Economics (Pathway to PhD) MRes

University of Exeter
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Master's programs



The MRes Economics (Pathway to PhD) is a two-year programme that provides the foundations for conducting modern research in economics. It is intended for anyone wishing to progress onto a PhD in economics or another related social science.

  • In the first year you will learn core economic models, econometric techniques and research methods.
  • In the second year you will specialise in modules covering advanced topics in the fields of econometric theory, empirical economics, microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory. The list of topics includes auctions, computational economics, education, fiscal policy, gender, health, human development, inequality, labour supply, machine learning, networks, sexual orientation, taxation, and voting.
  • By the end of the second year you will have acquired the tools to write an MRes dissertation. The MRes dissertation, which will be supervised by one member of our academic staff, will enable you to apply your research skills and develop an in-depth knowledge in your chosen field.

Following successful completion of your MRes you will then progress onto our three-year PhD Economics programme at University of Exeter. You will receive guidance from our internationally respected academic staff for progressing onto our PhD Economics programme.

Interested in PhD funding?

  • We are delighted to offer up to 10 fully funded Business School scholarships and bursary awards to students looking to study our MRes (Pathway to PhD) programme for 2020 entry with progression to our PhD Economics or PhD Finance.

Programme structure

During the programme students will study 9 mandatory modules (including the MRes dissertation) and 2 (out of 3) sequences of optional modules totalling 240 credits. Each module other than the dissertation consists of 15 credits. The research dissertation amounts to 60 credits.

Students will also participate in the weekly graduate workshop and departmental seminar, where research is presented by graduate students and faculty members, respectively. In addition, they will also be encouraged to attend reading groups organised by faculty members in different relevant topics, from machine learning to price theory.

Please note that programme structures may be subject to change.

  • Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on the Business School postgraduate module list.

Year 1

Year 2

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching



Students will be assigned an academic tutor and a pastoral tutor from the first day of their MRes.  During the MRes period you will have the opportunity to meet and discuss your research interests with academic staff to help ensure you have the best possible match with your supervisor for your PhD.  

Progression to PhD

Although the MRes Economics (Pathway to PhD) can be studied as a two-year standalone programme, it is intended as a pathway to PhD.

Progression on to the PhD is subject to meeting the eligibility criteria for the PhD.  This includes (1) successful completion of the MRes (achieving at least an average of 60% across all modules and at least 65% in the Dissertation) and (2) the identification of a member of academic staff in the Department of Economics who has agreed to be your PhD supervisor.


The MRes programme will provide you with the knowledge and skills required to carry out PhD level research and subject to meeting the entry criteria you will be able to progress onto our PhD Economics programme.

Upon completion of your PhD, you will be well equipped to conduct top-notch research and pursue careers in academia, government or consultancy.

Recent placements of our graduating students include assistant professorships and lectureships at places like Lancaster University, University of Manchester, Warwick University and Xiamen University. Others have taken post-doctoral positions at places like FAU-Erlangen-Nuremberg and University of Innsbruck.

Recent research conducted by our graduating students during their doctoral studies or immediately after finishing their doctoral studies has been published in top international Economics journals such as Experimental Economics, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. For instance, one of our recent graduates, Lorenz Hartmann has a paper forthcoming in Econometrica:

What our graduating students say

 β€œThrough interactions with the supportive faculty members, I had the opportunity to expand my academic thinking and challenge conventional wisdom with experimental research.” Lawrence Choo (PhD, 2015)

Entry requirements

A good 2:1 (65%+) degree with honours in an Economics or related discipline from a recognised university. Evidence of mathematical/quantitative ability is required. Degrees in Mathematics, Engineering, Physics or Statistics are also considered.  

We do consider all applications where there is evidence of exceptional performance in modules relevant to the programme of study.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their (quantitative reasoning) GRE scores.


Applications must include a statement of purpose or a sample of written work.

In order to apply for the MRes Economics (Pathway to PhD) most of the modules at undergraduate level should have been taken in Economics, Mathematics and related subjects.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirementsPearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.


  • UK/EU: Β£4,800 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Interested in PhD funding?

We are delighted to offer up to 10 fully funded Business School scholarships and bursary awards to students looking to study our MRes (Pathway to PhD) programme for 2020 entry with progression to our PhD Economics or PhD Finance.

Global Excellence Scholarship

We are delighted to offer Global Excellence Scholarships for students of outstanding academic quality applying to postgraduate Taught programmes starting in autumn 2020.Please note that this scholarship isn't offered for all our masters programmes.

Contact us

Phone +44 (0) 1392 726679

For questions about your offer, CAS/Visa, supporting documents or application process:

Phone +44 (0) 1392 723044 (overseas) or 0300 555 6060 (UK)

Tier 4 fast-track visa

If your programme is 13-months or less you can benefit from a fast-track visa application and six months in the UK after the end of your programme. Click here for full details

The Business School


The module aims to make the students familiar with the rigorous standards of mathematical writing and doing proofs and arguments as required at the research level and to publish in leading peer-reviewed journals. The emphasis is hence on depth rather than on covering a wide range of topics. Students will cover topics in logic and set theory, real analysis, vector spaces, dynamical systems and Taylor polynomials.


The aim of the module is to develop the basic tools for formally analysing problems of resource allocation used by economists. The students will start with the fundamentals, preferences, consumption, production, risk and general equilibrium. Students will also be introduced to the basic game theory, concept of strategy, common knowledge and equilibrium.


The module explores core areas of modern macroeconomics with the aim to develop an understanding of macroeconomic models that enables students to use them to tackle macroeconomic questions. The emphasis will thus be on learning theoretical concepts and analytical techniques by using them in the process of discussing relevant modern macroeconomic topics. This module will concentrate to provide quantitative and numerical tools for analysis. The topics will cover dynamic programming, recursive representations,  and value function iterations. Students will also learn equilibrium with complete markets and overlapping generation models.


This module aims at providing the students with an introduction to the theory of econometrics covering topics in econometric estimation and inference. The module will help students carry out future applied econometric analysis by allowing them to understand the underlying econometric theory, which is important in order to make reasonable judgments about the methods to implement. The module will start with review of matrix algebra and statistical theory. It will then cover linear regression, model specification and hypothesis testing. Students will also learn asymptotic theory.


After covering the fundamentals with full information, the students will be introduced to incomplete information and cover game theory in greater detail. The topics will include moral hazard and adverse selection. Students will also learn some of the initial results in auctions, bargaining and network theory. The two modules will provide a strong base to carry out any advanced rsearch in micro and economic theory.


In term 2 students will build on the material they have learnt earlier. topics covered will include business cycles: real and nominal, and monetary policy. In term 2 students will also cover labour market and this will include search, efficiency wages, unemployment and productivity. Finaly the module will introduce students to financial markets, where students will learn about asset pricing, incomplete markets and financial frictions. This will prepare students to carry out their future research in macroeconomics.


The module is dedicated to the application of various econometric methods and techniques to real life problems. The mdule will cover both microeconometrics and time series analysis. In microeconometrics topics will include maximum likelihood estimation, limited dependent variables, binary choice models and panel data models. In time series students will learn univariate and multivariate timeseries models and unit root and cointegration.


This module will cover a broad range of tools to analyse data: programming, program evaluation, structural estimation and machine learning. This will help students in both empirical analysis and numerical analysis, which is often key in providing validity to the theory or testing the theory. The module will introduce students to number of programming languages including R, Python and Matlab. This will provide an essential tool for students who want to carry out research either in theory or in empirical economics.


The dissertation will allow the student to demonstrate his/her ability at identifying and analysing an economic problem using economic models and/or econometric methods. While the student will be supervised by a member of faculty, it expected that the student will come up with a topic of his/her own choice, and manage self-driven enquiry and write up a piece of research. The student at various stages of the dissertation is expected to provide a proposal, write the dissertation and give an oral presentation of the work.

More Information

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Master's programs


Exeter , United Kingdom