The MPhil is a two year programme designed to provide a comprehensive training in economics at the graduate level.  The two year format provides training in graduate level Economics comparable to the first two years of the PhD programme in the best US universities. For those planning to progress to a doctorate the course provides high level analytical training, and the MPhil thesis can be used as part of the doctoral thesis. For those who do not wish to progress to a doctorate the MPhil combines study of core subjects to a high level, opportunity to study specialised field subjects, and the experience of writing a research paper, providing an excellent foundation for a career as a professional economist.

The first year of the MPhil in Economics is focused on the core areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics. The second year offers a choice of field subjects and further study of core subjects, and also requires completion of a thesis.


Continuing on to the DPhil

In a typical year, around a third of the graduating MPhil class will leave Oxford to pursue non-academic careers, most as professional economists.   Around half will choose to continue with their studies, either at Oxford or at another institution. 

Progress to the doctorate at Oxford is not automatic, and is subject to satisfactory performance on the MPhil.   For most students DPhil studies will take another two to three years. This time is devoted to the writing of a DPhil thesis, which can incorporate material from the MPhil thesis.   Every DPhil student works closely with a supervisor, who is often (but not always) the supervisor of the student’s MPhil thesis.

For more on the requirements of the DPhil, look under The Doctoral Research Degree in Economic section on the website.

In the first year there are three compulsory papers: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics. These are examined at the end of the first year. In addition, there is a non-examinable course in Mathematical Methods.

In the second year, students take five courses (each lasting for one term) from a list of second year courses listed below (not all of which will necessarily be offered every year). Each student takes at least one advanced course (*) and at least one field course (non-*). Courses are assessed by a 2-hour examination in the summer term of year 2.

Students are also required to write a thesis in the second year, supervised by a member of the Department. The thesis is up to 30,000 words in length and is usually expected to contain some original research. It can be incorporated into a DPhil thesis, if the student continues with his or her studies.

Year 1

The first-year econometrics course aims to provide students with a grounding in statistical and probability theory, econometric theory and methods, and empirical applications in economics, such that applied econometrics reported in the main economics journals can be read with a good understanding and a critical perspective. The subject has advanced rapidly over the last couple of decades, and is an essential element in every economist’s toolkit.

The lectures in macroeconomics are designed to give an overview of modern dynamic macroeconomic theory.

Topics covered are Real Deterministic Models, Business Cycles, Monetary Economics, Macroeconomic Policy and Macro-finance.

The objective of the course is to give students a thorough grounding in microeconomics so that they can understand the modern microeconomic literature and can perform microeconomic analysis in either a professional or academic environment.

The course covers the standard theory of microeconomics through a series of modules on Consumer & Producer Theory, Choice under Uncertainty; Game Theory & IO; General Equilibrium & the Fundamental Theorems of Welfare Economics; Bargains, Contracts, and Auctions; Welfare Economics and Public Economics.

Year 2

This course covers a selection of methods that are widely used in modern econometric practice. 

Models of learning and subjective beliefs with applications to macroeconomics and finance. New Avenues in Business Cycle Research.

VARs with applications to monetary and fiscal policy in closed and open economy; Solution and estimation techniques for DSGE models.

This course consists of several lecture modules covering important topics in Microeconomic Theory. Students taking this course as two units should attend most or all of the lectures in both terms. Students taking this course as one unit are free to choose whichever lecture modules they wish to attend (regardless of the term) after taking into account the examination expectations.

Behavioural Economics is a blend of traditional neoclassical microeconomics and empirically motivated assumptions whose goal is a better understanding of economic behaviour. It can be divided into behavioural decision theory and behavioural game theory. Each subfield differs from its mainstream counterpart by paying particular attention to the psychological realism of behavioural assumptions and their consistency with empirical evidence. The goal is to identify empirically important deviations from traditional assumptions, use the alternative assumptions the evidence suggests to build tractable formal models, and use the models to reconsider standard microeconomic questions. (Much of the empirical evidence used is experimental, but this is not a course in experimental economics: Experimental methods are considered only as needed to interpret evidence; and connections with field evidence will be made whenever they are helpful.)

This course is designed to introduce you to major themes in the microeconomics of development, covering both empirical and theoretical methods. The course is taught in Michaelmas, and comprises 16 lectures, covering core development economics theory and discussing application of microeconometric methods to developing countries. Lectures are divided into four modules; in 2017-18, we plan to offer modules on (i) firms and development, (ii) organisations and development, (iii) households and development and (iv) cash, microfinance and development.

This course is designed to give you an opportunity to specialise in particular topics in development economics.  The course is normally divided into eight 4-week modules; each module is self-contained, and can be taken independently.  You are required to answer two questions on the exam, with at most one per module.  MPhil students are strongly recommended to attend at least three modules in order to have useful choice of questions on the exam.  Modules vary from year to year; in 2016-17, the following modules were offered: (i) firms and development; (ii) openness and development; (iii) structural transformation and growth; (iv) urbanisation and spatial economics; (v) political economy and development; (vi) risk and insurance; (vii) human capital and development; and (viii) behavioural economics. Modules typically involve close reading of academic literature; some may also link to current discussions of development policy.

This course will provide an introduction to the sources and methods of quantitative economic history and review some of the major current debates of interest to economists. It aims to show both how economic analysis can sharpen our understanding of history and how historical research can be used to shed light on the current state of the economy. The first part of the course will focus on the Great Divergence of living standards between Europe and Asia, showing how recent quantitative work has sharpened our understanding of both the timing and the causes of the divergence. The second part concentrates on the period from the Industrial Revolution to the present, highlighting the roles of technology, geography and income distribution in shaping economic performance.

This course provides an introduction to economic fluctuations in history and their connection to monetary and financial conditions. The course covers the major developments in the international financial system over the past century and a half, from the gold standard to European Monetary Union. Questions addressed include what were the causes and consequences of changing exchange rate regimes? What have been the major trends in international financial integration and disintegration over this period, and what explains these trends? Some of the transformations were driven by major shocks of varied nature and special attention will be paid to the Great Depression and its consequences.

The course also explores the evolving properties of business cycles and their relation to financial crises, the nature of financial markets, and the relationship between finance and growth. Did financial development contribute to rapid economic growth since the 1800s or did financial crises have significant costs for the real economy? What was the relation between business cycles and financial volatility? How did national authorities and multilaterals react to the rising trend of economic globalisation?

The objective of the paper is to provide students with a thorough introduction to bringing together micro theory and micro data. The course will rely heavily on particular illustrations of empirical work in the lecturers’ own fields. Indicative topics include: identification, demand estimation, production function estimation.

The course is an introduction to major issues in asset pricing and market microstructure.  Topics covered may include the following: equilibrium in security markets, incomplete asset markets, options pricing, CAPM and APT, money and default, financial crisis and systemic risk, models in theoretical and empirical microstructure, prices and rational expectations equilibrium, strategic trading.

The course covers major themes in corporate finance.  Topics covered may include the following: debt taxes and capital structure, capital structure with asymmetric information, security design with asymmetric information, security design and investor information production, mechanism design in financial markets, interactions between financial and real markets, empirical corporate finance.

The course covers models of pricing in monopoly and oligopoly. Lectures cover theoretical and empirical treatments with an approximately equal weight. Indicative theoretical topics include oligopoly pricing, price discrimination, product differentiation, adverse selection, and network externalities. Empirical topics include analysis of pricing and demand, estimating adverse selection in insurance markets, and empirical analysis of games of entry and exit. 

The aim of the course is to give an overview of the recent literature in international macroeconomics and finance as well as to develop tools and ideas for writing research papers. The first part focuses on the real determinants of the current account. The second part studies international financial markets and business cycles. The last part looks at financial crises and monetary policy in open economy.

What determines countries’ production structures and the consequent patterns of international trade?  How does trade shape the level and evolution of the distribution of income within and between countries?  What are the arguments for and against trade policy?  The course will cover comparative advantage, including classical and Heckscher-Ohlin trade theory, and theoretical extensions incorporating monopolistic competition and firm heterogeneity. Material will be primarily micro-economic theoretic but will also include empirical tests of theory.

This course will introduce you to major themes in the modern analysis of labour markets, covering both empirical and theoretical methods. Part I, taught by Petr Sedlacek, focuses on the flow approach to labour market analysis, covering job search, labour market matching models, and the use of equilibrium search models for policy analysis. Part 2, taught by Gabriel Ulyssea, begins with the evidence on wages and inequality, then explores foundations for the explanation of wages – labour supply, human capital, and the task approach – before focusing on the particular implications of discrimination and international trade.

The first part of the course is devoted to the study of topics in health and inequality. The second part is devoted to the theory of taxes and transfers including welfare measurement, income transfers and optimal taxation. The third part is devoted to behavioural public economics and voting.

Admission Criteria

For full details on the Admissions Criteria for the MPhil Economics, please visit the Oxford University webpage here.
Candidates are strongly advised to submit their applications by the first deadline in January, as places on the second deadline will be limited. Please note that all documents needed for the application must be submitted by the chosen deadline. If the accompanying documentation is incomplete, consideration of the application will be postponed to the following deadline (if there is one).
A student wishing to be admitted for the MPhil in Economics must be accepted first by the department and then by a college.
The University requires candidates to apply online and for their referees to submit online references. To access the online application system please visit the Oxford University webpage here and select the ‘How to Apply’ tab.

Fees and Funding

You can find more information about the annual fees for the MPhil Economics on the Oxford University webpage here by selecting the ‘Funding and Costs tab’.


There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

Please note that you MUST include all supporting materials required for your intended course. English language certificates must be submitted by any applicant whose first language is not English (who has not successfully completed a degree course in the UK), and for the MSc in Economics for Development, the GRE certificate must be submitted by all applicants.

The January deadline is the latest deadline for the vast majority of Oxford's scholarships. You should ensure that your complete application has been submitted together with all required supporting materials before this deadline.

In addition to the scholarships mentioned in the prospectuses, the following sources of funding beginning in October 2019 are also available:

Economic and Social Research Centre (ESRC) Studentships (Economics Pathway)

The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on social and economic issues. The University, in collaboration with Brunel University and the Open University, hosts the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership - one of fourteen Doctoral Training Partnerships accredited by the ESRC as part of a Doctoral Training Network.

The University is one of the major providers of social science research training in the UK, and has one of the largest and most diverse pools of academic social scientists producing internationally recognised research. It is home to a number of outstanding departments, which are committed to research to develop a greater understanding of all aspects of society.

Oxford's Department of Economics is one of Europe's leading research departments and its members include some of the world's most distinguished academic economists. In the most recent UK Research Assessment, Oxford Economics had more research output graded as world-leading in terms of its originality, rigour and significance than did any other economics department in the United Kingdom. The department has particular research strength in the areas of: behavioural economics, economic theory, econometrics, international economics and industrial organisation.

Additional studentships in Economics are also available for the DPhil if the research makes extensive use of Advanced Quantitative Methods.

In order to be considered for a Grand Union DTP ESRC studentship, you must select ‘ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentships in Social Sciences’ in the University of Oxford scholarships section of the University's graduate application form.  You must also complete a Grand Union DTP Application Form and upload it, together with your graduate application form, by the relevant January deadline for your course.
• The Department’s Graduate Funding Panel selects the most outstanding candidates subject to their meeting the ESRC eligibility conditions.
• Selected candidates are contacted by the Department to confirm that they wish to be nominated for an ESRC studentship.
• The nominations, including supporting statements from the Department, are forwarded to the GU DTP Awards Panel for review and assessment in mid-March.  (This is an open competition across the three universities in the partnership, and also not just for Economics.)
• Successful nominees are contacted by the GU DTP informing them that they are being offered an ESRC studentship, usually by late March.
Information about ESRC studentships at Oxford can be found on the Grand Union DTP website. Please ensure you have read all of the guidance available on the website before completing the Grand Union DTP Application Form. Questions can be directed to the Grand Union DTP Office.

UniCredit & Universities Master in Philosophy (MPhil) Economics Scholarship

St Cross: MPhil Scholarship in Social Sciences

Oxford-Chellgren-Economics Studentship (joint with University College)

A fully funded Oxford-Chellgren Studentship is available to an outstanding candidate who applies to the Department of Economics for the MPhil programme or the 3-year DPhil programme, for October 2019 entry. The studentship is open to any nationality and does not require an explicit application to the college. The studentship will be awarded as part of the Department of Economics' annual studentship competition (online application deadline January 25th 2019), and will cover all fees and living costs (under terms and conditions).

Nuffield-Economics Studentship (joint with Nuffield College)

A fully funded Nuffield-Economics Studentship is available to an outstanding candidate who applies to the Dept of Economics for the MPhil programme or the 3-year DPhil programme, for October 2019 entry. The studentship is open to any nationality and does not require an explicit application to the college. The studentship will be awarded as part of the Department of Economics' annual studentship competition (online application deadline January 25th 2019), and will cover all fees and living costs (under terms and conditions).

Shelagh Hefferman Award

The Shelagh Hefferman Award is for a student admitted to the MPhil in Economics who demonstrates exceptional academic merit and who graduated from one of the following Canadian universities:  University of Toronto, Queen's University, the University of British Columbia.  The value of the award is £4,500 in each year of the two year degree, payable at the start of the academic year.

Fee Waivers

The Department of Economics is offering to waive University tuition fees for some incoming MPhil students or Probationer Research Students, at the Home/EU rate. All incoming students, whether Home/EU or Overseas, are eligible. A maximum of two such waivers will be granted to students in any single incoming cohort. All eligible students who are made an offer from the Department will be automatically considered for these awards.

Scholarship enquiries should be sent to