2020 applicants
Postgraduate Research Course

PhD Economics

PhD Economics


The details
October 2021
5 years
Colchester Campus

Our four-year integrated PhD Economics follows the MRes Economics programme for year 1 before beginning the PhD study programme within the department in year 2. Our four-year pathway in the Department of Economics for the PhD economics degree provides you with training to develop the research mind-set for PhD studies and gives you the chance to ask difficult questions, break intellectual boundaries and create new solutions to issues of global concern. You work closely with our creative and committed academics - researchers who are pioneering new solutions to these issues, inspiring your own research.

We are renowned for our research expertise in a number of areas of economics, including the following:

  • Behavioural economics
  • Experimental economics
  • Industrial organisation, market structure and firm behaviour
  • Political economy
  • Social networks
  • Economic theory
  • Financial economics and economics of banking
  • International economics
  • Macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy
  • Public finance
  • Search and matching
  • Development economics
  • Family and health economics including gender, population, and migration
  • Labour economics including inequality and the economics of crime
  • Microeconometrics
  • Spatial econometrics and cross-sectional dependence
  • Semi and nonparametric econometrics
  • Time series econometrics

The Department of Economics are top 5 in the UK for research, with over 90% of our research rated as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014).

You receive training in research methods and tools starting with the modules offered in the MRes Economics programme, followed by advanced research training and expert supervision to reach your full potential, as well as access to top quality research facilities. We also guarantee office space for you from the second year of your PhD studies in our PhD Research Centre, giving you the space and tools to work.

We work with you to teach you how to look at the world through an economist's lens, taking a critical approach to dismantle a proposition, working robust methodologies to build an argument based on rigorous theoretical reasoning and sound empirical evidence.

Our PhD includes advanced economic methods and analysis, with links to research programmes in our Institute for Economic and Social and Economic Research, the UK Data Archive and other departments at Essex.

Why we're great.
  • We are top 5 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014)
  • As one of our PhD students, you can be part of our regular lively debates in seminars, workshops and conferences
  • Be the first to read cutting-edge papers published by our academics, in leading journals.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

Essex economists are engaged in a variety of research networks and collaborate with economists at other universities in the UK and overseas. Much of our research is related to policy and we often provide advice to government and non-government organisations.

The top quality of our work is reflected in our stream of publications in high profile academic journals like the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Finance, and the Review of Economic Studies.

Our staff members also receives funding for their research from a number of national and international funding bodies such as the Economic and Social Research Council and the European Research Commission.

Specialist facilities

As well as access to all University facilities at our Colchester Campus, such as our well-equipped Albert Sloman Library and extensive open access computer laboratories, we also guarantee office space for you from the second year of your PhD studies in our PhD Research Centre, giving you the space and tools to work.

Extensive software for quantitative analysis is available in all computer labs across the university. You also have access to ESSEXLab, our on-campus social science lab where you can conduct studies using our participants, in state-of-the-art facilities and to the resources available at the Institute for Economic and Social and Economic Research and the UK Data Archive.

Your future

In recent years, our PhD students have obtained posts in a range of academic and non-academic institutions. These include universities such as Bath, Chicago, Dusseldorf, East Anglia, the London School of Economics, Mannheim, Oxford, Rochester, University College London, and organisations like the Office for National Statistics (UK), the Bank of England, Bank of Italy, Bank of Korea, Bank of Mexico, Central Bank of Colombia, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, European Commission JRC, the World Bank.

With the skills and knowledge you acquire from studying within our Department of Economics, you will be in demand from a wide range of employers. We have excellent links with the research community, both in the UK and worldwide, and strong ties with the policy, business and consultancy world, especially in London and other major financial centres.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

You will need a undergraduate degree with first class honours, or equivalent, in a discipline related to economics such as Economics, Maths, Engineering, Finance, and Physics. In exceptional cases candidates with a lower degree class could be considered as long as they show a very strong performance in technical and theoretical subjects, including those for a Masters degree.

The degree should preferably contain some economics components including macroeconomics, microeconomics or econometrics.

You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component



The first year of the PhD (Integrated) programme follows the structure of the MRes Economics programme.

Progression to the second year of the programme requires a merit (60% or higher) in the microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics sequences and in the mathematics module and submission of the dissertation for the MRes Economics.

Starting the second year, the programme follows the structure of the three-year programme for the PhD Economics degree.


Our department maintains a lively, friendly, and supportive atmosphere for research. We also provide a number of training opportunities and support services to aid your studies and to help prepare you for employment:

  • Proficio: Proficio is our innovative professional development scheme for postgraduate research students, unique to Essex. We believe that your academic and professional development is vital to your growth as a postgraduate research student and we give you funds that can be spent on a variety of courses and conferences.
  • Teaching Opportunities: Our department offers paid opportunities for both Graduate Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants.


In your completion year you should be revising and rewriting chapters. You submit your approved thesis to an internal reader for comments, and then submit your final thesis before the end of the academic year.

We expect our PhD students to complete their PhD within four years of entering, so you are monitored regularly to ensure you are progressing.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee


International fee


EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, graduate employability, student support and more
  • talk to our Fees and Funding team about scholarship opportunities
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.


You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.

We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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