About the course
For the first time, the Department of Economics is offering an integrated DPhil (PhD) in Economics. Students admitted to the joint MPhil + DPhil in Economics will first complete the two-year MPhil in Economics and then (subject to satisfactorily passing) automatically progress to the three- to four-year DPhil in Economics.
If you intend on studying the MPhil followed by the DPhil in Economics at Oxford, and if you have had substantial economics training and exceptional results in your prior studies, this is the right programme for you. Automatically progressing from MPhil to DPhil (subject to satisfactorily passing) reduces the uncertainty regarding the transition from MPhil to DPhil.
A DPhil at Oxford is the equivalent to a PhD at most other institutions. The structure of the MPhil + DPhil programme is similar to that of the integrated five-year PhD (sometimes called MRes-PhD) at leading economics graduate schools worldwide.
The vast majority of DPhil Economics students will study the combined MPhil + DPhil programme, entering at one of two points in time.
- Applying directly to the MPhil + DPhil: The department intends to admit around half of the DPhil in Economics cohort via the MPhil + DPhil programme.
- Applying to the MPhil + DPhil midway through the MPhil: You may begin with the standalone MPhil and then apply to transfer to the MPhil + DPhil during the second year of the MPhil. The department intends to admit around half of the DPhil cohort in this second way.
Students who have experience in graduate work in economics or related fields, or for example have completed the MSc in Economics for Development may wish to apply directly to the DPhil in Economics.
MPhil + DPhil students will join one or more of the department's research groups, becoming part of a vibrant educational research community with an active set of doctoral student-led events, seminars and conferences. You will have opportunities to present your work at a variety of seminars and sessions in the department.
To enable the new joint programme to offer more rigour and exposure to the research frontier for future DPhil students, the department has made the MPhil programme more flexible.
The first year of the programme starts with a non-examined preparatory course in mathematical methods. The first two terms of the academic year focus on three compulsory courses in the central areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. The three courses are offered on two levels. Though most MPhil students will take the courses on the "core" level, MPhil + DPhil students will be expected to take one or more of the three courses at the "advanced" level in the first year and to take additional advanced courses in the second year. In the third term of the first year, you will choose from two entirely new courses in Empirical Research Methods and Advanced Maths. These courses will provide the specialised skills needed for academic or non-academic careers in our data-rich world and the technical tools for research in economics.
In the second year, you will take four option courses. The option courses build on the first-year training and provide deeper and broader training in your areas of interest. You can take advanced-level courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, econometrics and empirical research methods covering recent developments in theory and analytical techniques. Other option courses are designed to develop knowledge and understanding of theory, empirical techniques and debates within specialist fields of economics. These include behavioural economics, development economics, economic history, financial economics, international trade, labour economics and public economics.
The second important component of the second year is the required thesis, supervised by a member of the department.
In order to progress to the DPhil element of this course, you will be required to satisfactorily pass the MPhil element first.
You will then start the DPhil as Probationer Research Student (PRS). You will take additional courses from the MPhil menu to deepen and broaden your economic training, while starting to work on your first research project. The PRS status allows for a smooth transition from learning about economic research to producing new economic insights yourself.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Economics and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Economics.
The three compulsory core courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics are examined before the start of the third term of the first year of the MPhil.
The required thesis is an important component of the second year of the MPhil, and is supervised by a member of the department. The thesis is up to 20,000 words in length and is usually expected to contain some original research. It can be incorporated into a DPhil thesis.
You will receive numerical grades for your thesis and for each option course. Based on these grades and those for the first year courses, the examiners may award an overall pass grade, a pass with merit or a pass with distinction for the course. There is a prize for the best thesis and a prize for the best overall performance in written papers.
Once you have satisfactorily passed and completed the MPhil component, you will be admitted to the DPhil as Probationer Research Student. You are first required to transfer to DPhil status. The Transfer of Status requires the completion of the Qualifying Examinations, necessary coursework, and an interview with two assessors appointed by the department, at which you will present an outline of your proposed thesis and a piece of written work relevant to the thesis. The transfer is normally expected to be completed by the end of the fourth term, and no later than six terms from admission to Probationer Research Student status.
Upon a successful transfer to DPhil status, you will be required to confirm your DPhil status no later than nine terms after admission to Probationer Research Student status. Candidates for Confirmation of Status are required to present a research paper at a workshop or seminar, present a detailed outline of the complete thesis and some complete draft chapters, and will be interviewed by an assessor.
The award of the DPhil degree is based on a thesis of not more than 100,000 words in length. It should constitute a significant and substantial piece of research, of a kind which might reasonably be expected of a diligent and competent student in three years of full-time study. The maximum time allowed for completion of the DPhil degree is four years.
The interests and strengths of the department's doctoral students are many and diverse and this is reflected in the positions they take up after graduation: most take up tenure track or postdoc positions in academia; others find employment in government, international organisations, or the private sector. The international reputation of Oxford’s doctoral programme also means that its DPhil graduates can be found making a contribution in many different parts of the world.
The department recognises the importance of helping doctoral students find suitable employment and its placement efforts are directed by a senior member of the faculty. The department provides advice and help on all aspects of the job application process, including limited financial assistance to cover expenses.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
Other courses you may wish to consider
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in economics.
Applicants must demonstrate a strong quantitative preparation.
Candidates with a first degree in another related discipline should demonstrate how their academic background prepares them for graduate study in economics.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, a cumulative GPA sought of at least 3.7 out of 4.0 is expected.
GRE General Test scores
If you do not hold, or will not shortly hold, a UK undergraduate degree, you must submit the results of a GRE Test obtained within the last 5 years. Applicants who hold, or will shortly hold, a UK undergraduate degree are encouraged to submit GRE Test results. Entrance is very competitive, and most successful applicants have a GRE score of at least 160 for verbal, 164 for quantitative and 4.5 for analytical. Applicants with a UK undergraduate degree who also hold a GRE test obtained within the last five years can submit it as part of their application form, although this is not a requirement.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
All candidates are expected to have working knowledge in one programming language (of the candidate’s choice) at the start of the MPhil. The department will provide advice to accepted candidates on how to acquire such knowledge.
Publications are not expected.
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
English language requirement
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
†Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
With more than 50 academics in permanent posts and 30+ postdoctoral research fellows, the Economics department is a large and vibrant international community of researchers. In the 2014 REF, Oxford was ranked first in terms of overall research ‘power’, with more ‘world-leading’ research than any other UK institution.
The department hosts three major research centres: Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE); the Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource-Rich Economies (OXCARRE) and INET programme on Economic Modelling (EMOD). These are internationally recognised as hubs for innovative research and reach out to the academic and policy-making communities world-wide through their seminars, workshops and annual conferences.
Within the department, specialised research groups play a key role in bringing together faculty and graduate students working in particular sub-fields, supporting and mentoring our doctoral students and postdoctoral research fellows, and promoting research of the highest international standard. The research groups provide an important interface between the research centres and the department, for example econometrics and EMOD; development economics and CSAE. Other research groups facilitate collaboration across departments, as in the case of the economic history group and economic historians in the Faculty of History. Each research group runs a regular seminar series with external presenters, plus a more informal workshop in which members, including DPhil students, present their research in progress.
Students are able to access a range of internship programmes through the University Careers Office as well as the RCUK Policy Internship scheme for ESRC-funded students. In addition, the Bank of England and Goldman Sachs each provide a short summer internship for a doctoral student specialising in macroeconomics or finance and the Department of Economics is accredited by the Asian Development Bank to nominate candidates for their internship programme. In recent cohorts, students have benefited from an internship with organisations including the EBRD, European Central Bank, UK Home Office, as well as those identified above.
The Department of Economics is located in the Manor Road Building in central Oxford, alongside the Department of Politics and International Relations. The department contains faculty offices and open-plan workspaces for DPhil students and postdoctoral research, with access to Wi-Fi and print services. A BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy is in place within the Economics department, enabling you to access data shares, printing, software and for some, a full windows desktop via the department's Virtual Desktop environment. A full list and description of the services provided can be found by searching for BYOD on the Manor Road IT team website. The Manor Road IT team support all IT-related infrastructure and systems within the department, including desktops, laptops and tablets, and all associated peripherals (printers, scanners, webcams etc) and software provision.
The Manor Road Building also houses the Bodleian Social Sciences Library, a first-class research library open to all members of the University. It possesses approximately 350,000 books and more than 2,000 periodicals on open shelves, and over 48,000 e-journals and 1,000 online databases can be accessed 24/7. Graduate teaching and most seminars take place within the Manor Road Building, where there is also a cafeteria and common room for students' use.
The University expects to be able to offer up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2021-22. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources. Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the institute's website:
Annual fees for entry in 2021-22
During the first 2 years of the course you will be charged course fees at the MPhil in Economics fee rate. The fees for the first year are shown in the table below.
Annual MPhil in Economics (first year) fees for the 2021-22 academic year
Annual Course fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|Overseas (including EU)||£24,450|
In each subsequent year, you will be charged course fees at the relevant DPhil in Economics fee rate for that year of study. For an indication of costs, the table below shows the annual full-time DPhil course fees for the 2021-22 academic year.
Annual DPhil in Economics fees for study in the 2021-22 academic year
Annual Course fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|Overseas (including EU)||£22,410|
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.
There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs. However, please note that, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.
There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees (or, after fee liability ends, continuation charges) and living costs. However, please note that, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2021-22 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,175 and £1,710 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2021-22, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
All graduate students at Oxford belong to a department or faculty and a college or hall (except those taking non-matriculated courses). If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. The Colleges section of this website provides information about the college system at Oxford, as well as factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to express a college preference. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 45 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs).
For some courses, the department or faculty may have provided some additional advice below to help you to decide. Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a place at one of our colleges.
The following colleges accept students on the MPhil + DPhil in Economics:
How to apply
You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff before you apply.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
Statement of purpose/personal statement:
A maximum of 800 words
Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for:
- your reasons for applying;
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study; and
- the ability to present a reasoned case in English.
One essay of a maximum of 2,000 words
An academic essay or other writing sample from your most recent qualification, written in English, is required. An extract of the requisite length from longer work is also permissible. The written work should be related to the subject you propose to study.
The written work should be typed and in English. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for:
- a comprehensive understanding of the subject area;
- understanding of problems in the area;
- ability to construct and defend an argument;
- powers of analysis; and
- powers of expression.
GRE General Test results
If you do not hold, or will not shortly hold, a UK undergraduate degree then you must also submit the results of a recent GRE General Test. Applicants from UK universities are recommended to submit a GRE.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
It is recommended that you provide three academic references, however the department will accept one professional reference of the three required overall.
Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, and motivation.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.
Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.
Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and the deadline information in our Application Guide. Plan your time to submit your application well in advance - we recommend two or three weeks earlier.
Step 4: Check if you're eligible for an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers are available for:
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria;
- residents in a country listed as low-income by the World Bank (refer to the eligibility criteria);
- current Oxford graduate taught students applying for readmission to an eligible course; and
- additional applications to selected research courses that are closely related to your first application.
Step 5: Start your application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, consult our Application Guide for advice at each stage. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.