UCL School of Management

PhD Programme in Financial Economics

Overview

Start date: September 2023
Duration: 5 years (1 year MRes + 4 years PhD)
Fees: We offer fully-funded scholarships to all admitted students who have applied by the 15 February 2023 (see details below) 
Application deadline: 15 February 2023 (late applications may still be considered, see details below)
Entry: Applicants must hold a distinction in a master’s degree in Economics or a closely related subject. Applicants must demonstrate a high level of analytical and quantitative skills (such as in mathematics and statistics), evidenced by strong performance in relevant modules taken on previous degree programmes and/or through relevant standardised test performance (such as GRE Quantitative of at least 160). International students, please note that UCL’s English language requirement for this programme is a ‘Level 2’ (IELTS and TOEFL are the preferred test, however others on the UCL recognised test list will be accepted if required) - further details regarding this can be found on the UCL English Language Requirements page.

Programme

The MRes and PhD in Financial Economics is a joint programme between the UCL Department of Economics and the UCL School of Management.

The MRes programme is the first year of the five-year integrated MRes/PhD programme in Financial Economics. The MRes programme will provide you with training in research methods together with an advanced understanding of financial economics, to enable you to conduct insightful and original PhD level research in financial economics. 

The MRes will firstly provide quantitative training in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, and finance. These will be taught in the context of cutting-edge research and relevant applications. Secondly, it will provide you with analytic frameworks and transferable skills that will allow you to identify relevant and promising research topics, present ideas in order to obtain feedback, and provide feedback yourself. 

The subsequent years (for students who progress from the MRes to MPhil) will focus on the skills you will need to run research projects to completion and to present completed research projects to various kind of specialised audiences. Likewise, teaching skills will also be developed.

PhD Structure

  • The MRes programme consists of taught modules (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics), a hybrid module (Financial Economics) with taught components and research based components, and a research project in the final part of the year. For the MRes project, you work under supervision to design and carry out a substantial piece of original research. This enables you to gain a deep understanding of the entire research process.
  • Superior performance is required for automatic progression from MRes to MPhil. In particular, students should achieve an average mark of not less than 60% in the independent, original research components of the programme, and not less than 50% in the taught element.
  • Our highly selective and small-sized PhD programme ensures that each student receives personal attention and guidance from our faculty members throughout their doctoral study. The close mentorship process forms the foundations of a successful academic career. At the same time, you will be part of both the School of Management PhD cohort and the Economics PhD cohort, with which you will share most of the taught modules.
  • We expect our PhD graduates to have as their goal an academic career as a faculty member in a top business school or Economics department or in the research group of an international institution or a central bank.

Students take a total of 180 credits in the MRes year. This is made up of the MRes Research Project (MSIN0135) and 75 credits of compulsory taught modules. 

All modules in the MRes year are core modules, there are no optional modules. 

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, and class discussion. Student performance is assessed through presentations, coursework, projects, and examinations. 

Students will study 4 compulsory taught modules. A typical taught module is taught over two terms (2 x 10 weeks) with 4 hours of contact hours per week (3 hours of lecture + 1 hour of review session). In addition, students spend approximately 6-8 hours a week for each module on assessment and independent study to further develop the skills and knowledge covered in lectures and seminars.  

Students will also undertake a substantial research project, which would usually start in Term 2 and be completed over the Summer. The total number of weekly hours will vary according to the weekly activities being undertaken.

Why choose us

What makes us different:

Unlike many PhD Programmes in finance, our programme has a full anchor in economics and econometrics. Hence, we offer a unique world-class environment that combines the best of a leading business school, located in Canary Wharf, the heart of London’s modern financial district, and the tradition of economic research and teaching of the Department of Economics, which is located in Bloomsbury, London’s historical intellectual centre.

If you want to become an academic economist conducting research in finance, this programme is for you.  

UCL School of Management and the Department of Economics 

Founded in 2007, UCL School of Management has forged a reputation for world-leading research in management studies with 95% of the School’s research deemed to be world-leading or internationally excellent, the second highest percentage of any business school in the UK, according to the 2021 REF. The PhD programme is an integral part of our School’s active and ambitious research environment where students receive rigorous academic training and personalised research mentorship. 

The UCL Department of Economics has an outstanding international reputation in key areas of current research. The Department ranked top in the UK for research environment and outputs in the field of Economics and Econometrics in the 2021 REF

Our research programme offers a unique education and research experience with the intent of preparing you for scholarly careers at the highest level. Our highly selective and small-sized programme ensures that you receive personal attention and an opportunity for guidance from our world-leading scholars. The close mentorship process forms the foundations of a successful academic career. 

As a research student you will join a highly active research environment which involves frequent research seminars and visits by leading scholars worldwide, reading groups, brown bag seminars and panels in which PhD students and faculty members present and discuss their ongoing work. Such forums provide an excellent opportunity to receive critical constructive feedback on your research and to develop academic, generic and transferable skills.

Applications

Applying for our MRes/PhD Programme

Entry requirements and admissions criteria:

Applicants to the MRes+PhD programme must hold a distinction in a master’s degree in Economics or a closely related subject. Applicants must demonstrate a high level of analytical and quantitative skills (such as in mathematics and statistics), evidenced by strong performance in relevant modules taken on previous degree programmes and/or through relevant standardised test performance (such as GRE Quantitative of at least 160). Submitting a GRE test result is encouraged but not compulsory and is only one of the components used to assess the strength of applications. 

We only have a single intake in September. We accept applications throughout the year. Successful candidates who have submitted their MRes application by 15 February will receive a scholarship (full fee waiver plus a stipend). Successful candidates who have submitted their application after this date may receive a scholarship subject to availability, or will come with their own funding.

In your personal statement you are expected to suggest one or more faculty members as potential supervisors. On the application form you may see that it states that it is preferred that you contact potential supervisors beforehand. However, we strongly discourage applicants from contacting individual faculty members or potential supervisors when applying to our programme. All applications are first evaluated by a joint admissions committee, so contacting potential supervisors separately will not increase your chances.

We also require you to submit IELTS or TOEFL scores if English is not your first language. Our School requires a “Level 2” English language qualification which corresponds to:

IELTS: Overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

TOEFL: Score of 96 overall, plus 24/30 in the reading and writing subtests and 22/30 in the listening and speaking subtests. Please check TOEFL details here.

Application Deadline

The application window closes 15 February 2023 and a late submission window closes on 31 March 2023. We advise those interested in the programme to apply before 15 February 2023, as those applying in the late submission window will only be considered if there are still places remaining.

Application Procedure

Apply via UCL Postgraduate Admissions System here. When starting the application, you must select the MRes Financial Economics option. In addition to filling out the online application form, please upload a copy of the following documents:

  1. CV/Resume
  2. Official Transcripts of Grades / Course marks
  3. A 1 page personal statement that clearly indicates: (i) your research interests and preliminary research ideas, (ii) potential faculty member(s) you may want to work with (this is a suggested list, you don’t need to contact potential supervisors beforehand), and (iii) your motivation to do a PhD.
  4. Your GRE score report, if you took the test.
  5. Your IELTS/TOEFL score report, if English is not your first language.


Funding/Scholarships

We offer fully funded five year scholarships to all admitted students who apply before the 15 of February 2023. The scholarship is open to all nationalities. It covers all tuition fees, and includes an annual stipend of £23,500 which is tax-free. 

Successful candidates who have submitted their application after 15 February 2023 may receive a scholarship subject to availability or will come with their own funding.

Further Information and Contact Details

The full-time MRes/PhD programme runs from September each academic year. Entrance is therefore every September. While we may accept applications until 31 March 2023 we encourage candidates to apply as early as possible. Our programme is very selective and we only admit a limited number of students, so applying before 15 February 2023 increases your chances.

How to Apply

For queries about the MRes/PhD Programme that are not addressed on our web pages, please contact the MRes/PhD Administrator, Amy Evison (mgmt-pgr@ucl.ac.uk).

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the UCL School of Management MRes/PhD Programme

Programme Information

How long is the Programme? Can I enrol on a part-time basis?
The five year PhD degree consists of five years of full-time study, starting with one year of modules (and a research project) registered as MRes. We do not offer any part-time study options.
What is the MRes and is it a stand-alone course?
The MRes is the first year of our PhD programme in which students typically take advanced postgraduate and methods courses to prepare them for their PhD research. Our MRes is not a standalone programme, so we do not offer it as an individual degree. In applying for the MRes, you are applying for the full 5 year (1 year MRes + 4 year PhD) programme.
Can I begin the programme in January or some other time in the middle of the year?
The programme has a single intake each September at the beginning of the academic year at UCL. It is not possible to start the programme at any other time.
How many students do you admit each year to your MRes/PhD Programme?
Our programme is extremely competitive. We normally admit 4-5 students each year, and we offer fully funded School scholarships to all of them.

Application Process

How can I apply to the programme? What is the application deadline?
You should apply via the UCL Online Application System here. Our application deadline for September 2023 entry is 15 February 2023 with a late submission window closing on 31 March 2023. We advise those interested in the programme to apply before 15 February 2023, as we will allocate most (if not all) of the available places and scholarships with this deadline and those applying in the late submission window will only be considered if there are still places remaining. 
What should I include in my application?
In addition to filling out the online application form here, you need to upload a copy of the following documents: (i) CV/Resume, (ii) Official Transcripts of Grades/Course marks, (iii) 1 page Personal Statement, (iv) your GRE score report, if you took the test, and (v) your IELTS/TOEFL score report, if required.
Do I need to contact faculty members before submitting my application?
No, in fact, we strongly discourage applicants from contacting individual faculty members or potential supervisors when applying to our programme. All applications are first evaluated by a joint admissions committee, so contacting potential supervisors separately will not increase your chances. It is only in your personal statement that you are expected to suggest several faculty members as potential supervisors. But again, these faculty members need not be contacted beforehand. 
May I schedule an appointment with the Programme Director to discuss my application?
Due to the extremely high volume of applications received, it is not possible for the Programme Director to meet personally with applicants. If you are shortlisted, you will be offered an interview in person or online if you are overseas.

Admissions Requirements

Can I get a waiver for GRE if I have a Master’s degree in the UK?
No waiver is needed. Submitting a GRE test result is encouraged but not compulsory and is only one of the components used to assess the strength of applications. 
Can I submit my application if I have not yet taken TOEFL/IELTS tests?
While we highly recommend you submit your application here once it is fully completed, you can still submit the application if you have not taken these tests yet. But, you should indicate in your Personal Statement when you plan to take these tests and we will not make a final decision before seeing the test results.
What are the English language requirements for the programme?

Students are required to possess a “Level 2” English language qualification if it is not their first language. This means:
TOEFL: Score of 96, plus 24/30 in the reading and writing, and 22/30 in the listening and speaking subtests.
IELTS: Overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the subtests.

I only have an undergraduate (e.g. bachelors) degree, and no Masters. Can I still apply to your programme?
No, applicants must hold a distinction in a Master’s degree in Economics or a closely related subject.
I have the following qualifications…Will I be admitted to the programme?
We must see a fully completed application, including reference letters, transcripts, statement of purpose, and test scores in order to make decisions about admissions. We are unable to comment on your suitability, chances or international qualifications based on information supplied by email. UCL Admissions checks and must approve all completed applications and qualifications before the School can make a final admissions offer.

Funding

What are the fees for the programme? Are there PhD funding/scholarships available for international (e.g., non EU) students?
The School provides fully-funded five-year scholarships (including all tuition fees and stipend) to qualified candidates regardless of their nationality or citizenship.
Are there additional funding opportunities available?
We can provide Teaching and Research Assistantships to qualified PhD students. Applicants are also encouraged to explore other UCL funding opportunities and external funding sources.

Further Information

If you have any other questions regarding the programme that are not addressed on our web pages please email the programme administrator Amy Evison (mgmt-pgr@ucl.ac.uk)

Last updated Tuesday, 8 November 2022