Departmental website: lse.ac.uk/economics
Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 71
RAE:95 per cent of the Department's research was rated world leading or internationally excellent
Location: 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields
About the Department
The Department is one of the largest in the world, and offers an unusually rich choice of courses. It is also one of the leading research departments: in the 2008 review of university research by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, the Department came top, whether ranked by grade point average or by the percentage of research receiving the top 4* grade. 60 per cent of our research activity was considered world leading and a further 35 per cent considered internationally excellent.
Ten past and present members of staff and students have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics including the 2010 prize winner Christopher Pissarides. Important figures in the discipline such as Atkinson, Besley, Layard, King, Sutton and Stern are, or have been, members of the Department.
In rankings of departments, based on publications in leading journals and peer review, the Department is consistently placed in the top 20 worldwide, far ahead of any other department in Europe. A recent ranking by Tilburg University of publications in top economics journals 2004-2009 places the Department equal 8th worldwide. Members of the Department are current or former editors of some of the leading journals, including the American Economic Review, Review of Economics Studies, the Economic Journal and Economica.
There is a cosmopolitan feel to the Department as well over half the members of staff were born or educated outside the UK and nearly three-quarters of graduate students come from overseas.
Former students are employed as economists in universities and in a wide range of national and international organisations, in government, business and finance.
Opportunities for research
Our Department pioneered the development of systematic research training in economics in Britain and our PhD programme aims for the highest international standard of achievement and professional competence. The intellectual climate created by a substantial number of able and enthusiastic students, along with the input of an encouraging and skilled staff are the most important assets of the programme.
Many research students are associated with the work of one of LSE's research centres. The largest are: the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, with major groups working on development economics, economics of industry, econometrics, economic theory, public finance and public policy; the Centre for Economic Performance, looking at technology and growth, globalisation, labour markets and financial stability; and the Financial Markets Group, specialising in risk management, asset pricing, financial institutions and corporate finance.
During the past two decades, LSE has developed a remarkable record of placing its PhD students in academic positions in the United States, as well as in the best research universities in Europe. A 2005 study by the Université Catholique de Louvain ranked LSE 10th worldwide for placing students in prestigious economics departments. For details of recent placements, see econ.lse.ac.uk/phdc
The Department has educated some of the leaders in their respected fields, such as Orazio Attanasio, Daron Acemoglu and Thomas Piketty.
Structure of the programme and entry routes
A PhD in Economics from LSE consists of a coursework portion, largely completed over two years, (leading to the MRes or Master of Research degree), followed by a thesis (leading to the PhD degree). There are two routes into the programme with slightly different coursework requirements; direct entry to the MRes/PhD programme (Track 1), or entry via one of our prestigious MSc degrees. Highly successful graduates of our MSc programmes are able to enter Track 2 of the MRes/PhD programme (see below MSc plus MRes/PhD Track 2).
An overview of the two routes is given below. Detailed information coursework requirements and financial support is available at econ.lse.ac.uk/study/programmes/apply/applyphd.html.
Direct entry MRes/PhD (Track 1)
Direct entry to the MRes/PhD programme (Track 1) is aimed at students with a postgraduate degree, or an undergraduate degree and exceptional grades in economics, mathematics, econometrics and other quantitative subjects.
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.
In the second year, you will typically take two 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, 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 research field.
Direct entry MRes/PhD (Track 2)
Admission to Track 2 is restricted to applicants who have demonstrated exceptional performance in an existing graduate qualification in economics. Any credit for coursework is given at the discretion of the selectors. These applications are automatically considered for Track 1 if the selectors decide that Track 2 is not appropriate. In practice almost all Track 2 entrants come from the LSE MSc programmes (see below).
MSc plus MRes/PhD (Track 2)
This route is recommended by selectors for applicants who would first need to take our core courses at MSc level before moving on to the advanced MRes/PhD core courses. Students take either the MSc Economics or the MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics in their first year. Both programmes are long-established and highly prestigious degrees in their own right.
Students on these MSc programmes have a conditional offer of admission to Track 2 of the MRes/PhD, subject to superior performance in the MSc exams. In the first year of the MRes/PhD (Track 2) you will take advanced core courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics and write a research paper. In the second year, you will take one field course. This means students on Track 2 have to complete one field course less for the programme compared to students on Track 1, effectively giving recognition to the options course already undertaken during the MSc. MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics graduates may also carry credits for their compulsory econometrics course.
Students interested in the MSc plus Track 2 route should apply either to the MSc Economics, application code L1U1 or the MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, application code L1UB. A place on one of these programmes will include a conditional offer of progression to Track 2 of the MRes/PhD, subject to the attainment of a distinction grade in the MSc.
Admission to these programmes is highly selective. Applicants are therefore advised to choose only the track best suited to their academic qualifications and to consider carefully their second choice selection.
All applicants must have taken the GRE General Test no more than five years before applying, and must include the test score with their application. Most successful MRes/PhD applicants have scores of 800/166 or more in the quantitative section.
All students are required to attend the Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics.
See also: econ.lse.ac.uk/study/programmes/apply/applyphd.html
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