Postgraduate research: Economics (MRes/PhD)

Being a research student at the Department of Economics in Bristol has many advantages, including an enthusiastic research community, a welcoming atmosphere and excellent research facilities.

The department is large enough to have expertise in many fields, but small enough to be friendly and to allow regular contact between students and staff members.

The high quality of the school’s research was recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), where 88 per cent of the Department of Economic's research was classified as either world-leading or internationally excellent. Among Departments of Economics, Bristol ranked sixth in the UK in REF 2014. At the university level, Bristol is ranked 51st in the world (QS ranking 2019).

Research facilities are excellent with extensive provision of networked software and databases and access to all leading journals.

Research students are strongly encouraged to interact with faculty members and to attend the term-time seminar series, including external and internal speakers. Students also present their work in a dedicated, internal seminar series for research students in economics, which is well attended by both students and faculty. Students have many opportunities for training beyond the requirements of the degrees.

Students interesting in pursuing a PhD in economics at the University of Bristol should normally apply to the MRes Economics in the first instance. Direct entry into the PhD programme may be possible for students with an MRes Economics degree from elsewhere or with a very strong MSc Economics degree.

MRes Economics

The MRes Economics is a 12-month master’s degree designed to prepare candidates for PhD-level study in economics in Bristol or elsewhere. It emphasizes the knowledge and skills needed for PhD research. The programme is also suitable for those planning to work as an economist outside academia, but seeking a good technical training.

While the MRes Economics is a freestanding degree, it is also the main entry point to the PhD Economics programme.

The MRes consists of taught units and a master’s dissertation written over the summer. See the programme catalogue for more details about the course structure and units available.

Candidates with a good MSc degree (or equivalent qualification) in economics or another quantitative discipline are encouraged to apply. Consideration will also be given to students with exceptional performance in undergraduate economics or another quantitative discipline.

MRes applications need to include undergraduate and postgraduate transcripts (if available) and two letters of reference. Note that if you are applying for entry to the MRes without funding, then a research proposal is not required. However, if you want to be considered for 1+3 funding, then a brief research proposal needs to be included with the online MRes application. For further information about the MRes programme, including entry requirements, fees and how to apply, click the button below.

Further information about MRes Economics

PhD Economics

The PhD in Economics is a research qualification based on preparation of a dissertation. The doctoral programme is offered on a full or part-time basis.

The standard entry route into the PhD is the MRes Economics programme, described above. Entry from the MRes into the PhD is conditional on academic results and the availability of supervision. Candidates with an MRes or MPhil Economics degree from another institution, or a very strong MSc Economics degree, will also be considered for direct entry into the PhD programme.

Candidates entering the PhD programme without an MRes degree are required to take 60 credit points of taught units in their first year. For candidates entering with an MRes, there is no further required coursework, but students are encouraged to undertake further training in agreement with their supervisor.

PhD students will typically be allocated two supervisors, a desk space and a computer from the first year.

For a full-time student, the minimum period of study for the PhD degree is three years, and the maximum is four years. Most students take four years.

Direct PhD applications need to include undergraduate and postgraduate transcripts, two letters of reference and a research proposal. Candidates for direct PhD entry sometimes contact potential supervisors informally with their draft research proposal before applying. For more information about the PhD programme, including entry requirements, fees and how to apply, click the button below. 

Further information about PhD Economics

Funding, deadlines and how to apply

Full funding covering tuition fees and a living allowance is available for "1+3" (one year of MRes followed by three years of PhD) and "+3" (three years of PhD only) study. To be considered for 1+3 funding, submit your MRes Economics application by 12 noon GMT on Tuesday 21 January 2020. You also need to email efim-pgr@bristol.ac.uk, by the same deadline, to say you have submitted your MRes Economics application and would like to be considered for 1+3 funding. Note that even with 1+3 funding, admission from the MRes to the PhD programme is conditional on academic progress and the availability of supervision. Application by the main deadline is strongly recommended, but late submissions may be considered for potential future funding rounds.

To be considered for +3 funding, submit your PhD Economics application by 12 noon GMT on Tuesday 21 January 2020. You also need to email efim-pgr@bristol.ac.uk, by the same deadline, to say you have submitted your PhD Economics application and would like to be considered for +3 funding. Application by the main deadline is strongly recommended, but late submissions may be considered for potential future funding rounds.

Chinese students who are currently in the MRes Economics programme or who already hold an MRes Economics should apply directly to the PhD programme by 12 noon GMT on Monday 20 January and also send a message to the email address above to say they wish to be considered for PhD funding.

Research proposals to be considered for funding should be no more than 1000 words long excluding bibliography.

Applicants following this procedure will be considered for a range of funding sources including ESRC and University of Bristol scholarships. Funded students receive a living allowance, and tuition fees are waived. Most PhD students also receive additional income from teaching. British, European and International students are eligible for full funding.

There is currently no funding available for students pursuing the MRes Economics as a stand-alone degree. Self-funded MRes students are, however, eligible to apply for +3 PhD funding the following year.

For externally or self-financed students there is no particular deadline for PhD Economics applications, while for MRes Economics the usual deadline for externally or self-financed candidates is 1 July. 

Note that application processes for admission and funding are distinct, and some students may receive offers of admission without funding. Application outcomes for admission and funding are also communicated separately.

Further information

If you have questions, feel free to contact Francesco Giovannoni (MRes Economics) or Erlend Berg (PhD Economics).

PhD Student success

Explore the published or forthcoming research by current or former research students in the Department of Economics at Bristol.

Economics research

Find out about research going on in the Department of Economics.

The best thing about Bristol was the research environment and the collaborations that this fostered with a number of colleagues. Having now left Bristol, I really value the connections that I built during my time there and still work with a number of people in the university.

Lindsey (PhD in Economics)

Bristol Doctoral College

Our Bristol Doctoral College supports the community of postgraduate researchers across our research degree programmes. Find out what the Doctoral College has to offer you.

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