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 target to students who have not yet acquired a 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. For more details and progression criteria please refer to the PhD Economics Handbook.

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 the course lecturers. For this year event please find more information at the dedicated site. 

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


  • Studentships and Loans

    LUMS Scholarships - All students

    A number of LUMS Studentships are available which include a fee waiver and a stipend of approximately £14,777 per annum. Applicants should indicate that they wish to be considered for a Doctoral Studentship on their application form (under the section on proposed source of funding and in the personal statement) so that they can automatically be considered: there are no separate studentship application forms.

    These studentships are available for all the PhD programmes offered by LUMS and for students of any nationality. This is a generous programme of awards, allocated on a competitive basis, which is intended to support promising researchers to undertake their PhD studies in LUMS. Students receiving these studentships will be required to undertake some teaching and/or marking activities.

    Eligibility: all students
    Deadline for applications: 17th April 2020. Please note if you are planning to apply for an ESRC award the deadline for this is the 3rd February 2020.

    Programme Studentships - Management Science only

    Currently, the Department of Management Science offers programme-specific funded studentships aimed at high achieving applicants. 

    Eligibility: Management Science applicants only

    Interests: Our interests cover information systems and the digital economy; operational research; and operations management, including supply chain and logistics. Supervision is available in all these areas.

    More Details: We have a large group of PhD candidates and are seeking others to join them. The funding covers fees and living costs and are currently only available for full time study. Details of potential PhD topics can be found on the Management Science PhD page. For more details, please contact Ms Gay Bentinck.

    Deadline: There are two deadlines for 31 December 2019 and 15 February 2020.

    Commonwealth Scholarships

    Commonwealth Scholarships are prestigious awards and are very valuable for international students. They are available on a competitive basis.

    Eligibility: overseas students

    Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

    If you’re starting a doctoral degree on or after 1 August 2018, you could get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan of up to £25,000 to help with course fees and living costs. It isn’t based on your income or your family’s and it’s paid directly to you. You’ll be able to apply from summer 2018. Please visit the website for more information.

    Additional Information

    Plenty of websites provide information about funding opportunities. We would suggest overseas applicants to consider the website of the British Council for helpful information. Among the many other sources, we suggest the following links:

  • ESRC Awards

    Lancaster University forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP), which offers a large number of studentships covering tuition and providing a living allowance. Details of the provision and funding offered by the NWSSDTP are available on the NWSSDTP website.

    • Eligibility for UK students: no restrictions 
    • Eligibility for EU students: restrictions apply; please check the ESRC website or contact us for details
    • Eligibility for overseas students: eligible to apply for a full award in Economics and topics classed as Advanced Quantitative Methods. For other pathways restrictions apply; please check the ESRC website or contact us for details.

    If you are interested in applying for an ESRC Studentship, please contact Sarah Patterson.

    Deadline for applications: 3rd February 2020

     ESRC logo

  • STOR-i

    The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Statistics and Operational Research in partnership with industry (STOR-i) is a collaboration between Lancaster's Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Department of Management Science. STOR-i's goal is the development of international research leaders through a programme in which industrial challenge is the catalyst for mathematical innovation. The Centre's distinctive mission is based on a partnership with several of the UK's leading companies across a range of sectors, including AstraZeneca, BT, IBM, Shell and SSE. We are currently recruiting for entry onto the programme in 2020.

    Further details can be found on the STOR-i website.



    The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provides funding opportunities to support world-leading research. We are looking to recruit researchers in the Department of Management Science who will:

    • Be based with the Department of Management Science
    • Be excellent doctoral students with a strong quantitative background (including mathematics, physics, computer science and engineering)
    • Satisfy the UK residency requirement for full EPSRC support (usually met by EU students whose undergraduate studies were in the UK) for PhD study in any area of the department's OR research portfolio.

    Application Details

    To apply you will need to provide your full CV and a covering letter in which you should indicate which area is of interest to you (and why) and some possible topics for research.

    If you are short-listed, we will contact you to put you in touch with potential supervisors for the development of a fuller research proposal. For more information contact Gay Bentinck: e-mail  or phone +44 (0)1524 592408. Applications will be processed as soon as they are received, and short-listed candidates will be invited to interview.


    4-Year PhD studentships in Mathematical Models and Algorithms for Managing Airport Capacity

    “Mathematical Models and Algorithms for Allocating Scarce Airport Resources” (OR-MASTER) is a six year Programme Grant funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).  OR-MASTER aims to develop new mathematical models and algorithms for solving complex, large-scale resource allocation problems, with the ultimate goal of developing innovative decision support capabilities for airport capacity allocation and management. These studentships provide great opportunities for individuals to develop their mathematics/computer science skills while making a contribution to an area of immense importance to society.

    The Programme represents a strong partnership between academia and the air transport industry.  Over the six years of the Programme, OR-MASTER will involve close collaboration with a host of international organisations (including airports, air traffic management organisations, airlines, ground handling services providers and global security organisations; international research centres and research networks) that will support the project, providing real-world data, insights and expertise.  There will be opportunities to work closely with our partners.

    For further information, please download ORMaster2020.

    The complete application consisting of a cover letter (that includes a statement of your understanding of the project), curriculum vitae, transcripts and a recommendation letter needs to be sent to the indicated contact address.

    ORMASTER logo

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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