MRes/PhD Economics

  • Graduate research
  • Department of Economics
  • Application code L1U4
  • Starting 2019
  • UK/EU full-time: Closed
  • Overseas full-time: Closed
  • Location: London

This programme offers you the chance to undertake a substantial piece of work that is worthy of publication and which makes an original contribution to the field of economics. You will begin on the MRes degree, and will need to meet certain requirements to progress to the PhD.

The Department of Economics pioneered the development of systematic research training in economics in Britain and our MRes/PhD Economics aims for the highest international standard of achievement and professional competence. The programme offers structured research training and supervision by faculty prominent in their fields. It begins with two years of rigorous coursework, equipping you with the theoretical knowledge and analytical techniques necessary to proceed to the research component of the programme. 

Many research students are associated with the work of one of LSE's research centres. You could work with the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines on areas ranging from development economics to public policy; or on research technology, growth and globalisation as part of the Centre for Economic Performance. You could contribute to major research programmes addressing the key issues of unemployment, fiscal austerity, financial markets and shifts in the world economy at the Centre for Macroeconomics; or specialise in risk management, asset pricing, financial institutions and corporate finance as part of the Financial Markets Group.

Programme details

Key facts

MRes/PhD Economics
Start date Introductory course in Mathematics and Statistics begins in August 2019
Application deadline 12 December 2018 - Now Closed for 2019/20 entry
Duration Five to six years full-time: two years MRes, three to four years PhD 
Tuition fee UK/EU: £4,366 (for the first year) - provisional
Overseas: £18,624 (for the first year)
Financial support LSE PhD Studentships (deadline 12 December 2018)
ESRC funding (deadline 12 December 2018)
Departmental scholarships may be available
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any field, along with some preparation in economics, a strong mathematics background and evidence of research potential
GRE/GMAT requirement GRE is required for all applicants
English language requirements Standard (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

Introductory course (MRes)

You will begin the programme with the Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics, which begins in early September, before the start of the academic year.

First year (MRes)

In the first year of the programme you will take advanced core courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, to equip you with the theoretical knowledge and analytical techniques necessary for research. Permission must be obtained to sit Econometric Analysis as it is intended for students with a strong econometric background and an interest in pursuing a PhD with econometrics as the primary field.

Microeconomics for MRes students
Introduces the basic analytical tools that are necessary to conduct research in any field in economics.

Macroeconomics for MRes students
Covers topics in advanced macroeconomics with emphasis on fundamentals and applications to recent theoretical advances.

Econometrics for MRes students
Covers inference, classical and generalised linear regression, generalised regression methods, time-series, panel-data, and microeconometric methods, and specialised econometric methods.
Econometric Analysis
Gives an advanced treatment of the theory of estimation and inference for econometric models.

Second year (MRes)

In the second year, you will typically take two PhD field courses and write a research paper in your major field. Currently, there are field courses covering: microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, financial markets, and international, labour, public, industrial, political and development economics. From the second year onwards, you will also participate in a departmental research seminar and a work in progress seminar allied to your major research field.

Research Paper in Economics
A research paper, between 5,000 and 10,000 words, related to the student's designated major field, to be submitted mid-way through the summer term.

Two courses from a range of options


Upon successfully completing the MRes and progressing to the PhD, you will work on your research and write your PhD thesis. You will also take one further PhD field course. You will also attend Work in Progress seminars, where you present your research, as well as the weekly departmental seminar series closest to your major field.

One course from a range of options.

Second and subsequent years of the PhD programme

You will continue to work on your research and write a PhD thesis. You will also continue to attend Work in Progress seminars, where you present your research, as well as the weekly departmental seminar series closest to your major field.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar. 

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises. 

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Supervision, progression and assessment


You will be assigned a lead supervisor (and a second supervisor/adviser) who is a specialist in your chosen research field, though not necessarily in your topic. Lead supervisors guide you through your studies.

Progression and assessment

You will need to meet certain criteria to progress to each subsequent year of the programme, such as achieving certain grades in your coursework. In addition, to progress to PhD registration, you will need to meet specific progression requirements, such as achieving certain grades in your coursework.

Your final award will be determined by the completion of an original research thesis and a viva oral examination.

More about progression requirements

Preliminary reading

Readings are included in the respective course guides in the Calendar


Students who successfully complete the programme often embark on an academic career.
See information on the placements of previous students on this programme

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme


Starting from the second year of the MRes, students are encouraged to undertake some class teaching in the Department, as this represents useful professional training. Additional information about teaching in the Department.

Support for your career

Many leading organisations in the field give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Student stories

Alexey Nechaev

MRes/PhD Economics


For me, one of the reasons for choosing to remain with the LSE throughout my education, from BSc through to PhD level, is that the LSE has a truly vibrant academic environment, which enables people to develop as self-sufficient researchers and professionals in their chosen field, not only through lectures and study, but through interaction with some of the leading academics and in a well-selected, diverse student body, full of people of different experience and background. 

My own research focuses on effective state-building from an economic perspective in developing economies and requires gathering data from my countries of interest. During my second year of the degree, for example, I focused on analysing the economic impact of an ongoing road construction project in Mongolia, connecting Russia to China through the country, as well as methods of financing and procurement for this project.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications for research programmes that complement the academic interests of members of staff at the School, and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including existing and pending qualifications)
- personal statement
- references
- CV
- research statement

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency. You do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE, but we recommend that you do. See our English language requirements for further information.

When to apply

The application deadline for this programme is 12 December 2018. However to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must also have submitted your application and all supporting documents by this deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

Minimum entry requirements for MRes/PhD Economics

An upper second class honours (2:1) degree (or equivalent) in any field. Some preparation in economics, a strong mathematics background and evidence of research potential are essential. The goal of the MRes/PhD is to train first class researchers. We will use all available information to assess research potential.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet our minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission. 

See international entry requirements

GRE/GMAT requirement

GRE is required for all applicants. This must be no more than five years old on 1 October 2019 and must show full and percentile scores for all three sections. Most successful MRes/PhD Economics applicants score 166 or above in the quantitative section.

Find out more about GRE/GMAT

Research statement

An application for 2019 entry to the MRes/PhD Economics should include a Research Statement, along with other required information  (Note: A separate sample of written work is not required as part of the MRes/PhD Economics application).

What should my Research Statement contain?

Your Research Statement should be submitted in place of the Outline Research Proposal, along with your application form and other required supporting documents, via the LSE online application system.

Please answer the following questions clearly and concisely. Max 200 words per question.

  1. Why do you want to do research in economics?
  2. Can you explain how your studies and experience make you suitable to do research in economics?
  3. Which aspect of the PhD do you think you will like the most? Which will you dislike the most? Why?
  4. Tell us about your favourite paper in economics. What do you like about it? How would you improve it?
  5. Write a comment for a general audience on ONE of the following topics 
    (i) Is inequality good for growth?  
    (ii) Do immigrants take the jobs of native workers?  
    (iii) Is CEO compensation excessive? 
    (iv) Is universal minimum income a good idea? 
    (v) Overall, has central banks' move to inflation targeting has been a success? 
    (vi) Is culture an important determinant of differences in income per capita across countries? 
    (vii) Markets function well as information is aggregated efficiently through prices. 
    (viii) Elections are effective at disciplining politicians who do not have the public interest as their main goal.

How can I demonstrate research potential?

If you have served as research assistant for an economist please ask that person to write a letter focussing on your research skills and describe your experience – reference point 2 (above) of the research statement.

If not, please list any evidence you think would be valuable. Examples include but are not restricted to: experience working autonomously under stress without any guidance, demonstration of creativity in any form, experience of writing original research.

Fees and funding

Every research student is charged a fee for each year of their programme. The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2019/20 for MRes/PhD Economics

UK/EU students: £4,366 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas students: £18,624 for the first year

The fee is likely to rise over subsequent years of the programme. The School charges UK/EU research students in line with the level of fee that the Research Councils recommend. The fees for overseas students are likely to rise in line with the assumed percentage increase in pay costs (ie, 4 per cent per annum).

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Scholarships, studentships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU.

This programme is eligible for LSE PhD Studentships, and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding. Selection for the PhD Studentships and ESRC funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline.  

For the MRes/PhD Economics, the funding deadline is the same as the application deadline for the programme: 12 December 2018.

The Economics Department also has a number of scholarship packages for direct entry MRes/PhD students. After the first year of the MRes/PhD Economics, there are teaching and research assistantships available in the Department. Read more about funding opportunities through the Economics Department.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

External funding

There may be other funding opportunities available through other organisations or governments and we recommend you investigate these options as well.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

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