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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Economics

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  • Structure
  • Entry requirements
  • How to apply
  • Student experience
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Make an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the field of Economics under the tutelage of high profile academics.

The aim of the UNSW Business School's Doctoral Program in Economics is to train you with the skills to identify, analyse and solve problems using original academic research in this field.

In the first year, you will attend rigorous coursework in micro and macro-economic theory, econometrics, and applied economic analysis.

In the second year, you will specialise in one of various fields within Economics by enrolling in field courses and attending field-specific lunches and seminars.

The last two years are completely dedicated to your research project, culminating in a doctoral thesis.

You will be involved in research projects from an early stage and enjoy the interdisciplinary engagement with a high-quality cohort of research students across the whole Business School. There will also be exciting opportunities to develop your teaching portfolio.

Ultimately, your PhD thesis will showcase your research skills and contributions your research makes to knowledge by offering original insights into the field.

Year 1

The first year of study is designed to provide a rigorous foundation to conduct research in Economics using a range of methodologies, as well as helping to build your communication and presentation skills. 

Common core coursework will cover fundamental qualitative and quantitative research methods, and key research skills such as identifying, framing, presenting, and writing academic contributions.

You will also work as an assistant on faculty research projects and start working on your own research as your skills develop. Through your interactions with faculty staff you will use this first year to identify your potential thesis supervisor for the PhD component of the program.

Throughout the first year, there will be invaluable ongoing engagement with a cohort of high-achieving research students, as well as integration into the community of scholars in the Business School.

Under the new UNSW3+ academic calendar, being introduced in 2019, you will study one of the three common core courses in each trimester, as well as additional Economics stream electives.

Upon successful completion of the first year, you will be awarded a Master of Pre-Doctoral Business Studies and continue into the PhD, Economics stream.

Program typeTerm 1Term 2Term 3
Program CoreCOMM8100 COMM8101
Stream Core ECON6001
Research assistance work

Program Core Courses

The following courses are completed in your first year of study.

COMM8100 Foundations of Bus Research

This course covers the foundations of research for business research. In the first part of the course topics will include intellectual foundations of research, research methods and academic reading and writing. In the second part students will move into qualitative research design. The third and final part contains statistical methods and cover probability models, estimation, hypothesis testing and regression analysis.

COMM8101 Stats for Business Research

This course aims to provide a strong background in statistical methods.

It covers the foundations of statistical methods for business research and includes topics such as quantitative research methods, experimental design and analysis, survey design and analysis, linear and multiple regressions and discrete choice models, as well as case study research.


COMM8102 Econometric Analysis

This course aims to provide a strong background in advanced statistical methods.

Students will focus on advanced econometrics such as time-series econometrics and application to financial data, as well as field interventions and policy evaluations.

COMM8103 Research Project Seminar

This course aims to help students develop their skills in writing and presenting their own research.

The course includes topics on research integrity and ethics, how to develop research questions and conduct literature surveys, and how to present and provide feedback on research. Students will undertake an individual major written research project, a research presentation, and provide feedback on other students' research.

Stream Core Courses

You must complete the following courses:

ECON6001 Microeconomic Analysis

The first part of the course deals with individual decision-making. Fundamental topics covered include utility maximisation, expenditure minimisation, duality, welfare changes, and decision making under uncertainty. Producer theory and competitive equilibrium shall also be discussed.

The second part of the course deals with game theory and strategic behaviour. Fundamental topics covered include static games of complete information, static games with incomplete information, and an introduction to dynamic games.

ECON6002 Macroeconomic Analysis

This course covers advanced analysis of macroeconomic issues. Topics include: the structure of macroeconomic models, growth theory and capital accumulation, the structure of short run classical and Keynesian models, equilibrium and disequilibrium models of the business cycle, open economy models, fiscal policy and deficits, monetary policy and stabilisation theory.

ECON6004 Mathematical Economics

This course is an introduction to mathematical techniques that are widely used in economics. We study the properties of sets, vector spaces, functions and equations and use them to describe economic environments. We employ mathematical techniques such as equation solving, static and dynamic optimisation and duality to analyse economic problems.

ECON6101 Advanced Microeconomic Analysis

This course introduces some advanced tools and topics in microeconomic theory, in particular, market design. The course is intended both for graduate students who wish to develop a solid background in microeconomics to pursue research in applied fields and for students that seek to specialise in economic theory.

The course covers a broad array of topics analysed through the lens of auction theory and mechanisms design. Most time will be spent on economic applications, but there will be some sections where we need also to develop some new tools.

ECON6102 Advanced Macroeconomic Analysis

This course covers consumption and investment theories including models of optimisation, overlapping generation models with money, real business cycle models, equilibrium asset pricing, multiplicity of equilibrium and bubbles. Recent topics in contracting and market imperfections and the role of policy will be examined.

Year 2

During the second year, you continue in the Economics stream with a choice of up to eight additional units of advanced coursework in topics such as Industrial Organisation, International Economics, Labour Economics, Development and Political Economics, Asset Pricing, Behavioural and Experimental Economics, and Econometric Theory. You will also have the opportunity to take subjects outside of your specialised discipline.

Stream Electives

You must also choose up to eight elective courses from the following list or from other advanced courses as recommended by the School's Research Committee and approved by the Stream Convenor.

  • ECON6203 Macroeconometrics
  • ECON6205 Microeconometrics
  • ECON6202 Policy Evaluation and Methods
  • ECON6302 International Trade
  • ECON6303 Labour Economics
  • ECON6306 Development and Political Economics
  • ECON6301 Industrial Organization
  • ECON6309 Topics in Econometrics
  • ECON6310 Experimental and Behavioral Economics
  • ECON6201 Econometric Theory
  • ECON6308 Topics in Economic Theory
  • ECON6309 Topics in Macroeconomics
  • ECON6307 Health Economics
  • ECON6350 Special Topics in Economics
  • FINS5574 Empirical Asset Pricing
  • FINS5576 Asset Pricing Theory

Years 3-4

In the last two years in the program, you will primarily conduct full-time research and work towards completing your doctoral thesis.

Your thesis gives you the chance to address some of the biggest challenges in Economics and make a significant contribution to research and practice in these areas. You will conduct original research to explore ideas and generate new knowledge that contributes to ongoing academic debate in your field.

It will offer new critical thinking and withstand critical analysis from expert researchers in the area, setting you firmly on the path to a potential career in a high quality academic institution anywhere in the world.

  • The equivalent of a three-year undergraduate degree plus an equivalent postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline with an overall average grade of at least 75 (Distinction).
  • OR
  • The equivalent of multiple undergraduate degrees (e.g. a dual degree) with at least one in a relevant discipline and an overall average grade of at least 75 (Distinction).
  • OR
  • The equivalent of a four-year degree of Bachelor with first or upper second-class Honours in a relevant discipline.

Applicants must provide results for the GRE unless explicitly waived by the Stream Convenor.

English language requirements also apply.

NOTE: These are the minimum requirements for admission. Admission will ultimately be at the discretion of the UNSW Business School and will rely on the Business School having appropriate research supervision capacity and resources available for the applicant’s research interests.

Information on how to apply for this degree is available at How to apply for a research degree.

While the UNSW Business School is at the heart of the Kensington campus 'village' that is bustling with cafes, bars and retail, the whole of Sydney is right on our doorstep - including world-famous beaches, a wide variety of food, entertainment and culture, plus stunning scenery to enjoy and explore for free.

There are more than 300 clubs and societies at UNSW covering social activities such as music, movies and sport, but also academic interests including an Actuarial Society, a Business Society, an Economics Society and a Society of Financial Technology amongst many others. Joining a student club is a great way to meet new friends and broaden your experience. But as well as that, you may also make potentially important research or academic connections with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Find out more about UNSW’s Clubs and Societies

Stay active

Exercise boosts your mental wellbeing and can help you deal with exam or assignment pressures. It's easy to stay fit with UNSW’s state of the art sporting facilities on campus in Kensington, including a 50m indoor pool, fitness centre, squash courts and a range of competitive sports teams.

Find out more about the UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre


While the UNSW Business School at the heart of the Kensington campus ‘village’ that is bustling with cafes, bars and retail, the whole of Sydney is right on our doorstep including world-famous beaches, a wide variety of food, entertainment and culture, plus stunning scenery to enjoy and explore for free.

Find out more about UNSW Campus Life

Strong support

When you join the UNSW research community, you join a passionate collective of people who are using research to transform minds, transform lives, and transform the world.

We want all our research students to reach their maximum potential and to achieve this we offer in-depth faculty supervision and support, as well as study skills workshops and mentoring programs.

Our ‘Meet the CEO’ series offers unique behind the scenes business insights, and there are a number of orientation, leadership and mentor programs specifically designed for postgraduate students.

Find out more about student support

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Quick facts for students

Program code
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Assumed Knowledge
Economics, Research experience
Study Mode
Face to face
4 years full-time; 5-8 years part-time
Commencing semesters
Term 1 – February

​​​​​​​​Research Study Options

Browse the list of study options available for research students


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Search Degrees​​

Find a degree, course or interest