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Economics PhD program information

Admission requirements

The admission requirements for the Economics PhD program reflect the advanced knowledge in economics that students will require in order to undertake the coursework component of the degree, as well as evidence of sufficient research experience and skills to indicate that students can successfully complete the research component of the degree. To be admitted into the PhD Program in Economics, candidates must have one of the following:

  1. A degree of bachelor with first or upper second class honours in economics from an approved university;
  2. A degree of bachelor with first or upper second class honours in mathematics and/or statistics from an approved university which includes a major (or equivalent) in economics, and have obtained a pass at least at the level of distinction in a third-year economics course;
  3. The ANU Master of Economics, or an equivalent postgraduate qualification from an approved university, with results that are deemed by the Convener to be at least equivalent to upper second class honours at ANU.

Furthermore, an applicant will have to show evidence of the following:

  • advanced knowledge of microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory and econometrics;
  • an adequate background in mathematical methods and mathematical economics (at a minimum, at the level of the book Mathematics for Economists by Simon and Blume);
  • evidence of research experience, e.g., in the form of an honours or masters thesis or research project, at a standard equivalent to an upper second class honours degree.

If you satisfy the eligibility criteria and have identified a potential supervisor, then apply on-line.

Additional material to upload with your application should include:

  • transcripts from previous study,
  • a brief research proposal that outlines your proposed area of research and the questions that you are planning to address as part of your PhD thesis, and,
  • as much detail as possible about your previous study in economics (e.g., course outlines of advanced economic theory and econometrics courses taken, details of textbooks used, and examples of written work, such as an honours or masters thesis).

You should ask the referees to send their reports directly to hdr.admissions@anu.edu.au.

GRE requirement

Applicants must also submit their GRE General Test results as part of their application.

Applicants who have already completed part of the coursework required for the PhD as part of an ANU Master of Economics or ANU Honours in Economics degree, are exempted from the GRE requirement. Furthermore, applicants who have completed an Honours in Economics degree from an Australian or New Zealand University are also exempted, but are encouraged to provide GRE results to improve their chances of admission and scholarship support.

English language requirements

All students must satisfy the University’s English Language Admission Requirements. In particular, an international student who is not a native English speaker may satisfy these requirements by submitting evidence of an IELTS with an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component less than 6.0, or a paper-based TOEFL score of at least 570 with at least 4.5 in the essay component.

Offers of admission

After your application and all its supporting documents (including referee reports) are received by the Admissions Office, your file will be forwarded to the PhD convenor. If you are assessed to have satisfied the eligibility criteria, and your area of interest matches the interests of an ANU economist with available supervisory capacity, then you may be issued an offer of admission. Note, however, that since admission is competitive and supervisory capacity is limited, offers of admission will not be issued until after the relevant application deadlines, irrespective of the date when you submit your application.

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Coursework component

Research component

Duration: 2 to 4 years full time (4 to 8 years part time)

CRICOS #: 048345A

PhD program structure

Coursework component (Part A)

Pre-PhD Course

All admitted students are expected to arrive in Canberra four to six weeks before the beginning of the semester and attend the pre-PhD course in Mathematical Techniques for Advanced Economic Analysis.


Candidates are normally required to successfully complete eight semester-length courses (including four compulsory courses) over two consecutive semesters of full-time study. Candidates holding the ANU Master of Economics degree may be exempted from part of the coursework requirement, at the discretion of the PhD convenor.

The coursework for the PhD in Economics consists of the following:

  • ECON8011 Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON8022 Macroeconomic Theory
  • EMET8014 Fundamentals of Econometric Methods
  • At least one of:
  • Four electives chosen from the list below.

Elective Courses are chosen in accordance with the candidate's research interests and on the advice of the candidate's supervisor from the list below. All courses listed are at the graduate (8000) level. Note that not all courses are offered in all years. Check for availability.

Courses offered by the Research School of Economics

ECON8001 Topics in Macroeconomics
ECON8002 Applied Welfare Economics 
ECON8003 Economic Policy Issues 
ECON8006 International Trade Theory 
ECON8009 International Monetary Economics 
ECON8010 The Economics of Taxation and Redistribution
ECON8015 International Economics 
ECON8021 Topics in Microeconomic Theory 
ECON8034 Public Sector Economics
ECON8037 Financial Economics 
ECON8038 Industrial Organisation 
ECON8039 Health Economics
ECON8040 Resource and Environmental Economics
ECON8041 Labour Economics & Industrial Relations 
ECON8047 Law and Economics 
ECON8050 Economic Growth 
ECON8053 Game Theory
ECON8057 Industrial Organisation
ECON8070 Political Economy of Macroeconomic Policy 
ECON8071 Modelling the Open Economy 
ECON8013 Mathematical Techniques in Economics I 
ECON8014 Mathematical Techniques in Economics II
ECON8076 Topics in Game Theory
ECON8080 Advanced Behavioral Economics
EMET8001 Applied Micro-Econometrics
EMET8010 Applied Macro & Financial Econometrics 
EMET8012 Business & Economic Forecasting 
EMET8008 Econometric Theory

In addition, specialist graduate courses taught in other schools or departments at the ANU – e.g.,MathematicsFinance and Applied Statistics, or at the Crawford School of Public Policy – can also be approved by the PhD convenor in exceptional circumstances.

Research component (Part B)

Upon completing successfully the compulsory courses and electives in Part A, and with the approval of the Research and HDR committee, students proceed to the research component (Part B) of their program. Any student with two or more fails cannot to proceed to Part B.

Part B normally takes 36 months of full-time research. During this time, each candidate writes a thesis which, upon completion, is submitted for examination. The thesis is examined by two to three examiners who are experts in the relevant field. The PhD degree is awarded solely on the basis of the examination of the thesis. The examiners would be aware that the candidate has completed coursework requirements, but the level of performance in coursework is not taken into account in examining the candidate for the award of the degree.

During Part B, each candidate is expected to present their research at one of the seminars run by the Research School of Economics, in each of the three years of research (when studying on a full-time basis). In their final year candidates are also required to give a final presentation (Oral Presentation) that is usually held three months before thesis submission.

The thesis topic and the supervisory panel

When a PhD student is admitted to candidature, a provisional supervisor, usually the PhD convenor, has the responsibility of overseeing the student's candidature until a principal supervisor is appointed. The Director of the School and PhD convenor determine the principal supervisor and supervisory panel in consultation with the student. Sometimes students change their topic, and this could necessitate changes in the supervisory panel. These are coordinated by the principal supervisor or the PhD convenor. All supervisory changes have to be approved by the convenor of the Program.

Progress milestones

It is University policy that each candidate's progress be reviewed periodically. Each year, PhD candidates are required to submit a Progress Report/Annual Plan, which summarises progress and identifies any difficulties or changes to the previous research plan and outlines the intended research to be undertaken over the next twelve months. The Progress Report and the Annual Plan form the basis for the Annual Review.

In addition to these, in the second year, candidates must submit a Thesis Proposal for review by the supervisory panel. The Thesis Proposal is generally submitted in conjunction with the candidate's first seminar presentation, and includes a description of the research to be undertaken in the thesis, and a summary of the structure of the thesis and its time plan. The purpose of the Review is to assess the originality, significance, adequacy and achievability of the candidate's thesis plan. Please see Research Student Milestones for further details.

Thesis Submission and Examination

Please refer to the ANU thesis submission guidelines.

Updated:   16 February 2017 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team