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PhD Program in Economics

Stockholm School of Economics
5 years
Full time
Doctorate / PhD
Scholarships available
Blended learning
August 2021
Application deadline: 01 February 2021

Program description

PhD Program in Economics

The PhD Program in Economics at the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) combines the advantages of a small department with close and informal connection to faculty, with the breadth of courses and seminars associated with a larger department.

The PhD Program in Economics (240 ECTS) is a North American-style program with around 35 doctoral students. A specially designed course program, the Stockholm Doctoral Course Program in Economics, Econometrics and Finance (SDPE), is organized by SSE jointly with Stockholm University for the PhD students in Economics and Finance. This joint undertaking has developed into one of the strongest doctoral course programs in Europe.

Frequently research from PhD theses is published in leading journals, with Journal of Economic Theory and Quarterly Journal of Economics as recent examples. Job placements of recent graduates include Cambridge University, the International Monetary Fund, Paris School of Economics and University College London.

We offer program research areas in:

  • Applied Econometrics
  • Behavioral and Experimental Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics

Admission requirements

Proven academic record

We require a university level degree and one year of Master level studies or the equivalent. You are welcome to apply if you are studying in the first year of a MSc program. We may also admit students who for instance have a Bachelor’s degree in economics and in addition have one to two years of coursework in mathematics and statistics at the advanced Bachelor level. We will also consider students with a very strong record from a four-year university program.

If you are a first-year Master student at SSE you can apply and be admitted to the SSE PhD Program in the second year of your MSc studies, through the MSc-PhD parallel enrollment scheme. When admitted to the doctoral program, you begin the following fall Semester in the PhD Program instead of continuing your second year studies within the MSc Program.

Economics courses

In order to be eligible for the PhD Program in Economics, you need to have at least three semesters of economics courses (90 ECTS) including a thesis worth at least 15 ECTS.

GRE test

All applicants to the Economics Program (including SSE students) are required to take the general GRE test (Graduate Record Exam, institution code 7016). Your GRE test scores should be reported in your application and sent directly to us via your test center. These test results have a validity of maximum 5 years. There is no minimum score requirement for the test. Please, note that the GMAT test is not accepted as a substitute to the GRE test.

Proof of proficiency in English

Unless you are a native English speaker or have undertaken a university study program in English, you need to provide evidence of your English proficiency. We prefer that you take the TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language, code 8175 for all SSE programs), but the IELTS test may also be taken. Please report the score to us directly via your test center and upload a copy of it in the application portal. Language test results have a validity of maximum 4 years. There is no minimum score requirement for any of the tests.

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Program content


The core courses (60 ECTS) of the Stockholm Doctoral Course Program in Economics, Econometrics and Finance (SDPE) are compulsory and should be completed in your first year of study. In the second year you can choose from a large selection of elective courses (45 ECTS).

SDPE mandatory courses:

  • Mathematics I
  • Mathematics II
  • Mathematics III
  • Microeconomics I
  • Microeconomics II
  • Macroeconomics I
  • Macroeconomics II
  • Econometrics I
  • Econometrics II

Elective courses provided by the Department of Economics at SSE:

  • Topics in Game Theory 
  • Institutional and Organizational Economics
  • Industrial Organization
  • Political Economy and Public Choice
  • Labor-Market Macroeconomics (course taught together with Stockholm University) 
  • Time Series Econometrics


Seminars constitute an important part of the PhD programs. These provide students with insights into current research and give students and faculty opportunities to present and discuss ongoing research.

From the second year students are to expected to regularly attend seminar series. In addition, there are reading groups and informal workshops organized in some subjects.


Teaching experience is an integral part of the PhD Program in Economics, and you are strongly encouraged to do some teaching from the second year. Successful completion of teaching entitles you to a fifth year in the program, which is otherwise 4 years long.

Many PhD students spend one or two semesters visiting other leading universities in the US and Europe. SSE is also a member of the European Network for Training in Economic Research (ENTER) together with other prominent economics departments in Europe.


During the beginning of the second year students should find a subject field for their thesis and decide on a thesis advisor. While the course program is joint with Stockholm University, the main advisor must be a faculty member at the SSE. It is the responsibility of the thesis advisor to, together with the student, arrange for external funding for year 3-5 (all PhD students are expected to be on external funding year 3-5). While most of the work on the thesis is expected to be carried out in year 3-5, it is important to start working on the thesis as soon as possible during the second year.

A thesis typically consists of several essays in one or several fields of economics. Essays may be single-authored or co-authored with fellow students or faculty. A benchmark is that the number of essays should be equivalent to three single-authored essays. The essays are expected to be well suited for publication in international scientific journals - the main channel for communication of research results. Thesis work in progress is presented and discussed at the informal lunch workshop.

The completed PhD thesis is made available to the interested public and is discussed in a public dissertation seminar. At this seminar, an invited outside discussant first presents the thesis work to the audience. The discussant then poses a few questions to the PhD candidate about the thesis and the audience is invited to pose questions as well. This is an old tradition in Swedish academic life. After the seminar, a committee consisting of at least three professors decides whether the thesis will pass.

Tuition fees

PhD programs at SSE are free of charge. 

Scholarships & funding

All admitted PhD students receive a scholarship from the SSE, and are guaranteed funding throughout the PhD program, conditional upon satisfactory performance as determined by the faculty. The current scholarship amount is SEK 15 000 per month for the first year and SEK 16 000 per month from the second year. Compensation increases in later years of the program.

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About this institute

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Stockholm School of Economics

The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) is a private university that has education talented women and men for leading positions within the business community and public sector since 1909. SSE is rated as the top business school in the Nordic...

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Contact info

Stockholm School of Economics

Sveavägen 65
113 83 Stockholm

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