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.

Jump to: MRes EconomicsPhD EconomicsFunding and Further Information

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. 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


Most of our research students are self-funded for the MRes and apply for PhD funding during the MRes year.

Funded PhD students receive a living allowance, currently about £15,000 per year, for 3-4 years, and tuition fees are waived. British, European and international students are eligible for full funding. Whether they are funded or not, most PhD students earn additional income from teaching.

Candidates holding or currently studying for an MRes or MPhil in economics in Bristol or elsewhere are advised to apply to the PhD by 31 December in order to be considered for PhD funding from the following September. Students applying by this deadline will be considered for funding from all sources, including the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC/SWDTP) and the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Students applying after 31 December may still be considered for funding when available.

Candidates holding or currently studying for undergraduate, MA or MSc degrees should normally apply for entry to the MRes Economics rather than directly to the PhD.

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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