PhD study in Economics

The Department of Economics runs a small, but growing PhD programme. We are only a small department but have an excellent research reputation in the School and both nationally and internationally. Most of our staff regularly publish research papers in the top peer-reviewed journals in their respective areas. 
There are three key aspects PhD applicants need to address early on:

  1. Funding
  2. A research supervisor in the field of interest
  3. Having a suitable academic background for the research activity (including Academic English for students with English as a foreign language)

For further informaton on how to apply for doctoral studies with the Waikato Management school email [email protected] and request the email info pack.


It is expected that applicants approach the department when they already have some source of either secure or likely funding. Funding for PhD studies can sometimes be supplemented by departmental funding (e.g. working as research or teaching assistant), but this funding is normally extremely competitive and directed as a matter of priority to senior PhD candidates close to project completion. The New Zealand Government offers International Doctorate Research Scholarships. More information on this is to be found here.

Other potential sources of funding for postgraduate students are listed here.

Research supervision in the field of interest

In order to identify whether there is a potential match of research interest between a candidate and members of staff in the Economics Department, we encourage perspective applicants to visit the web pages of members of the Department of Economics to become familiar with the research projects that are run by our staff members. You can find this information from our "People" page. A list of research publications for each staff member can be obtained from their profile page, or from our "Research" page.

The Department of Economics also has an active Working Paper series, which most members of staff contribute their unpublished manuscripts to.

After having studied carefully the research areas in which member of staff have been active, and having found a potential match, potential PhD candidates are encouraged to informally contact those members of staff that share their research interest by e-mail. This must happen before lodging a formal application, so that the potential supervisor can develop a clear understanding of whether the candidate should be encouraged to formally apply. Our department receives many informal enquiries but because of the limited range of research interest only a fraction of these reach the level of a formal application.

Suitable academic background

It is typically expected that a candidate pursuing a PhD in Economics by research will have had exposure to all the necessary methodological and theoretical skills to independently carry out a research project. This involves familiarity with advanced topics in econometrics, microeconomic analysis and/or macroeconomic analysis as well as a good level of quantitative skills involving calculus and algebra. An MSc in Economics (or equivalent) from a well established university is normally a pre-requisite. Even candidates with an MSc in Economics (or equivalent) may be required to take further taught papers at the graduate level in order to fulfil areas in which their background is considered lacking.