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The Economics section of Cardiff Business School is responsible for the teaching and research in economics at Cardiff University.

In line with our Public Value ethos, our PhD in Economics is a 4-year full-time programme designed for highly qualified and motivated students who wish to research current and important problems and phenomena facing our economy and society.

Our PhD in Economics programme offers structured research training and supervision by subject experts. It begins with two years of rigorous coursework (MSc Economics (PhD Route) and MRes Advanced Economics), equipping you with the theoretical knowledge and analytical tools necessary to proceed to the research stage. Subject experts will guide and supervise you during your PhD programme.

In addition to your thesis, an oral examination will form an integral part of the assessment of your doctoral research.

We ensure that PhD students are fully integrated members of our research community. As a doctoral student, we will expect you to contribute fully to the advancement of knowledge within your chosen research area. Throughout your candidature, you will be active in presenting your work in the weekly PhD student workshop, which is supervised by faculty, and also in the weekly Economics Section internal workshop . You will also attend a third weekly Economics Section seminar , which is reserved mostly for invited external speakers.

As a PhD student, you will also have an opportunity to seek feedback and share ideas with academics, business practitioners and your postgraduate peers from Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor Universities in a collaborative and friendly atmosphere at our annual Welsh Postgraduate Research Conference (WPGRC) in Business, Management and Economics, jointly funded by Cardiff Business School and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Wales Doctoral Training Partnership .

Our PhD programme is a member of the Quantitative Economics Doctorate Network (QED) which provides PhD students with the opportunity of spending part of their time in any of the departments in the network. Each year, the QED network coordinates a conference for PhD students from the participating institutions providing students with the opportunity to present their work to an international audience, consisting of fellow PhD students as well as senior researchers.

Applications for self-funded opportunities close on 31 May each year.

Luís Pinheiro De Matos

“Besides the research component, the various teaching opportunities – as well as the excellent support for students to attend international conferences – have also helped me to get prepared and aim for a future research career in academia, in central banking or other international institutions.”

Luís Pinheiro De Matos, PhD Economics candidate

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time
Qualification PhD
Full-time duration 4 years (MSc Economics (PhD Route) + MRes Advanced Economics + PhD), 3 years (MRes Advanced Economics + PhD)
Start dates October

Our PhD Programme in Economics is a four-year research programme which has received ESRC recognition, with the route currently receiving ESRC studentship awards via the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

Both nationally and globally, additional training beyond the first year of postgraduate study is considered vital for research students in Economics. Thus, our programme involves two years of advanced course work, the first at MSc Economics (PhD Route) level in core modules, which cover a broad coverage of the main areas of economics and open up a wide range of research areas for potential study in subsequent stages of the programme.

In the second year, students complete the MRes Advanced Economics,  which familiarises students with research questions and methods from the most recent advances of economic theory and applications, aiming to prepare them to carry out research independently. The taught component of the MRes Advanced Economics requires advanced study in the core areas of advanced macro, micro and econometrics, plus a variety of fields including finance, labour, development, political economy, monetary, applied macroeconometrics, international trade and applied microeconomics.

Years three and four comprise the research (PhD) phase.

We have a robust process for monitoring the progress of our PhD students throughout the research (PhD) phase. Each year, there will be two progress reviews, one in winter and one in summer, to support PhD students and ensure their projects are on track to deliver the expected results.

Progression from the MSc Economics (PhD Route) to the MRes Advanced Economics, and from the MRes Advanced Economics to the PhD stage of the programme are not automatic and subject to specific criteria.

In order to progress to the MRes Advanced Economics from the MSc Economics (PhD Route), students are required to pass the taught stage, with an average mark of 60% or higher, and pass their Dissertation.

In order to progress to the PhD stage of the programme, students are required to pass the taught stage of the MRes Advanced Economics programme, with an average mark of 50% or higher, and pass their Research Proposal.

It is also possible for suitably qualified students to join the PhD in Economics programme at the MRes stage, though they will be required to follow a slightly different programme to those students progressing directly from the MSc Economics (PhD Route).


A list of academic staff that can provide supervision can be found on the Cardiff Business School website.


For the MSc Economics (PhD Route) and MRes Advanced Economics, students will be assessed via a series of examinations and assignments for the taught-modules and based on a MSc Dissertation and an MRes Research Proposal, each of maximum of 15,000 words.

Students will be assessed on a Thesis of a maximum of 80,000 words and a Viva Voce Examination for the PhD component of the programme.

The Economics Section at Cardiff Business School has a vibrant research community, and conducts impactful, socially relevant research across a range of economics themes.

We offer a full range of expertise, but the following areas are of particular strength:

  • macroeconomics
  • banking
  • finance
  • labour economics (including gender and disability)
  • regional studies and the Welsh economy
  • international development
  • microeconomics
  • game theory and behavioural economics
  • econometrics (both theory and applied).

To learn more about the research we do, browse our working papers and our individual faculty profiles .

PhD Research at Cardiff Business School

Browse through our PhD student profiles to find out about our students and their work.

To learn more about the PhD research at Cardiff Business School please explore the brochure of our Annual PhD Conference .

The PhD programme will prepare you either for a career as a leading academic scholar or professional researcher, or to excel in business practitioning or senior public policy decision making.

At Cardiff Business School, we are proud to see our PhD graduates occupying prestigious academic positions in top university departments across UK, Europe, US, South Africa, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, China, and India.

In addition, our PhD graduates hold high-level positions in international organisations, government ministries and central banks, think-tanks, and private-sector organisations, including major banks and consulting firms.

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans


Each year a range of funded PhD studentships are available via the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, Cardiff University, and a range of external sponsors.

See our latest PhD studentships and projects and find out more about other funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Students from the UK

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Applications for self-funded opportunities close on 31 May each year.

Before applying

  • Carefully read about our programme’s structure, entry criteria and funding opportunities.
  • Explore our research and faculty, and identify potential supervisors to include in your application.
  • Ensure that all documents required as part of your application are included.

How to apply

On this page please select:

  • Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Mode of Study: Full-time

Click on apply now and complete the on-line application procedure.

Application checklist

  • Detailed research proposal (max four pages) complete with title.
  • If English is not your first language, proficiency of English language certificate (IELTS etc.)
  • copies of both master's and bachelor's degree certificates and transcripts
  • two references
  • Academic CV.

It’s very important that you provide all the relevant information when you apply as incomplete applications will not be considered.

After your application

Applications will be reviewed by the PhD Office and the PhD Director. Applicants who do not meet the necessary entry requirements will be rejected outright and cannot re-apply for the same start date. Applications from candidates who meet the entry requirements will be shared with potential supervisors at Cardiff Business School. An appropriate provisional supervisory panel will be formed for any applicant who is made an offer on the programme.

Students applying to pursue a specialist PhD in Economics must have a first class or strong upper second-class honours degree, and a masters’ degree in Economics (or equivalent) with an average mark of at least 65%. Applications can also be considered from holders of a first-class undergraduate degree in Economics or similar subject with significant economic content.

As part of your application process you will have to submit a research proposal demonstrating an interest in pursuing in-depth research in an appropriate area.

It is also possible for suitably qualified students to join the PhD in Economics programme at the MRes stage, though they will be required to follow a slightly different programme to those students progressing directly from the MSc Economics (PhD Route).

The Economics section of Cardiff Business School offers a range of specialist master’s programmes , including the MSc Economics (stand-alone) for those without a sufficient background and wish to enhance their knowledge and understanding of economics.

English language requirements

For September 2023 entry IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or equivalent. You must submit your achieved and valid English language evidence with your application. Please note that English language tests must be no more than 2 years old at the start of the programme.

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

PhD Programme Office, Cardiff Business School

Administrative contact


Apply now
See the range of PhD studentships and projects currently available.

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