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PhD programmes – University of Reading

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PhD programmes

As a postgraduate research student in Economics at Reading you will be part of a vibrant community, working alongside a thriving group of young and established researchers.

An introduction to the department

The Department of Economics has a long and established track record of research, working with a wide variety of industrial and academic partners to achieve significant social and economic benefits.

We are part of the larger School of Politics, Economics and International Relations. We have an active community of 20-30 PhD students.

World-leading research

The University is ranked 10th in the UK for our research impact for Business and Management Studies (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, 2014, based on its analysis of REF 2014), with 100% of both our research impact and research environment judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent. (Research Excellence Framework, 2014). Find out more on our research website.  Research activity within the Department is broad and extensive; among our most active fields are business economics, development economics, behavioural economics, labour economics and sports economics.

We have active collaborations with other departments within the University as well as with external institutions.

Have an idea for a research proposal?

If you already have an idea for a research proposal then look at our staff profiles to find the right supervisor for you. You can email them directly before you submit a full proposal, though this isn't always necessary.

Available PhD opportunities

We are often looking for research students to undertake a selection of PhD projects within the Department. These are usually associated with a scholarship and offer funding opportunities.

How to apply

Find out more information on how to apply on the University of Reading's Graduate School website.

What we offer

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere.


In the first two years of your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate courses which will be agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as a programme of transferable skills organised by the Graduate School.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia, but also quickly find employment in industry.

Research groups

Research in the department is organised into several research groups and clusters. PhD students are assigned to one or more of these:

The Centre for Institutions and Economic History (CIEcH)

Research focuses on issues at the interface of economics, politics, sociology and history.

The Economic Analysis Research Group (EARG)

This centre focuses on macroeconomics and econometrics, and recently organised workshops on methods in dynamic stochastic general equilibrium modelling and inflation forecasting.

Behavioural Economics Cluster

The research topics of the cluster are quite broad topics of the cluster are quite broad: cooperation and prosocial behaviour, organisational economics, social identity, social norms, social preference and conflict behaviour.

Development Economics Cluster

Members of the cluster have expertise in the economies of South and South-East Asia as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. The cluster has strong research links with the University, as part of a wider, cross-cutting, interdisciplinary Global Development Research Division.

Sports Economics Cluster

Sports economists apply economics to sports and use sport to understand more about economics, considering issues relating to labour economics, financial economics, and forecasting.

Business Economics and Finance Cluster

Business economics research has been a centre of excellence at Reading for more than fifty years. Research focuses on the economics of entrepreneurship, international business, organisation of firms and institutional structures. The cluster has strong research links with the International Capital Markets Association Centre and the Henley Business School.

Labour and Household Economics Cluster

The cluster undertakes a variety of applied research using state of the art econometric techniques and a broad range of datasets for the UK, other developed and developing countries.


Further information

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