Economics PhD

Key information

Full-time - 3 years

Start date

October 2022

Why choose this programme

The School of Economics has a leading reputation in research and teaching. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, our School was ranked 6th in the UK for research intensity, 10th in research output and 12th overall. We are also ranked in the top 10 for business and economics in the United Kingdom by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 by subject. 

Our Economics PhD is seen as the second stage of a four-year programme. The first step is the MRes Economics programme lasting one year, and the PhD follows on from this, lasting three years (with the added possibility of extensions).

During your PhD programme, you’ll learn from dedicated research-active academics with expertise in a wide range of areas, including:  

  • Macroeconomics 
  • Microeconomics 
  • Econometrics
  • Energy economics 
  • Health economics. 

Our PhD students have gone on to academic positions as lecturers and postdoctoral researchers in the UK and overseas, including institutions such as:

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Sussex
  • University of East Anglia
  • European University Institute
  • University of Glasgow
  • London School of Economics.

Our past students have also gone on to take leading positions in international institutions including:

  • International Monetary Fund
  • European Central Bank
  • Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Financial Conduct Authority
  • Bank of Canada
  • European Investment fund
  • Leading think tanks and economic consultancy firms.
Introducing the School of Economics MRes and PhD programmes | University of Surrey

Frequently asked questions about doing a PhD

What you will study

Our PhD programme produces graduates who are sought-after by leading economics departments, business schools, and research institutions around the world. 

Your first year will be spent studying core modules in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, while working on your research. The final two years of your PhD will be entirely dedicated to independent research, leading to a PhD dissertation. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to contribute to the teaching and research activity of the School. 


Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which will be discussed in a viva examination with at least two examiners. You have the option of preparing your thesis as a monograph (one large volume in chapter form) or in publication format (including chapters written for publication), subject to the approval of your supervisors.

Personal and professional development

We have a package of development opportunities that will boost your research and teaching skills and put you in the best position to secure employment at the end of your course. 

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

Research assistant opportunities

During your PhD, you’ll have 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 first year of your PhD, you will have the opportunity to enrol on the Graduate Certificate of Higher Education programme offered at Surrey, by our own highly regarded Department of Higher Education. You will learn about pedagogy, practice your teaching skills and receive an internationally-recognised teaching qualification that will allow you to become a member of the Higher Education Academy. 

Teaching opportunities

During your PhD, 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 CV. 

Research themes

  • Big data and resampling techniques 
  • Network and spatial econometrics 
  • Quantile 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. 


Your first year will be spent studying the core modules below whilst simultaneously working on your research. 

Semester 1

Semester 2

These modules are correct as of July 2021, please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information.

Our academic staff

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

Entry requirements

Students enrolled in the MRes in Economics at the University of Surrey will automatically receive a conditional offer on application to the PhD during their MRes studies. The condition to progress into the PhD will be to pass the MRes at least with merit (60%).

Applicants from other institutions are expected to hold an MRes degree in a relevant discipline, normally with a first class honours (or equivalent). A minimum of two referees 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, unless they have completed a University of Surrey degree or are currently studying with us. 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 at the start of the course. You should arrange for an official certificate of your score to be sent to Admissions 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.

International entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic:  6.5 or above with a minimum of 6.0 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.

Selection process

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


Start date: October 2022


UK £4,596

Overseas £18,700

For fees payable in 2022/23, 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 2022 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.

Additional costs

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


A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course. 

We offer generous studentships, please see our studentships page for further information.


How to apply

If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, you should enter the details of the specific project that you wish to apply for rather than your own research proposal.

More information on the application process.

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).

Terms and conditions

When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

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