Economics Graduates

PhD Programmes in Economics

The 3-year PhD Programme and the 4-year Integrated PhD Programme in Economics are aimed at students of high calibre who wish to pursue a research career as economists in academia, government, research organisations, or in business. 

PhD graduates

About the programmes

As a PhD student in this department you will enjoy both close supervision by a group of well-established faculty members that specialise in their research topic, and wide access to numerous advanced research training courses offered by the Department and by the ESRC-funded North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP). You will also participate in a large number of departmental activities such as seminar series, departmental workshops and conferences.

Upon successful completion, you will have a thorough understanding of economic theory and its applications, as well as an ability to think critically about, and apply quantitative methods to, economic problems.

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"I strongly feel that Lancaster University is an institution that helps young people to unlock their potential and empower them to grow."

Peng Wang, PhD Economics 2015

Programmes Structure

The programmes below include a range of advanced modules and include both advanced theory and applied economics. This lays the foundations for conducting high-quality research and preparing the doctoral thesis. For more information, please refer to the tabs below.

Tab Content: Economics PhD

Programme Structure

This is a three years programme. The first year includes a range of advanced modules, which are delivered by the Department or by our ESRC NWSSDTP partners at the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool.

The last two years of the PhD programme are dedicated to full-time research for the completion of the doctoral thesis. Upon completion of the programme, you should have a thorough understanding of economic theory and its applications, as well as an ability to think critically about, and apply quantitative methods to, economic problems.

Typical PhD Modules

  • Research Skills for Economists
  • Microeconometrics
  • Applied Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics

After completing the taught component of the programme, those students who perform well and pass qualifying coursework and examinations proceed to develop a substantive research proposal (ECON880) under the guidance of their supervisory team. The research proposal is essentially a preliminary draft of the student’s first research paper, which builds upon the advanced research training undertaken throughout the year (especially the Research Skills module). Students defend their research proposal in an upgrade/confirmation panel that takes place in September.

Research Focus

During your last two years, you will focus almost entirely on research and work on your research papers/chapters. You will be encouraged and financially supported to present your work in seminars, conferences and workshops to obtain feedback, interact with other researchers and establish research networks. If deemed beneficial by the supervisory team, you can also participate in NWSSDTP Economics modules, which you didn't take in the first year, and attend courses, masterclasses and workshops outside the NWSSDTP Economics pathway.

In your final year, you will be expected to complete your main research paper, the job market paper, and start preparing for the following year’s job market. The Department supports you during this stage through introductory talks, mock interviews and job market presentations.

Tab Content: Integrated Economics PhD

This is a 4 year PhD programme and is targeted to students who have not yet acquired solid postgraduate training in economics. In your first year, you will follow one of the two MSc Programmes run by the Department, either the MSc in Economics or the MSc in Money, Banking and Finance (MBF). From your second year onwards, you will follow the regular Economics PhD structure.

Tab Content: Research Activities

Departmental Seminars, Workshops and Conferences

The Department runs three weekly seminar series: an internal, a PhD, and an external. These seminar series provide an invaluable opportunity to PhD students to be exposed to cutting edge research in their field, present their work and obtain feedback. The Department also organises conferences and workshops that PhD students are invited to attend. Visit our events for more information.

NWSSDTP PhD Conference in Economics

Every year in May, the Departments of Economics of the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester organise the NWSSDTP PhD Conference in Economics. This two-day event consists of keynote speeches by prominent economists, presentations from PhD students from the three institutions, and a conference dinner. Past keynote speakers include Professor Jeffrey Wooldridge from Michigan State University, Professor Daniel S. Hamersmesh from the University of Texas at Austin, Professor Rachel Griffith from the University of Manchester, and Professor Ed Karni from Johns Hopkins.

NWSSDTP Summer School in Economics

The NWSSDTP Summer School is an intensive, one-week event that consists of a series of lectures and seminars/labs taught by world-leading academics. It provides an excellent opportunity for PhD students to further enhance their skills and knowledge in a specific area of economics/econometrics, and it facilitates interactions across PhD students, faculty and course lecturers.

Tab Content: Research Partnerships

The Department has strong links with non-Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and several of our PhD students have worked on research projects in collaboration with these organisations. Below is a list of our non-HEI partners together with current and past PhD projects.

  • Department of Work and Pensions, “Child Support and Separation: Effects on Parents and Children”
  • Bank of England, “Housing Markets and the Macroeconomy”
  • Gambling Commission, “Understanding Gambling”
  • Department of Business Innovation and Skills, “Drivers of Efficiency in Higher Education”
  • Office of Manpower, Economics “Labour Supply and Incentives in the Medical Profession”
  • RAND Europe, “Alcohol, Habits and Prices”
  • Department of Business Innovation and Skills, “The Returns to Higher Education: Some Further Analysis”
  • The Work Foundation, “Transitions from Schools and Youth Unemployment”

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Studentships and Funding

Our studentships and funding opportunities for PhD study are available through the UK's research councils, through Lancaster University, and through various other organisations. We provide below the details of some different types of studentships, which include fees and a living allowance, and further links for other funding opportunities.


PhD students

Job Market Candidates

Our Economics job market candidates students are listed below. For a full list of LUMS candidates, please visit our PhD Job Market Candidates page. For further details, please contact Dr Giorgio Motta, Director of the PhD Programme.

Alumni Profiles

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