UCL Department of Economics





UCL's Department of Economics is one of Europe's leading centres for research in Economics. It is one of the few economics departments in the UK to be awarded the top grade in all three Research Assessment Exercises.

Job Market

Job Market

In recent years PhD graduates and post-doctoral researchers from the Department of Economics have gone on to positions in many universities and policy institutions.  The universities include Princeton, Stanford, Stockholm, UBC, University of Chicago and University of Mannheim among many others. Many of our students also achieve positions within policy institutions such as EBRD, IFS, McKinsey and RAND. Visit the Job Market page to find out more about past placements and careers of recent graduates.

Drayton House


The doctoral programme at UCL aims to train economists to conduct research of high academic merit and to make original contributions to the subject. The department  has a lively and active research environment, with a strong emphasis on team research, based around a number of major research groups and centres. With close ties to several research centres, students have the opportunity to be surrounded by some of the best researchers in their field.


The MRes/MPhil/PhD programme is designed as a five-year sequence (full time) structured as follows:

1. MRes (one year): taught courses followed by a three-month dissertation project

2. MPhil (one year): first year of independent PhD research, supported by mandatory research training and optional skills development courses

3. PhD (normally three years): independent PhD research, supported by optional skills development courses

MRes Structure

Throughout Terms 1 and 2, you will study the following four core courses:

ECON0107: Macroeconomics
ECON0106: Microeconomics
ECON0108: Econometrics
ECON0XXX: Real Analysis and Probability with Economic Applications

In Term 3 and throughout the Summer, you will be working on your MRes dissertation project (ECON0078), a piece of independent research that may be seen as your first step towards the preparation of your MPhil upgrade and eventual PhD thesis (see below).

MPhil/PhD Structure

MPhil Programme: Year OneYou will start working on your thesis and undertaking your research work.  You will also be required to attend a reading and presentation workshop. At the end of this workshop you will make your first presentation of your research topic. 
A second seminar in September is the upgrade seminar in which you will give a presentation of your own research work. At the end of this seminar faculty members decide about your upgrade from MPhil to PhD status.
PhD Programme: Year TwoYou will continue to work on your thesis with the aim of taking up Completing Research Status (CRS) towards the end of your third year.
PhD Programme: Year Three

This is the year where you should be working on your job market paper. By the end of your third year you will be expected to take up Completing Research Status (CRS). 

The following link deals with the central administration of the research degree examination process. It is important that you take the time to digest the information.

The submission of the original exam entry form and the nomination of examiners form should be completed and handed to Daniella Harper, Postgraduate Administrator, for processing.
Once you receive notification from registry that your viva can go ahead, you should communicate this information to Daniella Harper, who will assist you in booking a suitable venue.

The upgrade

The upgrade seminar is a formal assessment, which takes place as a viva conducted by an examining panel that assess a written report and your defense of it. The upgrade panel is usually the second supervisor, who chairs the viva, plus at least two other academics. Find out more about the upgrade here.

Skills development during the MPhil/PhD

Each year of the MPhil/PhD programme, you will have the choice to attend one or more of the following optional modules (the list is subject to changes and additions):

ECON0081 - Advanced Macro: Models with Heterogeneous Agents

ECON0082 - Public Economics

ECON0084 – Optimal Policy and Expectations

ECON0085 - Applied Job Search Models and Structural Analysis of Individual Wage  Data

ECON0086 - Topics in Applied Economics

ECON0088 – Empirical Methods for the Study of the Labour Market

ECON0089 - Topics in Labour Economics

ECON0112 - Experimental Economics

Those modules are optional and do not include an assessment that counts toward the MPhil or PhD degrees. However, the department expects that you will attend one or two of those modules in each year.

A wealth of additional (usually shorter) optional skills development courses are offered by centres with which the department has close ties, notably Cemmap. Details of those vary from year to year, but there is always a lot to choose from.



Information on the scholarships and other opportunities for financial assistance are available here. Further information on funding your degree may be found on the UCL Scholarships page.

How to apply

The application deadline for September 2020 entry is 13 Jan 2020.

For admission to the research degree programme, applicants should have, or expect to obtain before entry, a suitable Master's degree in Economics or a related subject and must demonstrate that they are qualified to proceed to research work. Your application will be rejected if you do not have such a masters degree.

The Research office is often very busy answering student queries. To save you time and ensure that you get an answer to your question as quickly as possible, please read the 'How to apply' page before emailing or contacting the office.