Entry requirements

  • Admission and Thesis Requirements. A good Masters degree in Economics 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 the study. The normal period of study for a PhD degree is not less that three year of full-time study. Students in full-time employment or with other significant commitments may register for part-time study, for which the minimum registration period is double that of full-time study. Candidates are expected to present a thesis of no more than 55,000 words for the MPhil, while for the PhD the maximum length is 100,000 words.

Months of entry


Course content

The Department of Economics of SOAS has become one of the most outstanding sites for undertaking a research degree:

  • 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.
  • The 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.

There are a number of routes to obtaining a research degree from the Department of Economics

  1. MPhil/PhD in Economics. This involves Department-specific research training and supervision, usually by a member of the Department or otherwise appropriate supervisor from another Department.
  2. MPhil/PhD in Development Economics. This involves Department-specific research training and supervision usually by a member of the Department or otherwise appropriate supervisor from another Department. The PhD in Development Economics is attached to the Doctoral Training Partnership and is eligible for ESRC funding: Scholarships and Bursaries.
  3. MPhil/PhD in International Development. The International Development Pathway is shared with the SOAS Department of Development Studies and other Bloomsbury Colleges. The ID pathway is also eligible for award of ESRC Grants through the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership: Scholarships and Bursaries.

As indicated, it is also possible to be PhD students in the Department of Economics on one or other of these three programmes but to be supervised by a member of staff from another Department. By the same token, it is possible for a PhD student from another Department to be supervised by a member of the Department of Economics. In these cases of cross-Departmental supervision, by virtue of more appropriate expertise in another Department, both Departments must agree to the arrangement and make provision for it (especially supervision in a Department other than that responsible for training and administering student progress).

Department specialisms

Political Economy; History of Economic Thought; Applied Econometrics; Agriculture; Mining and Energy; Environmental Economics; Foreign Trade; Foreign Investment and Aid; Money, Banking and Public Finance

Information for international students

For details, including English language requirements, please see SOAS website

Fees and funding

There are a number of scholarship 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 first year, but these cannot be relied upon and will not begin to cover fees and maintenance fully.

For details of postgraduate fees, please see SOAS website

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
72 months


full time
24 months
part time
36 months

Further details of qualification

Candidates are normally registered for an MPhil and convert to a PhD after successful completion of the first-year.

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries
+44 (0)20 7898 4700