Department of Economics

Research degrees

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Rigorous training to achieve your potential

Core to Essex is our rigorous training and expert supervision. We prepare you to carry out high-quality PhD research, whilst being supervised by some of the best researchers in the field.

We host a thriving programme of doctoral research and training with a vibrant community of doctoral scholars, who form an integral part of our research community.

The training and supervision you receive in your research degree is designed in line with the practice in leading North American and European research degrees and the recommendations in the Economic and Social Research Council's 2010 Benchmarking Review of Economics. This means you'll be well prepared to be competitive in the global market for PhD economists after completing your degree.

So, when you leave Essex, you’ll have the skills to achieve your potential in your chosen career, whether that’s in academia, policy institutions, or industry.

Explore our postgraduate research degrees


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Want to know more about our work on Applied Economics?

The conference is open to PhD students at all stages of study, as well as to early career researchers who have completed their PhD in the academic year 2022-23. This two-day conference is designed to provide PhD students in Applied Economics with the opportunity to come together and connect with other PhD students from institutions across the globe in a supportive environment in which they can present their work and ideas to their peers and receive valuable feedback.

Why choose us?
  • 4th in UK for research power in economics and econometrics (Times Higher Education research power measure, REF 2021)
  • 1st in the UK for Value-Added for Economics in the Guardian University Guide 2024
  • Top 25 in the UK for Business and Economics in THE World University Rankings by Subject 2024

So, what do we have to offer?

Two ways to study

We offer two pathways for PhD Economics. You can choose the best pathway for you, depending on your qualifications.


This pathway is for you if you have a Master's qualification equivalent to our MRes Economics.

You can apply for PhD Economics.


This pathway is for you if you have a prior degree in economics or another field, with a significant quantitative component.

You can apply for:

Expert supervision

We provide expert supervision on a wide range of applied and theoretical topics, including:

  • behavioural economics 
  • experimental economics including access to experimental lab facilities
  • social networks
  • development economics
  • economic theory
  • family and health economics including gender, population, and migration
  • financial economics and economics of banking
  • industrial organisation, market structure and firm behaviour
  • international economics
  • labour economics including inequality and the economics of crime
  • macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy
  • microeconometrics
  • political economy
  • public finance
  • search and matching
  • semi and nonparametric econometrics
  • spatial econometrics and cross-sectional dependence
  • time series econometrics.

If you're looking to carry out research in a different area, let us know. 

Great career prospects

Our students have successful careers in a wide range of professions.

This includes academic positions in:

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • CIDE Mexico
  • University of Dusseldorf
  • University of Essex
  • University of Leicester
  • London School of Economics
  • University of Mannheim
  • University of Namur
  • Oxford University
  • Queen Mary University London
  • University of Surrey
  • University College London
  • University of York
  • University of East Anglia.

Outside of academia, our students work in policy organisations like the Office for National Statistics, 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 and organisations like the World Federation of Exchanges and Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria.

You'll have access to professional development opportunities via the University’s unique Proficio funding scheme. In addition, we give career development support, especially in your final year, with practice presentations, interviews, and other activities to prepare you for the international job market for PhD economists.

Facilities to help your research

We know you need access to computers and a quiet place to work so we guarantee office space for you in our PhD Research Centre. 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.



Access to national research and networks

The University is the leading university in the UK for economic and social research and a focal point for national funding.

We work closely with the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) and the UK Data Archive (UKDA), both based on our Colchester Campus. Many of our researchers collaborate on projects, applying economic theory to real-life situations.

As a student, you can access these services through joint modules, a seminar series and by working with ISER staff. You can also use data from the UKDA for your work and access the expertise of staff for advice on data collection.

You can also benefit from our national and international links, and networks. We're a coordinating institution of the SeNSS DTP, and a member of Eastern ARC, and YERUN. Through these links, we organise collaborative activities and exchanges for our PhD students.

Present your work

Develop your presentation skills by taking part in our weekly Research Strategy Seminars where you present your work and discuss research with your fellow students.

We also have a weekly Wednesday Workshop to present your work and a weekly Departmental Seminar with academic speakers from outside the University.

"The Department of Economics is an excellent place to get involved in research. You can be assured of access to some of the finest research minds in the country."
Pedro David Matos Serodio  PhD economics
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Looking for postgraduate opportunities?

Find out about the very latest studentships and scholarships available to postgraduate students at Essex by visiting our postgraduate opportunities page.

Discover more postgraduate research opportunities
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Discover the Department of Economics research newsletter

From conferences to grant successes stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Department of Economics via our research newsletter.

Read our research newsletter