research at the leading edge of their chosen subject, which must then be written-up as a substantial thesis. The transfer from MPhil to PhD is subject to students passing an assessment process, which involves submission of a substantial portion of written work and an oral examination.

The final stage of the PhD degree is the viva voce examination, in which students are required to defend their thesis to a Board of Examiners.

Current student projects

Take an insight into what some of our current students are researching »

The research proposal

In order to do a PhD you must have a clearly identified research topic. Ideas for research topics can come from journals, books, etc. It should be in an area which interests you. It might be something of considerable current concern, a new aspect of something on which a lot of work has been done, or a completely new idea. In any case, your work should provide some new insights. It should eventually prove publishable, either as a book or a series of journal articles.

Your project outline should lay out in depth the topic you wish to study, refer to any existing literature on the subject and emphasise why you feel it an important and interesting area. If there are any data requirements, you should specify exactly how you intend acquiring the data, and subsequently what techniques you intend to apply to the data. Vague generalities (such as 'I intend to use modern econometric techniques to analyse the data') are not sufficient. Specify exactly what techniques you intend to use.

There is some flexibility to change the direction of your research once here, indeed this is quite common. Nonetheless, the clearer the ideas are at the outset, the more rapid your progress will be to successful completion.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A strong academic background in a field relevant to the proposed research - specifically, a 2:1 or higher Bachelor degree with honours (or equivalent). Applicants should also have, or expect to have by the beginning of the course, a Masters degree (or equivalent) with Merit or higher, in economics or in a related area.

A strong performance at the Masters level may compensate for a weaker one at the Bachelor’s level. Students may apply to one of the department’s Masters programmes prior to commencing a research degree.

English Language requirements

Certificates must be dated to within two years of the start of the programme of study.

  • IELTS 7 (with no less than 6.5 in each component)
  • PTE Academic of 69 with no less than 62 in any component

If you wish to improve your English proficiency before commencing your studies, pre-sessional language training can be arranged through the Academic Skills Centre.


  • Two references are required. At least one of them should be from an academic with a track record of publications in international journals.

How to apply

You can apply to study online.

Financial information


Potential sources of funding


Tel: +44 (0)1225 385949

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