How to apply

Information about applying for a postgraduate research degree in the Department of Economics.

Photo of PhD Economics Presentation

Apply online

To apply for a PhD in the department you will need to complete an online application form.Submit your application


Entry Requirements for a PhD degree

A strong economics background is essential. Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a masters degree in an appropriate subject (with good passes across modules) and have a 2:1 or 1st class honours degree in an appropriate subject.

Language requirements

All applicants need to be competent at spoken and written English. Applicants whose first language is not English AND who do not hold a degree from an English-speaking university will need to take an English language test - normally IELTS or TOEFL.

The test scores currently required are:

  • 6.5 in IELTS with at least 6 in each component
  • 90 in the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT)

Your thesis proposal 

Although students can, and often do, slightly alter their research topic after arriving at Sheffield, a thesis proposal helps us to make sure that:

  • The topic is viable
  • That the department can provide appropriate supervision and other necessary support.
  • You have thought through your interest in and commitment to a piece of research
  • You are a suitable candidate for admission

The process of producing a proposal is usually also essential if you need to apply for funding to pay your fees or support yourself whilst doing your research. Funding bodies will often need to be reassured that you are committed to a viable project at a suitable university.

A proposal should be typed double-spaced, if possible, and be between 1000 and 2000 words long. You need to include your proposal with your application form.

A proposal should contain at least the following elements:

  • Proposed thesis title
  • A description of the research issue in which you are interested
  • An explanation as to why this issue merits research
  • A description of research carried out by others (completed or ongoing) in the area
  • An indication of what your research would contribute to understanding
  • Details of how the research would be conducted, including any special facilities etc. which would be required and any necessary skills which you either have already or would need to acquire
  • An indication of how the results of your research would be disseminated.
  • You may care to use the points listed above as headings in your own proposal, adding any further sections as you see fit.

PhD scholarships

There are lots of different types of scholarships available, from full awards covering fees, living expenses and research costs to partial fee scholarships.