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More in this section Postgraduate Research (PhD)

Postgraduate research

The Postgraduate Research Programme in Economics provides students with rigorous training and experience in economic analysis. Our graduates are successful in getting jobs in academia, research organisations, governments or international bodies.

The Economics Department at Royal Holloway displays strength across all main fields of the discipline, and so supervision can be offered in most areas of research. Our staff members are renowned for their work in theoretical and applied microeconomics, labour economics, development economics, and experimental economics. In the latest nation-wide Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) the Department has been placed in the top 10 in the country in terms of producing the highest quality research. Economics faculty also pursues multidisciplinary topics and benefits from interaction with Computer Science and Psychology departments among others. Further information about staff research interests can be found here.

Students benefit from advanced economics training in their first year and have an opportunity to present their ongoing research and receive feedback in our PhD seminar series. The community is relatively small with about 30 students enrolled, thereby ensuring a high level of interaction between research students and academic staff.

Interaction: There are plenty of opportunities for interaction and collaboration with academic staff. Each student works with a team of two supervisors with complementary expertise.

Training: Students benefit from advanced PhD level economics training in their first year, and training on key research methods and software in later years. In addition, generic research skills training is provided at College level.

Facilities: Students on the programme are provided with facilities for carrying out their research. In years 1 and 4, students have use of a hot desk in the Department. In years 2 and 3, students are offered individual work spaces. Students also get limited funds to present their work at conferences, such as the Royal Economics Society or the European Econometric society yearly conferences.

PhD Conference: Every Spring, the Department organises an in-house PhD Conference with invited speakers and visiting PhD students from other universities. This offers our students an opportunity to present their work in a familiar environment and to obtain feedback from colleagues outside the supervisory team.

Seminar Activities: All research students have the opportunity to present their ideas at the weekly PhD Seminar, which allows them to hone their presentation skills and to get feedback on their research. Our students are also invited to attend our two weekly External Seminars at which academic speakers from around the world present their work.

Candidates for a place on the MPhil/PhD programme should have completed a taught Master’s in Economics, with a distinction or a high pass, in a good department. Students register for the MPhil or the MPhil leading to PhD in the first instance, and transfer to PhD registration as their work progresses.

The total number of students is limited to about 25. This ensures that students gain a strong sense of group-identity and enjoy close contact with academic staff.

If you are interested in applying then you should start by checking the research interests of academic members of staff to see who is conducting research in the area that you are interested in. You may want to contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Ija Trapeznikova to discuss potential projects.

Further information about the application process can be found here.


Research students can be nominated by the Department of Economics for two types of Royal Holloway Awards as follows:

College Scholarships: The Department nominates candidates, based on academic merit, for College Scholarships. Find out more here.

Departmental Studentships: The Economics Department allocates a small number of Fee Awards, Departmental Bursaries and Departmental Assistantships. All are based on academic merit. The Departmental Assistantships offer an annual stipend for a maximum of six hours of work per week supporting teaching, research, or administrative duties as required in the Department.

Leverhulme Scholarships: The College offers approximately eight scholarships per annum for multidisciplinary projects exploring the current and future impact of digital technologies on security, personal freedom and political debates about freedom. Find out more here.

A limited number of ESRC studentships are available to Economics students at Royal Holloway through the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) - a consortium 10 leading UK universities. Students can apply through the SeNSS for either “+3” studentships – three-year studentships to support PhD studies  –  or “1+3” studentships – four-year studentships to support MSc studies plus PhD studies.

Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for further information.

The department actively supports the placement of PhD graduates in positions at universities, research institutes, government agencies, and private corporations. Examples of recent placements include: London School of Economics, University of Stirling, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Max Planck Institute (Bonn, Germany), EBRD, and Institute for Employment Studies (see where past graduates have been placed).

Sefi Roth (PhD in Economics, 2016)

sefi_roth “The Economics department at Royal Holloway provides an outstanding environment to gain rigorous economics training and develop world-class research skills. I found the quality of faculty members to be excellent and the department was very welcoming, lively and friendly. The weekly research seminars delivered by prominent scholars from around the world, and the various teaching opportunities, were particularly helpful in preparing me for my current position as an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) at the London School of Economics.“

Sefi Roth is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) at the Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics (LSE).


Postgraduate Brochure


 For further information about Postgraduate Research opportunities, contact the Director of Graduate Studies Ija Trapeznikova 

For information about applying contact study@rhul.ac.uk


Claudia Cerrone (PhD in Economics, 2016)

claudia_cerrone "During my time as a PhD student in Economics at Royal Holloway, I received continuous feedback both from my supervisors and other faculty members. The annual PhD conference and the PhD seminars provided useful opportunities to present early stages work in a familiar and supportive environment."

Claudia Cerrone is now a Senior Research Fellow (Post-Doc) at Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.



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