This program page was last updated on 04 December 2021. Some details may have changed since then. Please check the SOAS University of London website or the SOAS University of London page for current opportunities.

MPhil/PhD in Economics

Posted on:

Program Duration:

36 Months


Phd programs

Study Options

Full Time


Regular fees: 4670 GBP

International Fees : 20800 GBP

Overview and entry requirements

Students whose qualifications indicate that they are able to pursue independent research may be accepted to read for a research degree (MPhil/PhD) in Economics. Normally a high level Masters degree in Economics or equivalent is a prerequisite. In general, such an MSc as precondition of entry is sufficient to satisfy admission conditions without need for further coursework requirements, especially as far as formal examinations are concerned.


Why study MPhil/PhD in Economics at SOAS

  • we are 12th in UK for course satisfaction Guardian League Tables 2021 and 5th in London Complete University Guide 2021
  • the Department offers unique research training opportunities both through its dedicated research student seminar series and the wide-ranging set of courses taught on its MSc programmes. These range from economic theory to political economy of development and are oriented around a range of theoretical, empirical and policy issues. Its special subject options provide the highest level of expertise on a large number of topics
  • first year research students benefit from a programme of research student training in political economy, different schools of thought, methods and methodologies, and receive formal training sessions on how to do fieldwork
  • training needs of each research students are individually assessed and provided through a combination of generally available courses and individual tuition
  • departmental staff have rich experience in supervising research degree students, matched by their success in bringing students' theses to timely completion. Whilst the Department has a strong commitment to students' early completion of their theses, it also considers it has a responsibility to see that all of its research students obtain a broader training than in their narrowly-defined topic and that they gain skills in theoretical, empirical and policy analysis, in the writing and communication of research results, and in evaluating the work of others
  • research students are expected to form part of the academic community of the Department, participating as appropriate in collaborative research with members of staff, with some opportunities for teaching
  • SOAS offers unique opportunities for interdisciplinary and regional research, and the scope to learn or improve a language where appropriate
  • the Departmental Empirical Support Committee (DESC) offers targeted advice to individual students undertaking empirical work

See Department of Economics 

First year 

The first year of training involves attendance at courses and/or seminars but not usually formal written examinations. Students are registered for an MPhil in their first (full-time equivalent) year but usually convert to a PhD after their upgrade viva rather than continuing to the MPhil qualification.

Research student tutors

An essential feature of the MPhil and PhD process is the close working relationship between research students and supervisors. Supervisors and students meet regularly and consult closely. All research students have a Supervisory Committee to cover theoretical, empirical and regionally-specific supervision, as appropriate.

There are Research Student Tutors with overall responsibility for research students, who are available for discussion of general problems. And the Departmental Empirical Support Committee (DESC) offers detailed and individual advice to students about fieldwork and empirical analysis as appropriate. As necessary, upon request, DESC will consider individual student needs and allocate one or more members of staff (not necessarily supervisor) to advise.


Students are required to participate in a workshop/seminar in which research topics and results are presented and discussed by staff and students. In addition, there is a regular Departmental Seminar, to which members of the Department and visiting speakers present papers. There is a strong interdisciplinary basis for research and teaching, and SOAS can claim to be the leading institution in the world researching and teaching in political economy, development economics and area or specific-country studies.

London, moreover, provides an unrivalled opportunity for students to hear papers being read by leading authorities in African and Asian studies, as well as in economics and development more generally. Research students may choose to participate in a wealth of seminars held in both the School and other Colleges and Institutes of the University.


Many SOAS research students spend some time doing fieldwork in the regions of their research. The Faculty of Law and Social Sciences and the School as a whole, through their various connections with individuals and institutions in the universities and governments of Asia and Africa, can usually facilitate this work with personal contacts and introductions.

For more details of the Departmental Programme, please see the 'structure' tab on this page.

Scholarships, funding and ESRC recognition

There are a number of scholarships available to research (and MSc) students at SOAS please see Scholarships and Bursaries for further information. But it is a condition of acceptance that students embarking upon a research degree have the capacity to fund the full duration of their studies. There may be some paid opportunities for teaching, normally not in the first year, but these cannot be relied upon and will not begin to cover fees and maintenance fully.


Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time


  • Admission and Thesis Requirements. A good Masters degree in Economics plus one reference is usually required for registration for the MPhil and PhD research degrees. Students are normally registered for the MPhil degree in the first instance. Once approval of the Research Student's Supervisory Committee has been received, the student's registration is upgraded to PhD status (and backdated to the commencement of the MPhil registration), usually at the end of the first year of study, for which the minimum registration period is double that of full-time study. Candidates are expected to present a thesis of not more than 55,000 words for the MPhil, while for the PhD the maximum length is 100,00 words. International applicants should also see Doctoral School English language requirements

More Information



Posted on:

Program Duration:

36 Months


PhD Programs

Study Options

Full Time


10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square

WC1H 0XG London , United Kingdom