UCL Department of Economics


Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions on how to apply to our postgraduate programmes, information on fees, the academic year and exams.

Application Process | Offer Holders | On the Programme | Fees | Academic Year | Exams


Application Process

Is it possible to enrol directly on the MPhil/PhD Programme without having to do the MRes Programme?

The MRes (Master’s of Research) is the first year of the PhD Economics programme and is a compulsory and fully-integrated part of the PhD. An MRes is different to an MSc or MA degree in that it’s a Research programme not a Taught programme. If you already have a Master’s degree you’ll still need to completely the MRes year of the PhD. The MRes Programme is a compulsory part of the programme and all applicants must apply directly to the MRes Programme before they can apply to study the MPhil/PhD Programme.

What are UCL's English language requirements?

If your first language is not English you must be able to provide recent evidence that your spoken and written English is adequate for the programme you're applying for. You can find out more about English language requirements on the Prospective Students webpages, including which tests you should take. 

Are GRE scores a compulsory part to the application process?

The GRE is a required part of the application. Applicants other than those who have studied on, or who are currently enrolled on, the UCL MSc Economics programme must include their GRE General Test score report on their application.

How do I know if my application has been received?

You can track the progress of your application via the UCL Applicants Portal (log-in required).

Who is the Graduate Tutor?

Professor Ian Preston is the Graduate Tutor. He can be contacted at i.preston@ucl.ac.uk, or by telephone 020 7679 5853.

Who is the Programme Director?

Professor Fabien Postel-Vinay is the MRes/MPhil/PhD Programme Director. He can be contacted via email f.postel-vinay@ucl.ac.uk.

I am an intercollegiate student. How can I audit your postgraduate taught courses and or the skills development (non-credited workshops)?

To audit postgraduate taught courses:

  • First review the core courses in the MRes Programme and MSc-level courses offered via the course webpages and associated Moodle pages. Courses that are core to our MRes Economics programme run in Term 1 (October to December) and Term 2 (January to March).
  • MSc Economics courses are offered in Term 1 (October to December). Optional courses are offered in Term 2 (January to March).
  • Finally, refer your course request to the administrator for your academic programme of study and ask him or her to send your request to the Economics Department Programme Administrator, together with pdfs of your academic transcripts that demonstrate the required quantitative background for the course requested. The deadline for receipt of your programme administrator's request is the end of the second week of the academic year. 

To audit the skill development non-credited workshops, please read the information on our Curriculum page. 

Do I need to get in touch with a member of staff?

Although the Graduate School website states that all prospective applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry directly to the academic you are interested in working with, the Department of Economics does not require applicants to approach individual staff members at this stage.

Is a research proposal a required part of the application?

A research proposal is not compulsory. The only thing we need is a brief statement of research interests (to get a sense of what field you might end up in).

Offer Holders

How does the funding work in the MPhil /PhD years?

As an MPhil and PhD student, you may apply to offset your tuition fees with a Department scholarship if you’re unable to secure external funding.You can find more information of the Department funding page.

You can also look at UCL's Scholarship and Bursaries information page

Can you provide some guidance on living costs?

UCL offers guidance on your living costs, These are estimations and can be difficult to predict, as every student has different circumstances, but can be good guide to get you started. Click the links below to find out more: 

How much does it cost to study at UCL? 
Living costs

How can I get a visa?

The Admissions Office will contact you in mid-June to request confirmation of your passport and education history details. Once your details have been confirmed, the UCL Admissions Office will issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. Once you have received your CAS number, you will then be able to apply for your visa. Visit the UCL Immigration and Visas page for more information.

Can I defer my offer? 

UCL doesn't accept offers to defer. 

We will consider a request to defer only in the following exceptional circumstances:

  • The serious illness of the offer holder or the serious illness of a parent, guardian, partner or child of the offer holder.
  • The death of a parent, guardian, partner or child of the offer holder.
  • The need to take parental or adoption leave during the next 12 months.
  • Where the offer holder is directly and severely affected by a natural or human-made disaster (i.e., war, earthquakes or flooding).

If you wish to defer but do not fall into one of the above categories you are most welcome to apply for the next academic year once applications open, however, please note that applications will be considered anew and in competition with all other applications for that intake.

If you need to request a deferral for one of the above reasons you will need to do so on the offer page of your application portal.

What are the requirements to pass the MRes?

The award and progression rules are based upon UCL’s Academic Manual, Chapter 5.

To be awarded the MRes degree, you must: 

  • have no mark below 40 in any taught module 
  • fail with a mark of 40-49 no more than two of the four taught modules
  • pass the dissertation with a mark of at least 50 
  • achieve a final, weighted mark across the taught modules and the dissertation of at least 50
What are the requirements for entry to the MPhil PhD Programme? How many students are admitted to the MPhil?

Students registered on the MRes Economics Programme, must: 

  • pass all taught modules at first attempt with a mark of at least 50. 
  • have the support of their dissertation supervisor.
  • pass the dissertation with a mark of at least 60.

The majority of MRes students meet the criteria for the MPhil and are admitted, however, for any students who are not admitted, support is available to assist you in finding another PhD programme. 

What is the total duration of the programme?

The total duration is 1-year full time (MRes) +3 years’ full time (MPhil/PhD). Students will also undertake one year of Completing Research Status (CRS)

Is there a tuition offset waiting list for MRes applicants with pending offers?

We are highly unlikely to be able to revise our funding decisions for the MRes year. Therefore, you will need to find alternative means to fund your tuition fees and living expenses. You can find information on loans, scholarships and bursaries on the UCL Scholarship page.

Can students enrolled on the MRes programme undertake teaching?

Students enrolled on the MRes Economics Programme, are not permitted to undertake teaching. Students are expected to teach from the MPhil year.

What are the teaching requirements on the MPhil PhD Programme?

Students who are fully funded by the department will have a full teaching load. Students who have external funding may not be required to take on a full load. 

A full teaching load is 312 hours per annum, although this does depend on the modules taught, the level of teaching, marking and office hours required. You won't be required to deliver more than 70 contact hours per annum. 

Where can I find the tuition fee schedule?

Information about the MRes/ MPhil/PhD tuition fee schedules is available at at this link. 

How many students do you aim to have on the MRes Programme?

In 2020/21, we experienced a slightly larger cohort size of 42 students. However, in future years the department aims to have a cohort size of approximately 30 students. This target was met in 2021.

What happens in the MPhil year?

In your MPhil year, you'll start working on your thesis and undertaking your research work.

You'll also participate in a series of reading and presentations skill workshops. The aim of this set of workshops is to introduce 2nd year (MPhil) PhD students to the basic knowledge and skills required for conducting top level research in Economics, writing a PhD thesis, communicating PhD research to others, and interacting with the academic community. They also offer an introduction to some of the basic tasks, responsibilities and duties of being a PhD student and then, subsequently, an economist (academic or otherwise). Finally, the courses are intended to support students in the first stages of their written PhD work which leads to the transfer seminar, by providing structured advice and discussion, and by stimulating discussion among students about their own chosen area of work.  

Progression to the PhD Programme is done through upgrade seminars. Find out more about upgrade seminars.

I have a visa query, who can I contact?

We would recommend to contact the Visa Advice team for further guidance around obtaining the appropriate entry clearance documentation in order to enter the UK and to enrol.

Where can I find UCL’s term dates and closures?

Please see: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/life-ucl/term-dates-and-closures-2020-21

Please note that reading weeks marked in the above calendar don't apply for MRes or PhD students

Can I get in contact with some students on the Programme?

Our student representatives are incredibly helpful. If you would like to get in touch with a student representative, please contact Daniella Harper (daniella.harper@ucl.ac.uk).

I am an MRes offer holder with a disability or serious medical condition. Where should I register for any support I might need?

The Department of Economics wants all students to get the most out of the MRes year and to be supported from the outset. To that end, UCL has a dedicated group who provide support and information for students with pre-existing or long-term physical health and/or mental health conditions, disabilities, and specific learning difficulties. 

If you are living with a long term or pre-existing health condition and/or if you want to apply for Special Exam Arrangements, register with UCL’s Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Team now so that the appropriate arrangements are in place for you.

If you've claimed Extenuating Circumstances at past universities whenever health problems arose, please still go ahead and register your pre-existing health condition with UCL’s Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Team. UCL's Extenuating Circumstances policy distinguishes between:

a long-term or pre-existing health condition or disability that should be be registered with UCL’s Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing Team events that are unexpected and significantly disruptive and short-term and that are beyond your control, and which may constitute the basis for an Extenuating Circumstances claim. In the latter case, all four criteria must be demonstrated for a successful claim.


The UCL policy on reasonable adjustments and support for students is detailed in Section 5: Reasonable Adjustments of the Academic Manual.

Is it possible to get extra remuneration for teaching extra hours?

Unfortunately not, all Teaching Assistant contracts are based on a fixed number of hours in consultation with the Programme Director.

Can I change my status from full to part-time?

If you're studying with a Tier 4 student visa, you can only study on a full-time basis as this is part of the visa requirement.

If you aren't studying on a visa, please contact Daniella Harper (daniella.harper@ucl.ac.uk) with your request to study part-time. 

Can I be exempt from the English Language condition if I studied a previous degree in English?

Your education should have taken place in an English-speaking country to be considered, so for example, education in Italy would not count (even if it is taught in English).  You can see the list of countries that UCL considers to be English-speaking on the English Language requirements webpage.

On the Programme

How do you allocate supervisors?

On admission, you'll be paired with a principal supervisor. In the MPhil year of the PhD Programme, by default, you will be appointed a second supervisor but you should change this to a self-appointed second supervisor by the end of term one. This is a joint decision between the student and the first supervisor.

When will I receive a desk in the department?

Desk space will be offered in the Department at the start of the MPhil Programme.

When do I need to complete the exam entry form before submitting my thesis?

Ideally the exam entry form should be completed three to four months before you plan to hand-in your thesis. However, we can be flexible with this time limit and would simply request this form is given-in prior to the submission of your thesis. This form must also be completed before the examiner nomination form.

You can find out more about exam entry on the Research Assessment webpages.

When and where can I submit my thesis?

Your thesis must be handed in after the exam entry form has been logged, but can be submitted before the examiners have been appointed. If you are on Completing Research Status (CRS), you must submit before the end of the CRS deadline, otherwise you will incur a penalty.

It should be submitted to the Student Centre at the front of the Chadwick Building (opening hours Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm).

Do I have to submit the thesis in person?

No, if you use one of the binders listed on the UCL Current Student Research Degrees website they will usually deliver it on your behalf. Alternatively, you can post the thesis to the Student Centre or arrange for a third party to deliver it.

Can I submit my thesis without the examiners being approved?

Yes. You can submit your thesis, providing you have already submitted your Exam Entry Form.

Can my thesis be ring bound?

No. The thesis must be correctly bound. For information on binding see the Format, bind and submit your thesis: general guidance webpage. 

Is there a UCL Student Support Service?

Yes, please see the Student and Registry Services website.

I need a reference, who should I approach?

Your supervisor is the person to approach for a reference. If you require more than one referee, or you wish to use another academic as a referee, you can approach another member of staff to act for you but you must ensure that you approach the individual first before giving their name to ensure that they are willing to act as a reference.

How long does it take to get my PhD Certificate?

The students record office does not provide electronic degree certificates. They aim to post printed certificates within three months of your award but will email confirmation of your award as soon as all the conditions have been met and include a statement of award, which is formal confirmation you could give to future employers.

It may take your examiners a month or so to confirm the outcome of your exam and then you may need to make revisions (they allow three months for this). Your examiners have to check and confirm these and then you have to submit the final copies of your thesis before they make the award.    


Can you offer me information and advice on my fees?

The Student Finance Section of the Registry Office manages all fee enquiries. You can contact them by phone, +44 (0)20 3108 7284, email fees@ucl.ac.uk or visit the money section on the UCL Current Students website for further information.

Will I be charged an application fee for admission to the MRes programme?

Application fees do not apply to MRes or MPhil/PhD study, only Masters.


Academic Year

When does teaching start and what dates are the terms and holidays?

You can find details of term dates and holidays with the Academic Year chart.

What is the total duration of the programme?

1+ 3 years. The first year will be your MRes year and then the remaining three years are your MPhil/PhD Studies.

How many intakes do you have each year?

Our only intake is in September.


Do you provide past exam papers and solutions?

Past exam papers are available from the Library.

What happens if I am ill during the Exam Period?

If circumstances have arisen that are unexpected, significantly disruptive, and beyond your control and which may affect  your performance in, your ability to attempt, complete or complete on time final examinations, summative essays, or the dissertation, follow the Extenuating Circumstances Regulations.