Economics - Research

The research degree programme in the School of Economics at University College Dublin aims to train students to conduct research of high academic quality and to make original contributions in the subject.

Program Structure
In most cases, students are admitted to Stage 1 of our PhD program. The first year of the program is devoted to PhD level coursework, building research skills and developing a research topic (see Sample Thesis Titles). The standard structure of our PhD is a collection of individual research papers. During the second year (usually early in the second term) students present their research (usually their first completed paper) at a transfer seminar. If successful, students can transfer to Stage 2 of their PhD.

Each admitted student will be assigned a primary supervisor. In addition, the student will have a Doctoral Studies Panel, consisting of staff members who have read the student’s application and have indicated a willingness to supervise the student. The role of the supervisory team in year one is to advise on choice of courses and on the initiation and subsequent refinement of work which will eventually lead to the transfer seminar in year two. For the remainder of time on the programme research supervision becomes more active.

If, during the first year, a student wishes to change one or both supervisors and possibly research topic, and if the student finds an alternative supervisor, then such a change will be permitted, subject to the approval of the Programme Director. Such a change should not be seen as failure of either the student or the original supervisor(s) as one of the purposes of first year coursework is to familiarise students with the School and their fields of interest.

Change of supervisor in second and subsequent years is typically not encouraged and will only be permitted in exceptional cases and subject to the approval of the Programme Director.

Coursework Requirements
All PhD students in the College of Human Sciences are required to take a minimum of 30 ECTS of PhD-level coursework. The School program requires that students take: PhD Research Method (5 ECTS) The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the PhD program, to help them formulate and plan their program of research and to introduce them to key resources. PhD Seminar (5 ECTS) Students are expected to attend the School’s weekly seminar. This for-credit module also requires students to deliver written reports on a number of the seminars they have attended. Four other field courses approved by their supervisor An average grade of at least a B will be required in these modules before the student can be considered for transfer to Stage 2.

Additional Requirements
At all stages of the PhD programme students are required to attend such reading groups, workshops and seminar series as directed by the supervisory team. In addition, specialised courses may become available from time to time (not necessarily in University College Dublin) and students may be required to attend such courses in their chosen area of research.

Part Time Students
The school will typically only admit part-time students in cases where their paid work is closely related to their area of research. Students are encouraged to complete their coursework within one year but may be permitted to take two years. They are expected to complete their transfer seminar no later than 30 months after initial registration.

General Graduate Facilities
Successful applicants to the PhD programme will have access to shared office space and modern computer facilities. Students will be expected to attend staff seminars, workshops and other local seminars in economics. The School of Economics actively encourages participation in national and international conferences (financial assistance may be available to students who present papers at such conferences). Students will also have the opportunity to have their research included in the School of Economics Working Paper Series.

Entry requirements

Students admitted to Admission to our PhD should have a strong record in one year of postgraduate study in economics. Our preference is to admit students who have taken a full year of postgraduate study in the core areas of micro, macro and econometrics: An option for such a core year of study is available as part of the MA in Economics offered by our School.

Admission to the PhD programme will depend not only upon the candidate’s qualifications in the form of grades, reference letters and research statement but also upon the availability of School members to provide thesis supervision. While the research interests of the School are wide-ranging it is not possible to guarantee that the interests of prospective students will coincide with those of the School members (for details of the research interests of the School of Economics see below). Students will not typically be permitted to enter the programme at any time other than the beginning of the academic year (i.e. mid-September).

Chinese applicants please see regarding possible funding.


Economics (W133/W134) PhD Research 3 Years / 6 Years FT / PT

Further enquiries

UCD School of Economics
Newman Building (Room G215)
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: +353 1 716 8505/8272

Enrolment and start dates

Start date: To be agreed with School

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