About the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Economics

UNSW’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Economics, is offered by one of the world's top institutions in Economics (ranked 36th in QS Subject Rankings (2022), and will equip you with the expertise needed to become a globally focused and socially engaged researcher. 

You’ll be joining a cohort of high-achieving research students in tackling modern-day challenges at the forefront of economics, working alongside leaders in the field. This is your opportunity to become integrated into the UNSW Business School’s community of scholars.

The program is comprised of two components. You’ll begin by undertaking rigorous coursework covering microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, econometrics and applied economic analysis. 

As part of your doctoral program, you’ll also be involved in research projects even from an early stage. This research training will equip you with the skills required to identify, analyse and solve problems in the field. 

You’ll then pursue full-time research under the supervision of high-profile UNSW academics, culminating in a doctoral thesis. Your PhD thesis will allow you to showcase your research skills, and enable you to make an original contribution to the field of Economics. There will also be exciting opportunities throughout to interact with industry leaders, and to develop your teaching portfolio.

Before formally applying or contacting potential supervisors, please read "Instructions for Applicants" (below), and send the required material to econ.hdr@unsw.edu.au by July 15th for an initial consultation and wait for instructions for the next step of application (via a follow-up email from us). 

PhD program structure

Stream 1: 1 year of Masters Coursework + 4 year PhD Program (Fully Funded for coursework and PhD)

Key Information:

  • 1 year of Masters Coursework + 4 year PhD Program (Fully Funded both for coursework and PhD)
  • The program starts in Term 1 (early-mid February)
  • No part-time option is available

Year One: Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies (MPDBS)

Year one will equip you with the skills required to identify, analyse and solve problems in the field, while helping you formulate your research agenda and identify potential thesis supervisors for the PhD component of the program. 

You will undertake coursework covering microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, econometrics and applied economic analysis. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop practical research skills by assisting in research projects. Upon successful completion of the first year, you’ll be awarded a Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies. 

A brief overview of the first year is presented below. Please visit the UNSW Handbook for full course structure details.

Year Two: Specialised Coursework and Identification of Thesis Topic

Year two will help you in further developing skills specialized towards dealing with the challenges relevant to your research topic. You’ll continue in the Economics stream with a further year of advanced coursework. 

You’ll choose up to eight additional research courses from a range of electives in consultation with your supervisor and PGRC, with the opportunity to take subjects outside of your specialised discipline. In year two, you’ll also be identifying your thesis topic with the aid of your supervisor. 

You’ll engage in literature review and research design, and present your research proposal to the School of Economics at the end of the year.

Years Three – Five: Original Research and Your Doctoral Thesis

In the final three years of the program, you will be focused on conducting full-time research and completing your doctoral thesis. 

This is your opportunity to address some of the biggest challenges at the frontier of Economics and make a significant contribution to the field. Your research will offer new ways of critical thinking and withstand critical analysis from expert researchers in the area.

 

Stream 2: Direct Entry into the 4 year PhD Program

Key Information:

  • Direct Entry into the 4 year PhD Program
  • Note: requires outside scholarship (or ARC Funding Support from your selected supervisor) AND a degree in Economics with research component (e.g., First-class Honours or Masters in Economics) 
  • You are expected to start in Term 1 (early-mid February)
  • A part-time option may be available (subject to approval)

Year One: Coursework and Identification of Thesis Topic

Year one will equip you with skills required to identify, analyse and solve problems relevant to your research topic.

You’ll choose up to eight research courses from a range of electives in consultation with your supervisor and PGRC, with an opportunity to take subjects outside of your specialised discipline.

These will include the four core courses listed below (unless you are exempted from taking them). You’ll also be identifying your thesis topic with the aid of your supervisor.

You’ll engage in literature review and research design, and present your research proposal to the School of Economics at the end of the year. 

Years Two – Four: Original Research and Your Doctoral Thesis

In the final three years of the program, you will be focused on conducting full-time research and completing your doctoral thesis.

This is your opportunity to address some of the biggest challenges at the frontier of Economics and make a significant contribution to the field.

Your research will offer new ways of critical thinking and withstand critical analysis from expert researchers in the area.

Instructions for Applicants

Before formally applying or contacting potential supervisors, please send the following material to econ.hdr@unsw.edu.au by July 15th for an initial consultation and wait for instructions for the next step of application (via a follow-up email from us). 

  • Subject: MPDBS Application

    Main Body:

    1. Your name, citizenship, and whether you are a PR of Australia
    2. Your degree, institution and year of undertaking prior study
    3. List of advanced economics, math and statistics courses taken and their grades
    4. Names of your letter writers and their contact details (e.g. affiliation, title, email)
    5. Name(s) of academics you wish to work with.
    6. Three to five academic papers you have recently read and relevant for your research interest
    7. Your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Marks for each section (if available)

    Attachments: (in PDF):

    1. CV
    2. Academic transcripts
    3. Research Proposal/Statement of Purpose
  • Subject: Direct Entry PhD Application

    Main Body:

    1. Your name, citizenship, and whether you are a PR of Australia
    2. Your degree, institution and year of undertaking prior study
    3. List of advanced economics, math and statistics courses taken and their grades
    4. Names of your letter writers and their contact details (e.g. affiliation, title, email)
    5. Name(s) of academics you wish to work with.
    6. Three to five academic papers you have recently read and relevant for your research interest
    7. A description of your Honours/Master thesis
    8. Your funding source: Outside scholarship or plan to seek support from the supervisor
    9. Your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Marks for each section (if available)

    Attachments: (in PDF):

    1. CV
    2. Academic transcripts
    3. Research Proposal/Statement of Purpose
    4. Copy of Honours/Master thesis

Placement

    • University of Bologna, Department of Economics, Research Fellow
    • The National University of Singapore, Asia Competitiveness Institute, Research Fellow
    • Monash University, Centre for Global Business, Research Fellow
    • University of Oxford, Magdalen College, Research Fellow, then ETH Zurich, Department of Management, Technology and Economics, Assistant Professor
    • Shenzhen Research Institute of Big Data, Research Fellow
    • Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Research Fellow
    • The University of Melbourne, School of Mathematics and Statistics (Lecturer)
    • University of New South Wales, CEPAR, Research Fellow
    • University of Sydney, School of Economics, Research Fellow
    • Wuhan University, Economics and Management School, Assistant Professor
    • Australian National University, ANU College of Business and Economics, Associate Lecturer
    • East China University of Science and Technology, School of Business, Lecturer
    • University of Toronto, Department of Economics, Research Fellow
    • South China Normal University, School of Economics and Management, Lecturer
    • University of Sydney, Research Fellow, then University of Technological Sydney, Economics Discipline, Chancellor's Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
    • University of Geneva, Faculty of History, Economics and Society, Research Fellow, then South Mediterranean University, Mediterranean School of Business, Assistant Professor
    • Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, School of Public Administration, Associate Professor
    • International University of Japan, Graduate School of International Relations, Assistant Professor
    • University of New South Wales, School of Economics, Research Fellow
    • University of New South Wales, CEPAR, Research Fellow
    • Shanghai Tech University, School of Entrepreneurship and Management, Assistant Professor
    • University of New South Wales, School of Economics, Research Fellow
    • University of Bath, Department of Economics, Lecturer
    • University of New South Wales, CEPAR, Research Fellow
    • Sun-yat Sen University, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor 
    • University of Technology Sydney, Research Fellow, then Macquarie University, Centre for the Health Economy, Honorary Research Fellow
    • Zurich University of Applied Sciences, ZHAW, Research Fellow
    • Jinan University, Institute for Economic and Social Research, Assistant Professor
    • University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Research Fellow
    • Curtin University, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Lecturer, then Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School, Lecturer
    • University of Technology Sydney, CHERE, Research Fellow
    • University of Peradeniya, Department of Agricultural Economics and Business Management, Professor
    • University of Technology Sydney, CHERE, Research Fellow
    • University of Technology Sydney, CHERE, Senior Research Fellow
    • Monash University, Centre for Health Economics, Research Fellow
    • Monash University, Monash Business School, Research Fellow
    • UNSW, School of Economics, Research Fellow
    • Durham University, Business School, Lecturer
    • UCL Australia, Faculty of Engineering Science, Lecturer
    • Shandong University, School of Economics, Assistant Professor
    • University of Sydney, Charles Perkins Centre, Research Fellow
    • University of Mannheim, Department of Economics, Research Fellow, then Monash University, School of Economics, Lecturer
    • University of Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, Lecturer
    • City University of London, Department of Economics, Lecturer
    • Shangdong University, School of Economics, Lecturer
    • University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Research Fellow
    • Fukushima University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Associate Professor
  • Your PhD will set you on the path to a career in a premier research institution, anywhere in the world. Throughout your research degree, you’ll also have many opportunities to develop your teaching portfolio.

    Beyond academia, there’s also significant demand in the private and public sectors for people with deep knowledge and sound research and analytical skills*.

    Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in academia, or take your research skills out to industry, a PhD in Economics from UNSW will get you there.

    * Source: 2019 Advancing Australia’s Knowledge Economy Report

Degree type

Postgraduate Research

Commencing terms

Term 1 – February

Program code

1540

Delivery mode

On Campus

Domestic / International

Domestic

International

Accreditation