Prospective PhD students

As a postgraduate research student in Economics at Reading you will be part of a vibrant community, working alongside a thriving group of young and established researchers.

While we welcome research proposals on any economics topic, it is strongly recommended that your proposal lies within the research and supervision interests of one or more staff members, which you can find below. On this page you can also find specific projects that you can join as part of your PhD. We also welcome visiting PhD students, see below for more information. Also see our guide for Current and Prospective Economics PhD students.

Our PhD programme

The Department of Economics has a long and established track record of research, working with a wide variety of industrial and academic partners to achieve significant social and economic benefits. We are part of the larger School of Politics, Economics and International Relations. We have an active community of 20-30 PhD students. Find out about our current PhD students and our recent placements and Job Market Candidates.

World-leading research

The University is ranked 10th in the UK for our research impact for Business and Management Studies (Times Higher Education Institutions Ranked by Subject, 2014, based on its analysis of REF 2014), with 100% of both our research impact and research environment judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent. (Research Excellence Framework, 2014). Find out more on our research website.  Research activity within the Department is broad and extensive; among our most active fields are business economics, development economics, behavioural economics, labour economics and sports economics.

We have active collaborations with other departments within the University as well as with external institutions.


We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over three years and part-time over four to six years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, or at a distance for students who live outside the UK.


Over the course of your PhD you will also be involved in opportunities to communicate your work and network with other researchers, present a seminar, speak at conferences and workshops, and visit or host researchers from elsewhere.


In the first two years of your degree course, you will benefit from a programme of relevant postgraduate courses which will be agreed between you and your supervisor/s as well as a programme of transferable skills organised by the Graduate School.


Our PhD students go on to work in academia, but also quickly find employment in industry.

Research groups

Research in the department is organised into several research groups and clusters. PhD students are assigned to one or more of these

PhD Projects

The Economics of Superstars: Wages in Sport – understanding using primary data the changes over the postwar period in sport for its foremost performers (Supervisors: Professor James Reade and Dr Sarah Jewell)

Men and women in managerial leadership positions: the case of football (Supervisors: Professor Marina Della Giusta and Professor James Reade)

Applied Economics: What works for firms and the gender pay gap? (Supervisors: Professor Giovanni Razzu and Dr Carl Singleton)

Functional Data Analysis in Finance (Supervisor: Dr Shixuan Wang)

Find a Supervisor

  • Steven Bosworth ( Steven welcomes PhD applications in the field of behavioural and experimental economics, but has a particular interest in supervising proposals which investigate
    • human cooperation within and between organisations and the institutions which support it,
    • the economic determinants and consequences of social identity (e.g. gender, class, ethnicity, ideology).

Applicants’ comfort with a range of quantitative methods is considered essential. These may include game theory, panel data econometrics, and survey/ experimental design.

  • Dr Simon Burke ( My research concentrates on time series methods in economics and finance, both applied and theoretical. I have specific interests in non-stationary processes and in dynamic higher order moments of time series distributions. I would be interested in co-supervision in applied settings where issues of this type arise and provide potential insight into applied problems.
  • Dr Vivien Burrows ( I am interested in supervising research in the fields of housing economics and household finance, in particular topics that relate to household saving and borrowing decisions, the intergenerational transmission of wealth, equity withdrawal and consumption behaviour, and house price uncertainty.
  • Dr Sophie Clot ( I welcome inquiries from research students interested in the application of behavioural economics to environmental and/or development issues.
  • Dr Ken Dark ( I am happy to supervise research students working on the archaeology or history of Europe (including Britain) and the Mediterranean region in the 1st millennium AD.
  • Dr Hussein Hassan ( I will be interested in supervising students interested in empirical macroeconomic models. More specifically, these are my area of interest: Time Series Econometric Modelling, Macroeconomics, Financial Markets and Monetary Policy.
  • Dr Neha Hui ( I am willing to supervise students who want to do PhDs on the following
    • issues of gender, intrahousehold bargaining and domestic violence
    • labour markets in developing countries, especially in the informal sector
    • role of institutions in development
    • economic history of colonialism and development
  • Dr Joo Young Jeon ( I am happy to supervise new PhD students in behavioural/ experimental projects and empirical projects, especially in the following topics:
    • social preference/charity
    • gender
    • conflict
    • identity
    • industrial organisation/competition policy
  • Professor Uma Kambhampati ( I supervise PhD students on a range of topics from Graduate returns to education in the UK to the impact of education and employment on female empowerment in Bangladesh. I would be delighted to supervise doctoral students on any of my research interests (Child labour and schooling, especially in India; Impact of institutions on development; Individual well-being and life satisfaction; Productivity and competitiveness of manufacturing firms) and am excited to receive interesting proposals in a range of areas within Development Economics.
  • Dr Simonetta Longhi ( I am interested in supervising empirical research on various aspects of internal and international migration, integration of migrants, wage and employment differentials across groups (e.g. by country of birth, ethnicity or disability), unemployment and on-the-job search.
  • Dr Stefania Lovo ( I am interested in supervising PhD students on issues that lie at the intersection between environmental and development economics including for example:
    • empirical analyses of environmental policies (e.g. decentralisation of environmental regulation, governance, political economy)
    • short and long term effects of pollution on development outcomes
    • deforestation and land use management
    • agriculture and climate change
  • Dr Alexander Mihailov ( I am interested to supervise research students working on: (i) international macroeconomics and finance; (ii) monetary theory and policy; (iii) political macroeconomics and socioeconomic dynamics; or (iv) bounded rationality, information and learning.
  • Dr Tho Pham ( I am interested in supervising research in line with my areas of interest, including international finance, banking, empirical finance, big data analytics, online prices, and emerging market economies.
  • Professor Giovanni Razzu ( I am interested in supervising research in the areas of Labour Economics, the economics of gender, economic inequality with a particular focus on gender and the labour market, poverty and social mobility. I am also interested in the applications of the capabilities approach as applied to inequality, particularly its operationalisation and measurement frameworks and issues of autonomy, particularly related to gender inequality.
  • Dr James Reade ( I am interested in supervising research in applied economic areas, in particular applications in the area of sport. As sports are very well measured, and the incentives well understood, they can be ideal for the investigation of economic theories. I have published research investigating a range of economic phenomena using sports data; for example, discrimination and market efficiency. Many aspects of labour market functioning (workplace productivity, the impact of immigration and changes in regulatory oversight) and managerial decisions can, and have been investigated. Sport also enables classic economic issues to be analysed within the context of sport, for example the demand for attendance at sport, and strategic decisions made on the field. Data on sport has been extensively collected for decades, even centuries, enabling economic history analyses over long periods of time, and studies of important periods of change in sports.
  • Dr Carl Singleton ( I am interested in work at the intersection of macroeconomcis and labour markets. This could include: how wages are determined, wage inequality, and business cycle fluctuations. This could be theoretical (e.g. models with search frictions) or applied/empirical (e.g. measuring whether wages are sticky, or how much of wage inequality is driven by the differences between firms). I will supervise other applied research so long as it relates to the role of labour markets. I also have a growing interest in Sports Economics and would supervise work in this area. (See my personal website for the latest versions of all my publications and working papers).
  • Dr Shixuan Wang ( I am interested in supervising research on functional data analysis in finance. Please click on the tag “Prospective PhD projects” for details of the project.
  • Dr Fangya Xu ( I am interested in supervising research in the areas of international trade/FDI, finance, sustainable economic development and in particular their intersections. I am also happy to supervise broader topics in applied economics.

Visiting PhD Students

The Department of Economics welcomes applications from PhD students from other universities who wish to spend a visit period of one month to one year at Reading. We welcome applications that complement the academic interests of members of staff in our department and we recommend that you investigate staff research interests before applying.

As a visiting PhD student, you will have full access to the research and library resources of the University, will be able to audit postgraduate modules, attend research seminars, and present your research to the department. You will be assigned a supervisor with relevant expertise and similar research interest.

As a visiting PhD student, you are usually charged a fee, depending on the length of your period of visit. You can find out our fees here.

Please click here for a list of taught modules that we offer to our PhD students.

How to apply? 

Once you have identified an academic whose research interests or prospective projects can fit your own interests, you can contact them directly, outlining your proposed area of research, to see if they will agree, in principle, to supervise your doctoral study or your visiting at Reading. You should then submit an online application through our Graduate School website. Please contact Dr Stefania Lovo ( if you would like to discuss your research interests or have questions about the admission process.