group of students in a lecture

PhD Programme

Why study with us?

As one of the largest Economic History departments in the world we offer unusually broad teaching and research expertise to our doctoral students. We invite applications from those wishing to carry out research within the wide spectrum of economic history. Our faculty's own research interests range from the medieval period to the current century, from Latin America to China via Africa and Europe, from questions about social well-being to ones on technology and finance, and from the history of economic ideas to the measurement of past human development and explanations for global trade patterns.

The major academic goal of a research student in the department is, of course, the researching and writing of a thesis, but members of our doctoral programme achieve much more than this. During the programme students participate in departmental workshops and other seminars held within the University of London and later at conferences and seminars at other universities.

We expect our students to gain a broad knowledge of the subject from graduate level course-work in the first year which complements the deeper knowledge gained from intense thesis research. Many of our research students also take the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience on undergraduate courses. Graduates go into a wide variety of careers, including university teaching and research posts, as well as jobs at international economic agencies such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.  

Who should apply?

Entrants to our graduate research programme have usually completed a Master's degree in economic history, but we also accept applications from those with a background in a related subject, for example, in history or one of the social sciences. 

Students are also accepted for the so-called 1+3 programme, a 1 year MSc followed by a 3-year research programme. 

Current Thesis Topics

Current topics include re-evaluating the role of the partnership in 19th century British trading firms in India; Ottoman Inheritance Inventories; British Perceptions of Japan’s Economy;  the relationship between government and banks in 1970s Britain; Asian foreign investment in Africa: the absence of Chinese economic transformation during 16th - 18th century; commercial bank mortgage lending and the U.S. Great Depression, 1913-1933; the governance structure of Chinese Shanxi Piaohao in the late 19th century; the evolution of businessgroups in Colombia; Quakers and institutional change in the early modern Atlantic. 

Methodological training

First year research students are required to take EH520 Approaches to Economic History, and are strongly advised to attend the induction programme provided by the Methodology Institute. Students are also required to take EH401 and EH402, the core modules for MSc Economic History (Research) unless they have already taken this MSc. Supervisors may require students in their first or subsequent  years of study to take other relevant methodological courses (including quantitative methods) provided by the Methodology Institute or the Institute of Historical Research, or other skills training courses as required for their thesis topic. 

Courses and seminars

All research students are required to attend and participate in the bi-weekly EH590 Thesis Workshop in Economic History. Supervisors may require the attendance of students at other relevant research seminars at LSE or elsewhere within the University of London. Students considered to lack appropriate knowledge of substantive areas of economic history may be required to take and pass one or more relevant MSc courses as a condition of acceptance.

Admission requirements

Students are normally required to have passed a first degree at at least upper second class level or equivalent, and to have taken and passed at an adequate level a Masters degree in a relevant area of history or social science

Part-time students

The department requires students to register full-time in their first year of MPhil/PhD study, but permits part-time registration from the second or subsequent years.  Students who transfer to part-time registration are expected to submit work to the Graduate Review Committee towards the end of their third year for a decision about upgrading from MPhil to PhD.


All research students are able to apply for Graduate Research Studentships offered by the school.  EU students are also able to apply for ESRC studentships.  These provide fees and subsistence for British Students, and fees only for students from other EU member countries.  Application have to be made by the end of April each year. 

Students should consult the School's Financial Support Office to identify funding for which they are eligible. 

PhD Destinations

Click below to see where our PhD students work after graduating.

Academic Destinations

Gonville and Caius, University of Cambridge (lecturer)

Duke University (HOPE center fellow)

Fudan University (post-doctoral fellow)

EHS/ IHR (Postan post-doctoral fellow)

University of Pennsylvania (post-doctoral fellow)

Anadolu University (researcher)

Renmin University (assistant professor)

Universitat de Barcelona (visiting professor)

St. Andrew’s University (assistant professor)

Nuffield College, University of Oxford (post-doctoral prize fellow)

Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Humbolt University (post-doctoral fellow)

LSE (visiting fellow)

Queen’s University Belfast (Research affiliate)

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

European University Institute (Max Weber post-doctoral fellow)

LSE (ESRC post-doctoral fellow)

University of Swansea (lecturer)

IFZ, Berlin (scientific associate)

Harran Universitesi (lecturer)

Bates College (visiting professor)

LSE (teaching fellow)

Ritsumeikan University (assistant professor)

University of Manchester (Presidential fellow)

NYU Shanghai (assistant professor)

Wolfson College, University of Cambridge

University of Manitoba (assistant professor)

University of Manchester (lecturer)

Wadham College, University of Oxford (JRF)

Sun Yat-Sen University (lecturer)

University of Sussex (research fellow)

Queen’s University Belfast (lecturer)

Chukalongkorn University (lecturer)

University of Bremen

Osaka Sangyo University (associate professor)

Stellenbosch University (postdoctoral fellow)

Private and public sector organisations



Point Break Capital, Brazil


Raiffeisen Bank International AG

Legatum Institute, London


Otto, Germany

Neptune investment management

World Bank Group (consultant)

BDO, Germany

Independent consultant



Contact us


Professor Sara Horrell +44 (0)20 7955 7075

Ms Tracy Keefe +44 (0)20 7955 7860


Professor Sara Horrell, Doctoral Programme Director

Tracy Keefe, PhD Programme Manager


Department of Economic History, London School of Economics