Postgraduate research: Economics (MRes and 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 online 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.

MRes Economics

The MRes in Economics is a freestanding, 12-month master’s degree designed for students with a potential interest in future study at PhD level 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.

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 academic performance in undergraduate economics.

While the MRes Economics is a freestanding master’s degree, an increasing proportion of our PhD students are recruited from this programme.

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 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.

Master’s-level training in economics is required for admission. 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.

PhD applications need to include undergraduate and postgraduate transcripts, two letters of reference and a research proposal. For more information about PhD programme, including entry requirements, fees and how to apply, click the button below. 

Further information about PhD Economics

Funding opportunities and deadlines

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.

There is no funding available for students pursuing the MRes Economics as a stand-alone degree.

Those interested in pursuing the MRes followed by the PhD can apply for ‘1+3’ ESRC funding (one year of MRes followed by three years of PhD funding, with fees covered plus a living allowance). To be considered for 1+3 funding, an online application for the MRes programme needs to be submitted by 29 January 2019 at midday GMT. You also need to email, saying that you have submitted an MRes 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.

ESRC funding for three years of PhD study (‘+3’ scholarships, covering fees and a living allowance) is also available. To be considered, submit an online application for the PhD programme by 29 January 2019 at midday GMT, and email to say you have submitted a PhD application and want to be considered for +3 funding. Applications submitted by this deadline will also be considered for University of Bristol scholarships.

The ESRC scholarships are administered by the South-West Doctoral Training Programme. Please see their website for further information on the scholarships and the associated terms and conditions.

Chinese citizens can apply for four years of PhD funding from the China Scholarship Council. To be considered, the PhD Economics application needs to be submitted online by 18 January 2019, and you also need to email to say you have applied for PhD entry and want to be considered for CSC funding. Unfortunately, CSC does not currently fund stand-alone master’s degrees, so Chinese students may need to self-finance during the MRes year and apply for the PhD with CSC funding thereafter.

Funding may also be available through the PhD programme in Advanced Quantitative Methods. While this is distinct from the PhD in Economics, it is an inter-disciplinary programme which allows students to have one supervisor in economics and another in, for example, geography, health or education.

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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