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Faculty of Economics



This degree is for students with an undergraduate degree in economics who wish to obtain a PhD. It is the foundation year for the PhD programme and involves a thorough study of the core areas of economics and the exploration of one area in detail in order to begin the process of choosing a PhD research topic. The advanced and technically rigorous nature of the programme also serves as an excellent foundation for other research-focused roles outside academia. The Course aims to give a thorough foundation in macroeconomic theory with an emphasis on formal methods. Microeconomics will cover the standard economic models of individual decision-making with and without uncertainty, models of consumer behaviour and producer behaviour under perfect competition and the Arrow-Debreu general equilibrium model. Econometrics will give a solid understanding of basic applied econometric methods in order to be able to analyse different kinds of economic data.

Each student will take 7 modules plus a dissertation. Modules will consist of 18 or 27 hours of lectures, together with supporting classes.


Course Requirements

To attend the preparatory course in mathematics and statistics


Six compulsory modules in each core area of microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics


One additional module from Specialist Modules


A dissertation of up to 10,000 words

Preparatory Course in Mathematics and Statistics

A good understanding of mathematics is needed to cope with much of the theory in modern economics and a sound knowledge of statistics is essential for applied work. The aim of the compulsory three-week preparatory course, which runs from mid-September to early October, is to review and develop the required technical methods for the compulsory core modules in macroeconomics, microeconomics, and econometrics. The topics covered are: linear algebra; statistics; static optimisation; dynamic optimisation; differential and difference equations. Students are expected to pass a two hour examination at the end of this preparatory course.

Course Modules


Examination of the Modules will be in May/June. The modules account for 80% of the overall mark and the dissertation accounts for 20% of the overall mark. (Modules with a higher number of lecture hours will have a higher weighting)


During the second term, each student is allocated a supervisor for the dissertation. The topic of the dissertation is associated with either a core subject or a specialist subject and must be formally approved by the Faculty. During the second and third terms the student will meet the supervisor to discuss an outline of the topic, a bibliography, the use of appropriate data and methods of analysis, and a draft of the dissertation. After the written examinations in the third term, students can concentrate entirely on their dissertations, with supervisors permitted to give comments until the end of June (maximum of two hours supervision). The dissertation will be submitted at the end of July.

Continuation to PhD

Students wishing to continue onto the PhD are required to apply formally through the University’s graduate admissions office in December. Decisions are made as a gathered field during February/March and if an offer is made it will be conditional on achieving an average mark of 70 in the coursework element and the appointment of a supervisor; offers will be for the Certificate of Postgraduate Studies which is the probationary year for the PhD. Typically, around 50% of students on the MPhil in Economic Research will achieve the continuation mark. However, not all will be in a position to continue for financial or other reasons – in 2014-15 for example, of the 29 applications received 13 continued onto the PhD.



Applications received