PhD in International Economics

Graduate Institute of International Studies
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Phd programs

The PhD programme is a challenging degree tailored for exceptional students with a strong commitment to economics and a proven ability for inquisitive, independent work.

What is it?

The four-year PhD programme is centred around a research dissertation. This work represents a substantial contribution to economics and demonstrates your ability to combine independent research with the formal methodologies and tools of modern economics.

Who can apply?

Admissions are decided on the basis of individual files. Most candidates hold a Master's degree in economics with high marks. We consider both candidates from our own MIS programme in economics, as well as candidates from outside universities with a top reputation. If you are interested in the PhD programme but do not yet hold a Masters degree, an option is to enter the Master in International Economics, and apply for the PhD in your second Master year using our "fast track" option. For more details see the Master's page.

What does it prepare you for?

The PhD programme trains you to undertake innovative research in international economics. Our graduates have secured positions in prominent policy institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the research departments of central banks. While our training is focused on policy application, many graduates have secured positions in academia.

How is the programme structured?

The programme consists of classes (in English) and the research dissertation.

Classes cover a sequence of two courses in the first two semesters, either in international macroeconomics or international trade. In addition, students follow a class in advanced econometrics in the second semester.

While there is no requirement to take elective classes, you have the option of following classes in economics or other departments of the Institute as an auditor, subject to approval of the Professor.

The dissertation is the central element of the programme. You will choose a Professor to be your academic supervisor in the first year. You will submit and defend a dissertation proposal, known by its French acronym MPT (Mémoire préliminaire de thèse) by the end of the third semester. That proposal describes your research plan and you will be expected to have clearly identified your research question, show a good grasp of the related literature, as well as have a clear plan for the methods and data you intend to use. The dissertation usually takes the form of three chapters written under the direction of your supervisor, each of which is suitable as an independent paper. We allow for co-authorship of chapters, but expect you to demonstrate the ability to undertake research on your own. Students usually have one chapter ready by the beginning of their fourth year, which they use as their job market paper to secure employment.

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Phd programs


Genève , Switzerland