PhD in Economics

“The University of Barcelona (UB) offers you the opportunity to undertake research in a wide range of fields of economics taking part of an international PhD programme in the vibrant city of Barcelona. The PhD in Economics programme is one of only a handful of programmes in Spain to have received the Ministry of Education’s quality award for research excellence.


We offer an active and stimulating environment organizing weekly research seminars, PhD students’ seminars, workshops, conferences, courses and research activities in which students are invited to participate.


The programme prepares PhD students for the academic job market. Former PhD students have been placed in academic research institutions in the US and Europe (LSE, University of Sussex, University of Warwick, Northwestern University, Heidelberg University…) as well as international organizations and governmental institutions.”

Who should apply?

You might be interested on applying if you are looking for

  • One of the few programs recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education’s quality award.
  • A wide range of qualified supervisors specializing in a variety of areas of economics research areas
  • Close research supervision and frequent interactions with faculty and international visitors.
  • Weekly research seminars, work-in-progress presentations and other research activities.

If you are considering to apply, you are expected to have

AAcademic requirements, different admission pathways are available:

  • Master in Economics from UB, with a satisfactory scholastic average (GPA).
  • Master in Economics from another institution:
    • Direct admission if the master’s content is equivalent to that offered at UB with a satisfactory scholastic average (GPA).
    • Admission conditional on completion of courses’ requirement decided by the PhD Committee.
  • University master’s degree in a field other than Economics: To be admitted student must complete 40 credits from  master’s course and the master’s dissertation. Students must have a satisfactory scholastic average (GPA).


BEnglish level

  • Applicants will be required to demonstrate  a sufficient level of English (for more information contact us).


COther requirements

  • Two letters of reference (you should indicate the reference names in the application form. An email will be send to them asking for the letters)
  • Statement of purpose
  • The candidate’s GRE (not compulsory)
Programme overview

The research period consists on the completion of a Doctoral thesis on one of these fields of research under the supervision of some faculty members.  The standard PhD full time takes an average of a minimum of three years although you do not have to carry out a full-time research. If you would prefer to do a part-time PhD, we would allow you to register as a part-time student, which takes an average of a minimum of five years.

Every PhD student has a monitoring committee that evaluates the initial Research Plan and its progress in an annual basis until the reading and defense of the Doctoral thesis.

You can find the detailed structure of the PhD programme below:


Following the regulation of the PhD program of the University of Barcelona, before ending the first academic year, each student has to present his/her own Research Plan.

The student has to write the Research Plan and to present it in front of a Commission


AResearch Plan: The document

The document has to detail:
1 Name of the student, PhD supervisor/s and Title of the PhD

2 Motivation of the research and contribution to the literature

3 Objectives of the Thesis

4 Methodological approach and databases

5 Structure of the Thesis (number of chapters and contents)

6 Main bibliographical references

7 Work plan (schedule) of the research (detailing the calendar for the development of each part/chapter of the Thesis)

The text has to have an extension between 3.000-5.000 words (without the bibliographical references) and has to be written in English.


BResearch Plan: The public presentation

The public presentation of the Research Plans of all the students in front of an evaluating Commission. Each student will have 10 minutes for the presentation. The presentation has to be in English.


From the 2nd academic year, the PhD Commission evaluates the progress of the Research Plan and other Complementary Activities.

The Academic PhD Commission has decided that the evaluation of the Progress of your PhD will have 2 parts:


AA written Progress Report 


The progress of the PhD Thesis (written in a report) has to be evaluated by your thesis committee. In April, students will receive the detailed procedure information.

The report should contain the following sections (comprising a maximum of 1,500 words):

1   STATE of advancement of the research tasks foreseen in the doctoral thesis Project.

2 CONTRIBUTIONS achieved with the research and the most significant results produced to date.

3 EXTERNAL EVALUATIONS of different parts of the research: presentations in congresses, seminars, workshops, publications in collections of working documents, reviews,…

4 SCHEDULE of the research and its expected contributions.


The report has to be submitted annually. In April the students will receive the detailed information procedure.


BA public presentation of one or more of your papers


The PhD comission organizes a Doctoral Day in which students will be invited to present a paper of their PhD Thesis. This activity is celebrated in December and is accesible to all PhD students in Economics.

Length: 25´
Commission: 3 members of the Faculty. Each student will have a discussant.


Full-time students: In December of the second academic year.

Part-time students: In December of the third academic year. If you are interested in presenting your paper in the second academic year, you should contact with the PhD in Economics director.

In June, the students will receive the detailed information procedure.

During the research period of the PhD in Economics, students write a doctoral thesis: it is an original piece of research assessed by an examination panel comprised of researchers with doctorates and proven research experience.


The aim of this document is to guide doctoral students in the last stage of writing the doctoral thesis. It describes basic formatting requirements and the administrative procedure for submitting and defending a thesis.

Each year the PhD student has to fill out the “Document of activities”. In this document the PhD student lists the research activities done during the academic year. The PhD Commission will evaluate this document in June.


1 Attendance to research seminars at the Faculty of Economic and Business

The research groups of the Faculty offer a series of periodical seminars. To complete this activity the PhD student has to attend a minimum of:

Full time student: 20 seminars/academic year
Part time student: 12 seminars/academic curs

You will be able to register the attendances in the seminar register document. At the same time, you will receive the UB Economics newsletter with the seminars offered in the Faculty and you can also find updated information about these activities at the UB Economics website.


2 PhD in Economics Workshop

In December, the PhD in Economics Academic Commission organizes the ‘PhD in Economics Workshop’ in which students are invited to present a paper of their PhD Thesis.

This activity is compulsory for all PhD students (Full-time: 3rd academic year. Part-time: 4th academic year). The PhD in Economics Workshop is also open to other PhD students from the third year onwards.

For students belonging to the research groups of the Faculty organizing similar activities, the PhD Commission will also recognize them.


3 Job market session

In this session it will be explained how the Job Market in Economics works and some Post Doctoral fellows of our Faculty will explain their experiences. This activity is specially designed for PhD students in the last academic years.

Last edition

On April 27th 2015 took place the ‘Introduction Session to the Job Market’ at the UB Faculty of Economics and Business. The session was given by:

Camille Hémet (PhD in Economics at Sciences Po):  Preparing for the Job Market

The informative talk was opened to all PhD Students, specially for PhD students who are considering to defend their thesis dissertation along the next year.


4 Courses

During the academic year, and depending on the demand, the PhD Commission could offer some specific courses.


5 Other activities

The PhD Commission will recognize other activities done by PhD students such as presenting papers or attending Seminars, Conferences of Workshops, attending specialized courses, publishing working papers or visiting other universities or research institutions.

How to apply?


Application period (online)

Applications for the PhD programme starting from the fall of 2015 are now closed. 

Applications for the 2016/2017 academic year will open on January 2nd 2016.


Admissions Committee resolutions


Send the required documentation


PhD School final approval



In order to submit your application you should fill the online application form (APPLY NOW). Here you will include all the necessary information to be academically evaluated by the PhD Commission.

The PhD in Economics programme typically receives over 150 applications and admits between 12 and 15 students each year. Consequently we encourage candidates to apply as early as possible.

IMPORTANT: In case of being academically admitted (STEP 2) we will inform you about the following steps.

Fees and funding


The annual tuition academic fees for this academic year 2015/2016 are 540,92€. In addition, students with an international degree should pay 218,15€ during the enrolment period. Finally, the cost of the thesis defense is 156,87€.

In this sense, the total amount of the PhD’s fees according this academic year (at minimum):

Full-time PhD (3 years): 1.779,63€

Part-time PhD (5 years): 2.861,47€

Funding Oportunities

FIRST STEP: Check out the schedule HERE.


1 FPU (Spanish Goverment) Scholarship 

  • Deadline for applications: February 6th 2015

2 FI (Catalan Goverment) Scholarship – NEW!

  • Deadline for applications: September 22nd 2015

3 La Caixa Scholarship

  • Deadline for applications: February 23rd 2015

4 APIF (Universitat de Barcelona) Scholarship – NEW!

  • Deadline for applications: September 29th 2015

5 UB Economics TA Scholarships 2015

6 Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB) and Department of Public Economics (University of Barcelona): PhD Scholarships 2015

  • Deadline for applications: May 20th 2015

7 Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB) and the Chair of Energy Sustainability (University of Barcelona): 1 PhD Scholarship 2015

  • Deadline for applications: May 20th 2015

8 Center for Agro-food Economy and Development (CREDA-UPC-IRTA): 1 PhD Scholarship 2015 – call to be announced on September 2015 –


You can find information at the University of Barcelona’s website.


1  CIMO Fellowships (Finland)

2  Finnish Government Scholarship Pool

3  Swiss Goverment Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists

4  Japanese Goverment Scholarships (Monbukagakusho)

5  Fullbright Schuman

6  RSM Fellowships Program – The World Bank

7  European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship Programme

8  APIF (Universitat de Barcelona) Mobility Scholarships 

9  Fundació Montcelimar – Universitat de Barcelona Mobility Grants. Deadline for applications: March 13th 2015

10  Inves 2015 Research Grants, Fundació Banc Sabadell. Deadline for applications: March 1st 2015.

11  Mobility grants between institutions related to AUIP (Postgraduate Iberoamerican University Association). Deadline for applications: March 31st 2015 for stays as of July – December 2015



1 BEI – Banco Santander - Loans for postgraduate studies

Apply now
Apply now

Apply now

Submit your application to the PhD in Economics at Universitat de Barcelona
Apply Now