Economics (Four Year) PHD

Why choose this course

The School of Economics has a leading reputation in research and teaching. In the REF 2014, the School was ranked 6th nationally in research intensity, 10th in research output and 12th overall.

Many of our academics publish in top academic journals and act as economic advisers to governments and prestigious international organisations.

Economics research at Surrey is relevant to both theory and policy. The School has expertise in a wide range of areas, including macroeconomics, microeconomics, energy economics, health economics and econometrics.

We pride ourselves on the levels of supervision we provide and on our friendly, highly effective research atmosphere.

What you will study

Our four-year PhD in Economics aims at producing first rate scholars who are sought-after by leading economics departments and business schools, as well as research institutions around the world.

Your first year will be spent studying core modules in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, and modules in real analysis offered by the Department of Mathematics. The content and the level of our courses is comparable to those offered by other top UK and international institutions.

Your second year will be spent on specialised training in several areas of economics and econometrics, both from theoretical and empirical perspectives.

The final two years of your PhD will be dedicated to independent research, under the guidance of a supervisor and a co-supervisor. At the end of the programme, you will submit a PhD dissertation that is examined by a viva examination and should generally result in the publication of papers in highly rated economics or econometrics journals.

Throughout your PhD, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the teaching and research activity of the School and to participate in seminars and present your own work in the field workshops. You will also be encouraged to submit your paper to presentation at conferences, which we can support you to attend.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PHD Full-time 48 months October 2018

Personal and professional development

We take your development as a well-rounded PhD student seriously and have put together a package of development opportunities that we believe will develop your research and teaching skills and put you in the best position to secure employment at the end of the programme.

In addition to the Researcher Development Programme, which is provided centrally to all PhD students at the University of Surrey, we offer a number of other learning opportunities. 

Research assistant opportunities

During the first two years, we will give you the opportunity to work alongside your research supervisor and other academic colleagues as a research assistant. You will be involved in activities such as conducting literature reviews, helping with data analysis and interpretation for current research projects and will play an active role in the research community of the School. These activities will typically be more intensive during the summer months.

Graduate Certificate of Higher Education

In the January of the second year of your programme, we offer you the opportunity to enrol on the Graduate Certificate of Higher Education programme offered at the University by our own highly regarded Department of Higher Education. You will learn about pedagogy, practice your teaching skills and receive a recognised teaching qualification that would allow you to become a member of the Higher Education Academy, which is recognised internationally.

Teaching opportunities

During the last two years of your study, and on successful completion of your teacher training, you will be offered the opportunity to take on a range of teaching activities, fully supported by your academic colleagues. These teaching opportunities will further reinforce your personal and academic skills and help to enhance your understanding of your subject area as well as adding significantly to your curriculum vitae.

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Research themes

  • Big data and resampling techniques
  • Spatial econometrics
  • Quantiles regression
  • The econometrics of auctions
  • Econometric identification
  • Quasi-experimental methods
  • Structural modelling
  • Duration models
  • Heterogeneous agents in macroeconomics
  • Optimal taxation
  • Learning and imperfect information in macroeconomics
  • Rational choice theory
  • The consumer choice model
  • Empirical revealed preference
  • Choice under uncertainty
  • Behavioural economics
  • Models of household decision making
  • Games theory
  • Financial economics
  • Strategic voting
  • Strategic experimentation
  • Mechanism design

Our academic staff

See a full list of all our academic staff within the School of Economics.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, normally with a first class honours (or equivalent).

A minimum of two letters of recommendation should be provided with your application. Applicants are also requested to submit a cover letter specifying their motivation to pursue a PhD in Economics at the University of Surrey and highlighting their broad research interests.

GRE criteria

Applicants should also take the GRE exam. Only the Quantitative Reasoning part of the GRE test is compulsory. Applications without evidence of GRE (Quantitative Reasoning) will not be considered.

Please note your GRE exam statement should be less than five years old on 1 October 2018. You should arrange for an official certificate of your score to be sent to Admissions Services of the University from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), as well as entering your scores in the relevant section of the application form. Please also select the University of Surrey as an official score recipient. You can also find instructions on how to have your scores sent to an institution. The Surrey institution code for the GRE is 3495; no department code is required as the scores are processed centrally. For more information about the test please see the GRE website or the ETS website.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

View the other English language qualifications that we accept.

If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.



Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Oversees fees
Full-time October 2018 £4,260 £16,600

For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).

Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.


We have a host of partly and fully-funded studentship opportunities available.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences studentship - economics

Funding information:
This studentship covers tuition fees at the home/EU and international rates, and maintenance at current research-council rates for a total of up to £17,000 per annum.

Development of novel radiation-grafted powder ionomers for use in high performance alkali membrane fuel cells

Funding information:
Funding status: Directly Funded Project (European/UK Students only) EU/UK  fees for 3 years: 2018-19 level £4195 Standard stipend for 3 years: 2017-18 level £14,553 £5k bench fees across three-year project

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