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The Economics PhD programmes are designed as “on-the-job” training towards becoming a fully-fledged academic research economist.

During your PhD, you will be expected to take part in and attend core training programmes, workshops and seminars; regularly present your work to staff and students; and submit an independent research project.


Independent research project

You will work on an independent research project that makes an original contribution to knowledge, written up in the form of a thesis.

This will often be a “three-paper” thesis, as is typical in the field of economics. Your thesis will comprise three individual research papers (chapters) plus introductory and concluding chapters.

The three papers can comprise peer-reviewed and published works that you completed during your PhD. It is usual for these papers to be published in the Department of Economics’ Discussion Paper series.


During your first year of registration, candidates will contribute to the Department’s Reading Group, Frontiers on Economics.

You will be assigned a recent, published peer-reviewed journal article relevant to your field on which to prepare a presentation and mock referee report.

You will present to your peers and staff in the Department at least one presentation a year. You are expected to provide accompanying written work ahead of the presentations.

Compulsory taught courses

Full-time candidates are required to take and pass a training programme in the first year. Part-time students must complete the same but within two years.

You can be exempt from taking any parts of the taught programmes if you have previously taken them or similar courses as a student in Reading or elsewhere, or will be researching in a sub-discipline where the training is not relevant. This will all be determined by your supervisors and the programme director after you have joined us. 

For more details of our training programme and expectations, please see the Economics PhD Programme Guide

Research seminars

The PhD Seminar Series takes place every week, during at least the autumn and spring terms. 

Your attendance and contribution to the Department’s three seminar series, in addition to other events, is integral to being a part of the Economics academic community at the University of Reading.

All students are expected to attend all the internal and external research seminars in the Department of Economics where ever possible, and this is taken into account in progression meetings.

Reading Researcher Development Programme

This training programme is designed to help you successfully complete your PhD and improve your personal effectiveness.

It includes sessions on writing skills, managing data, interviews and how to get your work published.

Engage in debate and discussion

Conversations in Economics

Extend your study beyond the classroom with our weekly ‘Conversation in Economics’. Students across year groups, from first-years to PhD, and staff, get together to discuss topical issues from an economic perspective.

We've had several discussions on the economics of Covid-19, and of course some lively discussions about Brexit, income tax, the economics of health, and feminism.

Economics Society

Run by students, for students, the Economics Society offers a variety of engaging workshops including a lecture series that features three lectures each term on relevant and topical economics issues.

The society has a mentoring scheme between students at different stages of their degree and regularly runs social events with academics, allowing you to enhance your understanding and knowledge in a more relaxed environment. 


Our staff

Learn from our active researchers and experts. Their research informs policy decisions for governments, multinational organisations and international agencies like the UN.


News and events

Find out more about what is happening at the  Department of Economics, including upcoming events and more. 


Our research

Economics at Reading focuses on applied economic research directed towards improving the quality of life in the UK and around the world.