The Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD in Economics trains scholars to do rigorous research and analysis in Economics. It is a highly selective and carefully planned programme delivered by a team of internationally recognized professors who are actively engaged in research at the frontiers of economics knowledge, and who are dedicated to teaching and training the next generation of economics researchers and thinkers, teachers and policymakers.

Our graduates often go on to become professors in universities where they work to extend and transmit knowledge of our economies. Many graduates also go on to work in the industry, the public sector, and in international organizations where they apply their economics knowledge and research capabilities to improve the economic condition of their firms, industries, countries, and the world.

SMU’s School of Economics is globally recognized as a leading research center. In Tilburg University’s ‘Top 100 Economics Schools Research Ranking,’ based on publications in leading journals between 2011 and 2015, it was ranked 2nd in Asia, and among the top 60 in the world. In the sub-discipline of econometrics, it is ranked within the top 5 globally.

Broad research strengths include Econometrics; Game Theory, Social Choice & Mechanism Design; Macroeconomics; Health Economics; Industrial Organisation; International Trade; Labour, Human Capital & Education; and Real Estate & Urban Economics.

PhD in Economics Programme Structure

The PhD in Economics is a full-time programme, with a maximum candidature of five years. In the first two years of study, students will enroll in intensive courses to build their research depth and breadth. The coursework is intended to prepare students for dissertation research. Students are required to sit for a PhD Qualifying Examination (QE) to assess their mastery of fundamental concepts and theories. On successful completion of the QE, the student will be ready to embark on the dissertation, which is based on original, independent research.


As part of the programme, there is a PhD Dissertation. It includes:

Oral Defence of the Dissertation Proposal
This is an oral presentation of the proposed topic to a Dissertation Committee. A written dissertation proposal will have to be submitted before the presentation. A supervisor, with the expertise in the chosen topic, will be appointed. He or she guides and mentors the student throughout the dissertation work.

Oral Defence and Completion of the PhD Dissertation
This is an oral presentation of the written dissertation report to the Committee. After possible revision(s) to the report and upon fulfillment of all necessary requirements, the Committee will recommend to the University to award the PhD degree.

Admission Requirements

  • At least a good Bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree is useful but not required. Applicants must have a strong mathematical background, ideally including multivariable calculus (typically covered over two courses of calculus at the undergraduate level), real analysis, intermediate level linear algebra, and a strong foundation in probability and statistics.
  • Good GRE or GMAT results.
  • Good TOEFL or IELTS scores (for applicants whose medium of instruction at the Bachelor’s/Master’s level was not in English).

PhD Students’ Professional Development

Students are also provided professional training. These include teaching, English communications and presentation skills, as well as career development workshops such as interview preparation. Furthermore, students also have opportunities to share their research contributions with the international research community through reputable refereed research conferences, in Singapore and abroad. SMU provides funding for our students to attend such conferences.


Scholarships available

The Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Programmes: Research Excellence across Management, Social Science & Computing

A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is known internationally for its world-class research and distinguished teaching. It generates leading-edge research with global impact and aims to produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders. Home to over 8,300 undergraduate and postgraduate students, SMU is known for its interactive and technologically-enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes. The university comprises six schools – School of Accountancy, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Economics, School of Information Systems, School of Law and School of Social Sciences – offering a wide range of Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degree programmes in various disciplines.

SMU offers four PhD programmes:

  1. PhD in Business, with specializations in:
  • Finance

<li> Marketing</li> <li> Operations Management</li> <li> Organisational Behaviour &amp; Human Resources</li> <li> Strategic Management &amp; Organisation</li> PhD in Economics PhD in Psychology PhD in Information Systems (computing as well as management)

Benefits of Pursuing the SMU PhD

  • SMU prepares our PhD students to become world-class academic or industry thought leaders in their specialized fields by providing opportunities for deeper integration across management, social science, and computing. Our students are well equipped to create or generate impactful and real-world solutions. SMU encourages our students to undertake multidisciplinary research during their PhD journey.
  • There are also many opportunities for our PhD students to participate in research and teaching teams at the schools as well as SMU research centers and institutes comprising internationally-known faculty members who are experts in their specialized fields.
  • Over and above academic training, SMU PhD students also participate in professional development activities (such as presentation and teaching skills training). This training is useful to them during their PhD studies as well as after they graduate.
  • Being on a city campus, PhD students have easy access to industry partners who provide research data and validation platforms as well as SMU’s research facilities which include proprietary and published databases.
  • SMU provides our PhD students with scholarships that cover tuition fees and provide living stipends as well as provides generous conference funding for students to share their research contributions with the international research community.
  • Our PhD graduates have found good placements at prestigious academic institutions and industry organisations.
Program taught in:
Singapore Management University

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Last updated May 24, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
4 - 5 years
- Scholarships available
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Closing date for applications is 31 Jan 2019
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