Postgraduate students in the School of Economics are encouraged to choose their area of study.

The School of Economics is strongly committed to providing each PGR student with dedicated supervision and support throughout the four years of the PhD programme. In the recent Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES 2019), our PGR students awarded the School excellent scores including 100% for Supervision.

The allocation of individual supervisors to students begins with the research proposal submitted by prospective students in their application process. In principle, applicants can submit research proposals based on any relevant topic in economics, and the School will check, as part of the selection process, the availability of at least two faculty members willing to offer supervision. In some specific areas of economics, the School exhibits highly specialized knowledge and, hence, higher capacity to supervise PhD projects:

  • Big data methods
  • Collective decision making and group formation
  • Competition in digital markets
  • Development and environmental economics
  • Dynamic macroeconomics and growth
  • Economics of networks
  • Empirical evaluation of competition/competition policy
  • Experimetrics
  • Financial economics and econometrics
  • Heuristics and biases in decision making
  • Industrial organisation
  • Origins and consequences of conflict
  • Strategic reasoning and identity in groups and teams

Moreover, every Academic Year, different Research Groups of the School of Economics can propose project outlines that prospective students can elaborate on while designing their own project proposal – these projects will be given particular attention during the selection process.


2022 Entry

For prospective students applying during the 2021-22 year (starting the PhD program in October 2022), project outlines will be offered by the research groups Behavioural Economics and Applied Econometrics and Finance.

The details of such project outlines are listed below:

Project outline of Biased Beliefs, Social Norms and Disadvantaged Groups Social norms, the shared beliefs about acceptable behavior, constitute the informal rules that regulate behaviour in groups and societies. Beliefs about social norms, as well as beliefs about the repercussions should these norms be transgressed, can be an important determinant of behavior in social settings.

The proposed research focuses on the identification of (biased) beliefs about social norms pertaining to individuals from disadvantaged groups (such as women and ethnic minorities). The objective would be to use various empirical methods, such as surveys and experiments, to identify opportunities for change. Our primary hypothesis is that individuals have inaccurate or biased beliefs about social norms, and that interventions that effectively correct these beliefs can support the behavior change required to reduce discrimination and economic inequalities.

The proposed research therefore links the growing literature examining the importance of beliefs about social norms in shaping behavior, and the extensive literature in economics tackling issues on the discrimination of disadvantaged groups.

Research Team: You would be working with Professor Ben D'Exelle and Dr Boon Han Koh (and possibly other behavioural economists in the School).

Using Behavioural Economics to Understand Clinical Trial Result Generalisability”. Medical research often involves randomised controlled trials to, for example, estimate the effectiveness of a new drug. The basic idea is that patients are recruited onto a trial, randomised into treatment and control groups, where the former receives the drug and the latter receives a placebo.

By comparing patient outcomes across the two groups, inferences are drawn about the effectiveness of the drug for the patient population at large. However, if the patients recruited onto a clinical trial are not a representative sample of the overall patient population, trial results will not necessarily hold out of sample. It is therefore important to understand how patients who participate in clinical trials differ from those in the general patient population (and the implications thereof).

Collaborating with colleagues in the Norwich Medical School and stakeholders in healthcare, the student will design and carry out experiments and interventions to estimate how patients who participate in clinical trials differ in their behavioural characteristics (e.g. risk-aversion and social preferences) from those who do not participate in clinical trials. In addition to contributing to the academic literature, this research has the scope to inform the development of interventions to increase inclusivity and representivity of clinical trials – which would ultimately lead to better healthcare for all.

Research Team: Dr Amrish Patel, Dr Stefan Penczynski, Professor Ted Turocy.


Candidates interested in these themes should present their own proposal mentioning the project title and submitting their application by the same deadline that is relevant for studentships offered by the School of Economics.

Besides these field-specific opportunities, all prospective students interested in any field of economics should check the individual pages of the School’s Academic Staff and their publications in order to identify potential supervisors for their projects. Members of faculty are pleased to be approached by prospective PhD candidates about the kinds of research they can supervise.