Doctor of Philosophy (Economics)

The NUS Economics Department is widely considered a world leading Economics Department and perhaps the best in Asia in terms of research. Doctoral students get the opportunity to interact with more than 50 faculty members, whose expertise cover all the major areas of economics.

The PhD program admits around ten students each year. For admission, a student should have a good honors degree (first class or second upper) or a good masters degree, either in Economics or in a field with a quantitative emphasis, such as mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering, or operations research.

Almost all students who are admitted to the program will receive NUS Research Scholarships; these scholarships provide full financial aid (covering both fees and living expenses) for four years and will typically require some teaching duties.   Students who continue into their 5th or 6th year may receive support through Research or Teaching Assistantships, or through the KR Chou and Goh Keng Swee PhD Scholarships in Economics.

Graduates of the NUS doctoral program go on to establish promising careers both within and outside academia.

Course Structure and Requirements

The first year of the PhD program is almost exclusively devoted to coursework, with research becoming increasingly significant in subsequent years.  Students are required to maintain a cumulative average point of 3.5 on their coursework modules.    The first year modules (all of which are compulsory) are the following:

Semester 1
EC5101 Microeconomic Theory
EC5102 Macroeconomic Theory
EC5103 Econometric Modelling and Applications I
EC5104 Mathematics for Economists

Semester 2
EC6101 Advanced Microeconomic Theory
EC6102 Advanced Macroeconomic Theory
EC6103 Econometric Modelling and Applications II
EC6104 Advanced Mathematics for Economists

In the second year, students are required to take at least four more taught modules (from a list of optional modules), in addition to beginning work on their thesis.

Students admitted to the doctoral program are expected to pass the Qualifying Examinations within the first two years of their admission.  These examinations have two principal requirements:  passing the comprehensive written examinations and submission of a thesis proposal.

The comprehensive examinations consist of two exam papers, one each in micro- and macroeconomics.  Students would normally take the exams at the beginning of the long summer break at the end of the first year; those who fail on either exam paper will have one opportunity to re-take that exam paper within six months of the first attempt.

The submission and oral defense of the thesis proposal normally takes place in the latter half of the second year.

Students who fail the Qualifying Examinations would often be permitted to transfer to the Master of Social Sciences program; relevant course credits earned on the doctoral program would also be transferred.

From the third year onwards, students would concentrate on research on their doctoral thesis.  It would typically take another two to four years to complete the thesis.

Language and Writing Requirements   Students who have graduated from universities where English is not the medium of instruction may be required to undergo a Graduate English Course.   In addition, all students are required to attend and pass a short course on academic writing in the second year of the doctoral program.

Intake and Application Procedures

Students are admitted to the program once each year, at the beginning of the academic year in August.

Applications for admission in a given year are considered in the last quarter of the year preceding that.   Applications received before September 30th will be considered for early offers made by the end of November.  The deadline for all applications is November 1st.   Application outcomes will be made known by the end of March.

The online application system is available here. More information on the application procedures can be found here.