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


  • Master in Economics (MSc) or related fields with a satisfactory scholastic average (GPA).

(!) To enter a doctoral programme at the University of Barcelona, it is necessary to have completed 300 ECTS credits, and 60 of those have to correspond to an official graduate, research oriented master’s programme.


  • Two letters of reference (will be automatically requested to the referees indicated in the online application form)
  • Applicants will be required to demonstrate  a sufficient level of English (not compulsory if you are from or have studied in an English speaking country)
  • Letter of motivation
  • The candidate’s GRE (not compulsory)


  • Direct admission if the master content is equivalent to that offered at UB with a satisfactory scholastic average (GPA).
  • Admission with supplementary courses (up to three courses of 5 ECTS).
  • Fast Track (one academic year): To be considered for the PhD programme applicant must complete 40 ECTS and the Master Thesis Dissertation from the Master in Economics at the UB. Students must have a satisfactory scholastic average (GPA) to be admitted to the PhD Programme.
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.


You can enrol in the PhD programme as a full-time or part-time student. In both cases you will need the authorization of the Academic Committee and your advisor.


As a full-time student you are expected to:


1. Work full-time (morning and afternoon) on your thesis during the research period.
2. Defend your PhD thesis during the third academic year (you may request an exceptional extension of one or two years from the Academic Committee).
3. Attend complementary activities during the academic year.


As a part-time student you are expected to:


1. Work part-time during the research period. You must spend a total of at least 3 months per year at the UB.
2. Defend your PhD thesis during the fifth academic year (you may request an exceptional extension of one, two or three years from the Academic Committee).
3. Attend complementary activities during the academic year.


Monitoring and evaluation of PhD students is overseen by the Academic Committee, on the basis of reports submitted by the different evaluators.


During the research period the PhD in Economics Academic Committee will evaluate your research plan, your progress reports, the complementary activities and your PhD thesis.


Positive evaluation is a prerequisite for renewing enrolment each year and for authorization to proceed to the thesis defence.



During the first academic year you will work closely with your advisor(s) to write a detailed research plan, which must be presented to the Academic Committee.

Writing the research plan should help you structure and plan your work and the thesis itself. It will also help you gain valuable experience of writing research proposals.




The Academic Committee will evaluate your research plan and your presentation on the basis of the reports from your Thesis Committee and the report of the Assessment Committee:


  • Positive evaluation: you may continue your work towards the PhD.
  • Negative evaluation: you will be required to submit and present a revised research plan within the following 6 months. The Academic Commission issues a negative evaluation if only one negative report is received


Deadline for submissions: May 31st at 23.59h.



PhD students who have successfully presented the research plan must write a short report on their progress each year.The report summarizes the thesis content and the research progress made during the year. It may also indicate changes to the original research plan




The Academic Committee will evaluate your progress report on the basis of the reports received from the Thesis Committee:


  • Positive evaluation: you may continue your work towards the PhD.
  • Negative evaluation: if the Academic Committee issues a negative evaluation on the basis of the reports received from the Thesis Committee you may still enroll for the following year. However, if you receive two consecutive negative evaluations from the Academic Committee you will be removed from the PhD programme. The Academic Committee issues a negative evaluation if only one negative report is received.


Deadline for submissions: May 31st at 23.59h.

During the research period of the PhD in Economics, students write a thesis: an original piece of research assessed by an examination panel composed of PhD researchers.




Three-paper thesis. Commitment to quality: three potentially publishable contributions.




a) Preface: Acknowledgements
b) Contents, list of tables, list of figures
c) Chapter 1: Introduction
d) Chapters 2-4: Each chapter is a self-contained paper
e) Chapter 5: Conclusions
f) References




The aim of the Guide to the Writing and Defence of the Doctoral Thesis is to guide PhD students in the last stage of writing the doctoral thesis. It describes basic formatting requirements and the procedure for submitting and defending a thesis. You will find the document on the UB Economics web page.

Throughout the programme, PhD students are required to participate in a number of complementary activities and are also encouraged to publish their findings as their research progresses. All activities must be logged in an official record of activities.


Deadline for submissions: May 31st at 23.59h.



The Faculty of Economics and Business organizes weekly research seminars. You can consult the list of forthcoming seminars on the UB Economics web page and you will also be sent a newsletter every Friday informing you about the next week’s seminars.
You must meet the following attendance requirements:


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


You must register your attendance by signing the seminar registration sheet.




The Academic Committee organizes a PhD workshop at which students are invited to present a paper from their Thesis. The workshop takes place in December and is open to all PhD in Economics students from the third year onwards.


The presentation will be given in front of a senior discussant, a junior discussant and a member of the Academic Committee. Each student will have around 20 minutes for the presentation., which must be in English. The evaluation committee will have 8 minutes to discuss the paper.


  • Full-time students: 3rd academic year.
  • Part-time students: 4th academic year (if you are interested in presenting your paper in the 3rd academic year you should contact the programme director).




During this session you will learn how the UB Economics Job Market in Economics works and hear about the experiences of post-doctoral fellows from the Faculty of Economics and Business. It is specifically designed for PhD students in the last years of the programme.


Last edition


On April 26th 2016 took place the ‘Job Market Training Session’ at the UB Faculty of Economics and Business. The session was given by: Vahagn Jerbashian (PhD in Economics at CERGE-EI):  “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.




Complementary courses will be offered to graduate students during the academic year: to learn how to use the main research software programs such as STATA, LaTeX or MATLAB, or to improve other research skills. You will receive further details by email.




The PhD Commission will recognize other activities carried out by PhD students, such as presenting papers or attending seminars, conferences or workshops, attending specialized courses, publishing working papers or visiting other universities or research institutions.





The PhD in Economics Academic Commission actively supports PhD in Economics candidates who wish to conduct research as a visiting PhD student at another university or research centre outside Spain.


Research periods of more than three months may entitle the student to the international doctorate certification, which is added to the doctoral degree qualification following successful presentation and defence of the thesis.


In order to apply for the certification your visiting research stay has to be approved by the Academic Commission. Before your departure you must submit both (i) a letter of invitation and (ii) a specific request for authorization to the Academic Commission.


For more information contact to the UB Economics Team.




Students enrolled in a PhD programme can join us as a visiting research student, which is complementary to the PhD Research Project at your home university.


If you wish to come as a visiting research student you should first check among the UB Economics Faculty that we have academic staff in the research field who can supervise the research. If so, you should contact them to know if they are willing to supervise your reserach during your research stay.


Official letters of invitation and further details are provived by the host Department or the academic staff who will supervise you.


Information about the UB Economics research fields and Faculty can be found at the following link:

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 Opportunities

Check out the calendar HERE.

FPU (Spanish Goverment) Scholarship 

  • Deadline for applications: February 6th 2015

FI (Catalan Goverment) Scholarship – NEW!

  • Deadline for applications: September 22nd 2015

La Caixa Scholarship

  • Deadline for applications: February 23rd 2015

APIF (Universitat de Barcelona) Scholarship

  • Deadline for applications: September 29th 2015

UB Economics TA Scholarships 2016

  • Deadline for applications: TBA

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

  • Deadline for applications: May 20th 2015

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

  • Deadline for applications: May 20th 2015

Center for Agro-food Economy and Development (CREDA-UPC-IRTA): 1 PhD Scholarship 2016 – OPEN!

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


Bank of England PhD Internships

CIMO Fellowships (Finland)

Finnish Government Scholarship Pool

Swiss Goverment Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars and Artists

Japanese Goverment Scholarships (Monbukagakusho)

Fullbright Schuman

RSM Fellowships Program – The World Bank

European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship Programme

APIF (Universitat de Barcelona) Mobility Scholarships 

Fundació Montcelimar – Universitat de Barcelona Mobility Grants.

Inves 2015 Research Grants, Fundació Banc Sabadell

Mobility grants between institutions related to AUIP (Postgraduate Iberoamerican University Association).


BEI – Banco Santander - Loans for postgraduate studies

How to apply?


Applications for 2016/2017 academic year opens on January 2nd and closes on June 15th, 2016.


Applications must be submitted through the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM.

Application documents (one pdf file) uploaded to the application form in this order:

1. ID/Passport
2. CV
3. BSc transcript of grades
4. MSc transcript of grades (provisional or final version)
5. Proof of English level (not compulsory if you are from or have studied in an English speaking country)
6. GRE test result (not compulsory)
7. Letter of motivation
8. Master dissertation (If you are currently working on your Master dissertation or it is not in English, Spanish or Catalan please send an extended abstract in English, typically 3-5 pages)

(i) Two letters of recommendation will be automatically requested to the referees indicated in the online application form.

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.


FIRST PERIOD: Applications received from January 2nd to April 15th 2016: Resolutions on April 29th 2016

SECOND PERIOD: Applications received from April 16th to May 15th 2016: Resolutions on May 30th 2016

THIRD PERIOD: Applications received from May 16th to  June 15th 2016: Resolutions on June 30th 2016

(!) Applicants will receive the academic resolution by email.

In case of being admitted, you will be required to find a potential advisor(s) and provide us with the required documents in order to get the final approval and formalize the enrollment. More information will be provided to admitted students.