Economics PhD programme

Our PhD in Economics is designed to train students for a rewarding career in economic research. With our 5-year programme, students receive rigorous training and sufficient time for producing original research.

Admission to the PhD programme is highly competitive as we typically only admit roughly 8-10 students per year, all of whom are usually funded. We place a high value on attracting the best minds, who will become valued members of our active research environment. Our students typically go on to teaching and research careers in academia, but also to positions in government, research institutions or the private sector.

Full Economics PhD course profile


We have launched a new five-year PhD programme, which consists of two years of coursework, followed by three years of independent research. Our new programme structure is aligned with that of top institutions in the US and the UK, providing students with rigorous advanced training and sufficient time for producing independent research. Furthermore, our training centre is part of the ESRC's accredited North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP).

Year 1

Over the first two semesters of year one, students take eight courses, including compulsory units in macroeconomics, microeconomics, econometrics and mathematics. In the summer months, students then complete a dissertation, which is the first step towards the preparation of an eventual PhD thesis.

The first year of the programme is equivalent to an MSc in economics. Students with a high level of performance in an equivalent degree can enter directly into year two of the programme.

Year 2

In year two, students take advanced PhD-level courses. All students must take core units in macroeconomics, microeconomics, econometrics and research skills. Students must also choose one additional field course. Students may also be allowed to take additional units from one of our partner institutions within the NWSSDTP, from other departments at Manchester, or one of our advanced-level MSc units. There is also the option of taking units in subsequent years.

In year two, students also prepare a detailed research proposal. Since the research questions described in this proposal and the approach to addressing these questions are a significant part of the training in year two, students are advised to start working on the research proposal as soon as possible.

Year 3 and beyond

After finishing their coursework, students have three years of independent research, with a possibility of a sixth year (for writing up). In this phase, students will work on completing their job market paper, as well as other papers that will be part of their PhD thesis. Students will participate in the PhD conferences, which consists of both the internal conference and the NWSSDTP conference. Students are also expected to attend regularly research seminars in their field and the Manchester Economic Seminar series.

It is expected that during these three years, students will produce three pieces of substantive work, at least two of publishable quality. Submission to at least one international conference in economics is also expected and highly recommended.

In addition, students must present their work at least once in a weekly seminar related to their research area. PhD students also organise a weekly seminar series, and students are expected to attend and present in this seminar series as well.


Normally, a student's supervisory team will consist of a main supervisor and a co-supervisor. Students are assigned a supervisory team upon entry into the programme, regardless of point of entry (i.e., year 1 or year 2).

When applying to our PhD programme, students are advised to identify potential supervisors. Details on recent publications, ongoing projects and research interests are all available on our academics' profiles. Although guarantees cannot be made, we will do our best to match your area of research to the most suitable supervisor.

Your potential supervisor should be able to give you advice on developing your research proposal, which must be included with your application to the programme.


Almost all of our students receive some form of funding. All of our applicants will be considered for scholarships from the University and there is also the possibility to compete for ESRC funding. To search for current funding opportunities, please use our funding database search tool.


We view teaching experience as an integral part of the PhD programme. Therefore, PhD students are provided the opportunity to work as Graduate Teaching Assistants (which is paid), beginning in their second year.


In recent years, some of our students have completed internships at the European Central Bank and the Bank of England during the course of their studies.

The department provides resources to support students going on the job market. This includes practice interview sessions, as well as introductory talks on the European and American academic job markets. These talks are aimed towards year-five PhD students, but are open to all students.

In recent years, our PhD students have obtained research positions at universities, central banks and policy institutions. Please see a list of our recent placements.

How to apply

Apply to the Economics PhD programme using the university's online application system.