We train you to undertake rigorous research and analysis in economics so that you could excel in your research area and become a top economics researcher.

We have a team of internationally recognised faculty members who are actively engaged in research at the frontiers of economics knowledge.

We offer interaction opportunities with many of the top researchers in economics, through our extensive seminar and visitor programmes.

Our graduates often go on to be professors in universities where they work to extend and to transmit knowledge of our economies. They also work in industry, the public sector, and in international organisations where they apply their economics knowledge and research capabilities to improve the economic condition of their firm, their industry, their country, or the world in general

SMU’s School of Economics is recognised internationally as a leading centre for economics research. In Tilburg University’s ‘Top 100 Economics Schools Research Ranking,’ based on publications in leading journals, it is ranked 4th in Asia. It is ranked within the top 5 globally in econometrics.

Programme Structure

The PhD in Economics programme is structured to lead you from classroom learning to research and paper writing, with many targets throughout for students to meet. Many of our students graduate with an academic publication in a top journal and our placement record is strong.

Year 1
Students spend their first year completing the following foundation courses.

  • Microeconomics I
  • Microeconomics II
  • Macroeconomics I
  • Macroeconomics II
  • Econometrics I
  • Econometrics II

At the end of Year 1, students must sit for, and pass the PhD Qualifying Examinations in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics before advancing in the programme.

Year 2
In the 2nd year, students take:

  • International Trade or International Macroeconomics Elective
  • Applied Econometrics (Empirical Research Project)
  • 8 Advanced Research Topics (ART) Courses

The Applied Econometrics course covers Applied Microeconometrics and Applied Macroeconometrics. It is graded on the basis of a submitted empirical paper.

Each ART is a six-week course. The set of ART courses that might be offered includes:

  • Macroeconomic Models with Financial Frictions
  • Modern Economic Growth
  • Industrial Organisation
  • Empirical Industrial Organisation
  • Labour Economics
  • Urban Economics
  • Nonparametric Econometrics
  • Bayesian Macroeconometrics
  • Advanced Topics in Time Series Econometrics
  • Financial Econometrics
  • Spatial Econometrics
  • Panel Data Econometrics
  • High-Frequency Econometrics
  • Political Economy
  • Public Economics
  • Decision Theory
  • Information Economics
  • Mechanism Design
  • Environmental Economics

Only a subset of the ARTs will be offered in any given year, depending on faculty availability.

Year 3
Students in their 3rd year are expected to:

  • Confirm a supervisor and committee, and pass the oral defence of PhD Dissertation Proposal
  • Complete a 3rd year paper Present at a School of Economics (SOE) Research Workshop

All students from the 3rd year onwards are expected to attend research workshops and the SOE Seminar Series.

The 3rd year paper must be an original piece of research, which would typically form the basis of at least one chapter of the student’s dissertation. While the paper may require substantial additional work and polishing before being ready for submission to a journal, the paper should be strong enough to be taken as a complete first draft or working paper.

A prize is awarded to the student with the best 3rd year paper, and this student will be nominated for the SMU Presidential Doctoral Fellowship.

Years 4 and 5

  • Oral Defence of Completed PhD Dissertation
  • Presentation at SOE Seminar Series

At different points in the programme, students may be required to attend certain ancillary programmes, including the Institutional Review Board training, the Graduate Development Programme (instructor training) and an English communication skills programme.

Students are also given financial assistance to attend and present their work at international research conferences, and we have a strong support structure for students entering the academic market, including presentation training and interview preparation. Most students enter the job market in their 5th year.

Admission Requirements
  • At least a good Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree is useful but not required.
  • Good GRE or GMAT results.
Dates & Fees

For more information on Application Dates, click here.

For more information on Fee, Scholarships and Finance matters, click here.

Contact Details

Office of Postgraduate Research Programmes
Administration Building, Level 12
81 Victoria Street
Singapore 188065

Tel: (65) 6828 0100