Economics PhD

Key information

Full-time - 3 years

Start date:
October 2024

Why choose this programme

The School of Economics has a reputation as a leading research-intensive department in the UK. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, our School was ranked in the top 10 schools in the UK for world-leading research. The School achieved an overall ranking of 6th for real-world impact and 8th for research environment in REF 2021.

Our doctoral programme starts with the MRes Economics programme in the first year, followed by the three-year PhD programme (with the possibility of a one-year extension).

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

  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomic theory
  • Econometrics
  • Applied microeconomics.

We belong to the South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc), a consortium of six leading UK universities promoting inventive and inclusive social science research training and collaboration, as well as the possibility of funding for your studies.

When you apply to the MRes/PhD course, if you require funding, you will automatically be considered for one of our scholarships. See also other available scholarships.

We offer generous studentships for the duration of the MRes/PhD course for outstanding candidates.

Employment after your PhD

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
  • University of Texas at Austin.

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

Meet the School of Economics

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 paid research assistant. You will be involved in activities such as conducting literature reviews, helping with data analysis and interpretation for current research projects, and you 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 PG Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education programme offered at Surrey, by our own highly regarded Department of Higher Education. You will learn about pedagogy, practise 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 paid 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 support

The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate careers and employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.

Research themes

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


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 August 2023.

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 honour (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).

These are the English language qualifications and levels that we can 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.

Application requirements

Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.

Research proposal

Before applying, please refer to our research proposal guidance for information on submitting a suitable research proposal.

After registration

Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants:

  • Meeting the expected entry requirements
  • Being shortlisted through the application screening process
  • Completing a successful interview
  • Providing suitable references.


Start date: October 2024


To be confirmed
  • Annual fees will increase by 4% for each year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100 (subject to legal requirements).
  • Any start date other than September 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).

View the list of fees for all postgraduate research courses.

Additional costs

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


When you apply, if you require funding, you will automatically be considered for one of our studentships.

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

Apply online

The standard entry route to this PhD programme is through the MRes Economics programme.

If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, please provide details of the project instead of a research proposal.

Read our application guidance for further information on applying.

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 to study at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to follow our policies and procedures, student regulations, and terms and conditions.

We provide these terms and conditions in two stages:

  • First when we make an offer.
  • Second when students accept their offer and register to study with us (registration terms and conditions will vary depending on your course and academic year).

View our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2023/24 academic year, as a guide on what to expect.


This online prospectus has been published in advance of the academic year to which it applies.

Whilst we have done everything possible to ensure this information is accurate, some changes may happen between publishing and the start of the course.

It is important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.

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. 

University of Surrey Admissions

Contact Admissions Team


University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH