Oxford has a thriving group of research students studying towards the award of a DPhil in Economics. The DPhil is the name Oxford gives to its doctoral degree rather than the more familiar name PhD used in most other universities.

There are two main routes leading to a DPhil at Oxford. The first route is the two-year Oxford MPhil in Economics course followed by a further two or three years of research for the DPhil. The MPhil provides training in economics at graduate level, comparable to the first two years of the PhD programme at the best international universities.

If you have not completed the MPhil in Economics at the University of Oxford but hold a master’s degree or equivalent in economics and wish to undertake research for the DPhil then you may apply to be admitted as a Probationer Research Student (PRS). In this case you will usually be required to take a year of coursework, roughly equivalent to the second year of the MPhil course.

In joining the Department of Economics, you 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 also have opportunities to present your work at a variety of seminars and sessions in the department.

The award of this 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 degree is four years.

DPhil students work closely with a supervisor (or sometimes with joint supervisors) who will be a specialist in the subject under investigation. Prospective students (especially PRS applicants) should check with the list of Department members' research interests to determine if there is likely to be a suitable supervisor for the area in which they wish to work.

Full-time DPhil students are required to 'confirm' their DPhil status no later than nine terms after admission to Oxford as a graduate student. The candidate for confirmation has to present a detailed outline of the complete thesis and some complete draft chapters, and has to present a research paper at a workshop or seminar.

The interests and strengths of our doctoral students are many and diverse, and this is reflected in the positions they take up after graduation: some take up tenure track positions in academia; others find employment in government, international organizations, or the private sector. The international reputation of Oxford’s doctoral programme also means that our DPhil graduates can be found making a contribution in many different parts of the world.

The Department recognises the importance of helping our doctoral students find suitable employment. Our placement efforts are directed by a senior member of the faculty. We provide advice and help on all aspects of the job application process, including limited financial assistance to cover expenses.


Part-time DPhil
The Department of Economics offers students the opportunity of studying for a DPhil in Economics on a part-time basis. This includes applicants entering their doctorate directly from the Oxford MPhil, and those admitted to Probationer Research Student (PRS) status who have studied an appropriately rigorous Masters degree in Economics at another institution.

Students will be expected to work for approximately 20 hours per week on their DPhil and to be in Oxford for a minimum of thirty days per year following their transfer to DPhil status. For a probationer research student, coursework requirements will necessitate their attendance in Oxford for a minimum of two full days per week during full-term. Part-time students are expected to undertake transfer to full DPhil status after nine terms of registration, and within a maximum of twelve terms.

Admission Criteria

For full details on the Admissions Criteria for the DPhil Economics, please visit the Oxford University webpage here.
A student wishing to be admitted for the DPhil 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.

PRS requirements

A student who is admitted as a PRS is expected to transfer to DPhil status after three or four terms.  Transfer to DPhil status requires that you pass five papers from the MPhil degree programme to a satisfactory standard, write a substantial research paper and prepare an acceptable research plan.   

The choice of MPhil papers must be approved by the Department.  Exemption or modification of these requirements may be granted depending on your academic background   As a PRS, you should expect to devote a substantial part of your time in the first year (i.e., before transfer to DPhil status) to coursework.  

More information on the papers on the MPhil can be found here.


Fees and Funding

You can find more information about the annual fees (both full-time and part-time) for the DPhil Economics on the Oxford University webpage here by selecting the ‘Funding and Costs tab’.


Most of our students have their fees and maintenance paid for by scholarships (eg. Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Commonwealth, Clarendon, Rhodes, Marshall, Chevening, Nuffield College funded studentships, etc.). A number of Colleges also provide scholarships for outstanding applicants.

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.

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 Studentship in Economics (joint with Nuffield College)

A fully funded Nuffield 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.

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 departmental awards.

Studentship enquiries should be sent to

Department-based Funding Opportunities

The Department of Economics has a Doctoral Studentship Scheme, which is open to all students who have achieved DPhil status and do not have full funding from other sources (e.g. ESRC). A PRS can normally expect to be eligible for such an award in his/her second year at Oxford, but not in their first. 

Two-year bursaries are available to students within fee liability and each award offers funding of £10,800 (2018/19 figures) per annum.  Final year bursaries are also available and each award offers funding of £5,100 (2018/19 rates) for one year.  Award holders are offered the opportunity to teach for the Department or a College for up to four (contact) hours per week during term as graduate teaching assistants.  If they choose to teach for four hours per week an additional payment of £8,832 per annum (2018/19 rates) is made, bringing total support to £19,632 for two-year bursary holders.  Where a fees-only award permits their doing so, a student may hold such an award simultaneously with the Department's Doctoral Studentship. 

In addition to these bursaries, the Department also employs some research students as graduate teaching assistants. Payment varies with the teaching load; for example, a two-hour per week teaching commitment currently pays £4,416 per annum (2018/19 rates).

Lastly, it is worth pointing out that economics is a popular subject for undergraduate study at Oxford and Oxford is a collegiate University. Many colleges directly employ our DPhil students to help senior faculty with undergraduate economics teaching.

Scholarship enquiries should be sent to