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Economics (MPhil / PhD)

The MPhil/PhD in Economics will train you to conduct research of a high academic standard and to make original contributions to the subject. The degree involves both coursework and research training, but its major component is the preparation of a substantial research thesis. The thesis should demonstrate a sound understanding of the main issues in the area and add to existing knowledge.

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

Economics at Birkbeck has acquired an excellent reputation, not only for the quality of its research but also for the quality of its training. The Treasury, the Bank of England and many other employers hire us to train their staff. We take students who are determined to succeed and are prepared to undergo the rigours of first-class training, whether they are studying full-time or part-time.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), more than half of our research outputs in Economics were ranked world-leading or internationally excellent.

Highlights

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    An MSc in economics/finance or a related quantitative subject, with Distinction or a good pass.

    Applicants should also submit a research proposal which is in line with the research interests of the Department.

    Qualities such as good time management and the ability to cope under pressure are vital.

    A strong background in quantitative methods is required.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £2296 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £4327 pa
    Part-time international students: £6375 pa
    Full-time international students: £12625 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Fees and finance

    From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

    The School of Business, Economics and Informatics attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. Find out more about research funding opportunities at Birkbeck.

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    New full-time MPhil/PhD students are required to attend a series of lectures and research workshops, covering topics that are at the cutting edge of recent developments in economic theory and methodology. You also select option classes from the MSc Economics, MSc Financial Economics or MSc Finance at Birkbeck or UCL. After completing coursework, you proceed to write a PhD dissertation.

    Coursework is not normally compulsory for part-time MPhil/PhD students. However, if deficiencies in previous training are identified, you may be required to undertake suitable coursework.

    Read more about our vibrant research culture.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    Follow these steps to apply to an MPhil/PhD research degree at Birkbeck:

    1. Check that you meet the entry requirements, including English language requirements, as described on this page.

    2. Find a potential supervisor for your MPhil/PhD research. You can look at the Find a Supervisor area on this page for an overview, or search our Experts’ Database or browse our staff pages for more in-depth information

    3. Contact the academic member of staff - or the department they teach in - for an informal discussion about your research interests and to establish if they are willing and able to supervise your research. (Please note: finding a potential supervisor does not guarantee admission to the research degree, as this decision is made using your whole application.) Find out more about the supervisory relationship and how your supervisor will support your research.

    4. Draft a research proposal. This needs to demonstrate your knowledge of the field, the specific research questions you wish to pursue, and how your ideas will lead to the creation of new knowledge and understanding. Find out more about writing a research proposal.

    5. Apply directly to Birkbeck, using the online application link on this page. All research students are initially registered on an MPhil and then upgrade to a PhD after making sufficient progress.

    Find out more about the application process, writing a research proposal and the timeframe

    Application deadlines and interviews

    You can apply at any time for study starting in January, April or October. We need to receive your supporting documents (ie your transcript, two academic references and research proposal) before we can proceed with your application.

    If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

  • Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A crucial factor when applying for postgraduate study in economics is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.

    Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff: