The Department of Economics has a well-established tradition of research in applied economics, particularly in the areas of labour economics, international economics, industrial organisation, and energy economics. There are also research interests in macroeconomics, the economics of health and wellbeing, and experimental economics.

The Department of Economics is one of three disciplines that make up the Business School. It organises research activity in Economics and coordinates undergraduate teaching in Economics. There are over 20 faculty members in Economics, together with a number of research fellows, emeritus and honorary staff. The Department has a well-established tradition of research in applied economics, particularly in the areas of labour economics and energy economics. There are also research interests in:

  • macroeconomics
  • international economics
  • industrial organisation
  • the economics of health and wellbeing
  • experimental economics

There are especially strong links between the Economics Department and Health Economics Research Unit, one of the leading centres in health economics in Europe.

The Department's Research Convenor is Professor Catia Montagna.

The Department has a strong track record of PhD supervision in applied economics. We can offer supervision in the following areas:

  • energy and environmental economics
  • labour economics
  • macroeconomics
  • international economics and industrial organisation
  • the economics of health and wellbeing
  • experimental economics

In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 71% of research in the Business School was graded as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent’, while 88% was assessed as having ‘outstanding' or 'very considerable' impacts on society, organisations, and the economy.

Economics has 1+3 (+CASE) ESRC recognition for doctoral research through collaboration with the Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics (SGPE).

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification
MPhil or PhD

Our Research

Labour Economics

This is the largest concentration of research by members of the Department. The Centre for European Labour Market Research is located in the Department. Researchers in labour market economics are undertaking studies on:

  • unemployment insurance, employment protection and flexicurity systems
  • gender wage discrimination
  • economics of migration
  • the effects of globalisation and welfare state policies on labour market outcomes

Other projects include:

  • projects into public sector pay
  • the effects of performance related pay on health and income inequality
  • the presence and effects of over-education and mobility
  • health and quality of life in labour markets
  • theoretical analyses of bargaining, contracting, the role of trade unions and personnel Economics
  • entrepreneurship

The majority of these projects involve collaboration with researchers elsewhere in the UK and the European Union, as well as with colleagues in the US, Australia and Canada.

Energy and Petroleum Economics

Economics of Energy and Natural Resources research is focused on the economics of North Sea petroleum operations and the international fiscal problems raised by such exploration. Current investigations include

  • petroleum tax systems and exploration risk
  • option values and petroleum investment in the North Sea
  • the economics of exploration and development west of Shetland
  • future taxable capacity in the UK Continental Shelf
  • the effects of onshore and offshore transportation tariffs on gas developments

Some of these investigations include colleagues elsewhere in the University while others involve international collaboration. Other studies include an investigation into the impact of environmental taxes on energy consumption and on the structure of the energy sector in the OECD and European Union.

Experimental Economics

The department has established an Experimental Lab to facilitate new work in Experimental Economics. There are a number of staff in the department already actively researching in this area.

Other Research Areas

Members of the Department are undertaking research in regional and in rural development. Some of this crosses over with labour market research in studying spatial concentrations of migrant labour markets and rural labour mobility. Other aspects include studying the effects of devolution within the UK. Macroeconomic and financial research has focussed on issues such as fiscal policy and public debt, inequality and economic growth.

Entry Requirements

Applicants to the MPhil or PhD typically will have an undergraduate degree in Economics (upper second class or above). Applicants to PhD will also typically have an MSc in Economics. Applications must include a detailed research proposal and two academic references from the applicants’ most recent academic institution. The quality of the proposal is very important for the final outcome.

Alternatively you can contact our Postgraduate Admissions and request an application pack.

Importantly, admission to the PhD programme may be through entry in our MRes programme with the possibility of upgrading to a PhD. Progression to the second year of the PhD would be based on a satisfactory performance on Master level courses of economics and econometrics plus some evaluation of perhaps a survey chapter for the dissertation.

If you think a member of staff would be suited to your proposed research, you may find it useful to contact that person directly to discuss your research proposal.


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Recent Doctoral graduates of the Department of Economics have been appointed to academic positions in the UK and abroad both in the fields of Economics and Health Economics, as well as as applied economists in governments and international organisations. They have also been appointed as Lecturers in the Departments of Economics at the University of Stirling and University College Cork, and as researchers at the Health Economics Research Unit, University of Aberdeen and the Macaulay Land Use Institute in Aberdeen.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Business School
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
AB24 3QY