PhD in Economics

The Crawford Economics PhD is a degree program that applies the discipline of economics to matters of public policy. As Australia’s national university, the ANU is home to the country’s leading group of economists concerned with economic policy. In applications as diverse as natural resources, international trade and finance, economic development and the environment, ANU economists are national and world leaders. Their interests encompass policy issues in Australia, the neighbouring Asia-Pacific region, and other countries of the world as well as the international economic institutions. Crawford Economics PhD brings this expertise together to inform a new generation of researchers and policy makers through postgraduate research training.

An important feature of the Crawford Economics PhD is the year of coursework that is tailored to budding researchers in all areas of economics analysis of public policy. The applied and policy-oriented nature of these courses are what distinguish this PhD degree from the companion Economics PhD program at the ANU College of Business and Economics, although the two programs work in close harmony with otherwise similar rules and procedures.

Prospective PhD candidates please follow these steps.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

To be admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy, Economics PhD program you are required to have achieved:

• A Bachelor degree with First Class Honours or Second Class Honours Division A in economics (not business or accounting) from an Australian Go8 university or equivalent, or

• A Bachelor degree with First Class Honours or Second Class Honours Division A in mathematics and/or statistics from an Australian Go8 university or equivalent, which includes a major or equivalent in economics, and a final grade at least of distinction in a third-year economics course, or

• A Master degree or an equivalent postgraduate qualification in economics from an approved university, with results that the convenor deems to be at least equivalent to Second Class Honours Division A at ANU.

Candidates need to have an adequate background in mathematical economics at least at the level of the course ECON8013 Optimisation for Economics and Financial Economics or IDEC8015 Mathematical Methods in Applied Economics. For students who do not have this background, the Research School of Economics offers a preparatory maths course that can be taken. Please ask the Economics PhD Convenor for details.

It is also assumed that candidates have a background in basic econometrics at least at the level of EMET8005 Econometric Methods and Modelling or IDEC8017 Econometric Techniques. Candidates who do not satisfy this requirement may be permitted to satisfy it while enrolled in Part A, but the course will not be counted towards the Part A coursework requirement.

Where relevant, it is possible for students to apply for credit for some of the part A courses in line with the Research Awards Rule 2021.

Inquiries regarding the admission requirements and possible course credit may be addressed to the Economics PhD Convenor.

All applicants must meet the University’s English Language Admission Requirements for Students.

Step 2: Look for two possible supervisors

Please look through the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics academics list to search for supervisors. Note that some of the academics listed might not be available to take on more students. At ANU, higher degree research students have a primary supervisor, Chair of panel and a panel of associate supervisors (advisors). If you apply to enter the PhD in Economics, the primary supervisor and second supervisor needs to be from the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics at ANU.

Step 3: Write the thesis proposal within 7–8 pages

All applicants should include a section in their application detailing the viability of their project in the context of COVID restrictions. This section should either (a) explain how the project is not dependent on travel and/or fieldwork and therefore feasible regardless of restrictions in these domains; or (b) provide a 12-month plan outlining how the project will proceed if the current restrictions on fieldwork and travel continue. Applicants should discuss the viability of their research project under COVID restrictions with their proposed supervisors prior to submitting the application.


Give a precise and informative description of the project.


A summary of the proposed research that includes the key research question or hypothesis, the rationale for the research, the region under study, and the method to be employed in the research.

Aims & significance

A clearly focused statement of the overall purpose of the proposed research (i.e. why is it important?).

Research questions &/or hypotheses

The questions that the proposed research will address and/or the hypotheses that will be tested.

Literature review

You need to demonstrate that are aware of the wider literature published internationally and your research can be engaged with the on-going debates. Therefore, you need to provide a preliminary review of the key research that has already been carried out in the field and identification of the gaps in the literature that the proposed research aims to fill.


It is crucially important for a proposal to spell out at least initial ideas for the methodology. You should discuss how the proposed methods are appropriate for the proposed project, and indicate the likely feasibility of the proposed approach. Give an explanation of what type of data will be required and how it will be collected, and how the data will be analysed.


An indication of how the research will be carried out over the duration of a full-time (3–4 years for PhD) or part-time (6–8 years for PhD) candidature.


An indication of the funding that will be required over the course of the candidature (eg, for fieldwork) and options for procuring external funding, as well any special materials or training that may be necessary for the successful completion of the project.

Institutional fit

A statement on why the Arndt-Corden Department of Economics is suitable for your project and an indication of potential supervisors and associate supervisors (advisors).


A list of references cited in or relevant to the proposal.

Step 4: Submit an expression of interest and contact the potential supervisors

Before submitting an application for admission, you must submit an expression of interest by emailing the following documents to two potential supervisors.
• Curriculum vitae (CV)
• Academic transcripts
• IELTS/TOEFL results (if applicable)
• Thesis proposal (7–8 pages)

Your potential supervisors might arrange an interview with you either in person or by phone.

Step 5: Make a formal application to ANU

• A minimum of 3 letters of reference required (At least 2 must be academic references)

• Have two confirmed Crawford School supervisors willing to be your proposed supervisors. These must be in the same program and in the same research field.

Once both supervisors have interviewed you and signed off on your proposal, you may then submit an online application. Your application will be sent to the Crawford HDR Admissions Committee for assessment at the next Crawford HDR Admissions meeting. Please contact the Crawford HDR Coordinator for more information and see PhD programs for application due dates.

Part A - Compulsory Coursework Requirements

Economics students must successfully complete CRWF9000 Fostering Public Policy Research (0 units) and eight semester-length courses in the first 12 months of candidature (four courses in each of the first two semesters). This includes the following three compulsory courses:

  • IDEC8064 Masters Microeconomics
  • IDEC8008 Open Economy Macroeconomics, Finance, and Development
  • IDEC9024 Economics Seminars

And one compulsory advanced econometrics course from the below list:

  • EMET8001 Applied Micro-Econometrics
  • EMET8010 Applied Macro and Financial Econometrics
  • IDEC8023 Case Studies in Applied Econometrics
  • IDEC8026 Quantitative Policy Impact Evaluation

Note: With approval of their supervisor, students have the option of substituting micro and/or macro required courses offered by CBE for PhD coursework as alternatives to the Crawford microeconomics course IDEC8064 (ECON8011) and/or the Crawford macroeconomics course IDEC8008 (ECON8022).

Students must also undertake four electives chosen from the specified set of courses listed below, chosen in accordance with the candidate’s research interests and on the advice of the candidate’s supervisor:

  • Graduate (8000 level) courses offered by the Crawford School of Public Policy.
  • Graduate (8000 level) courses offered by the Research School of Economics.
  • Specialist graduate (8000 level) courses taught elsewhere in the ANU - for example, in mathematics or finance – can be approved in exceptional circumstances.

Suitable electives offered by the Crawford School of Public Policy (not all courses are offered in all years; check for availability):

  • IDEC8007 Aid and Development Policy
  • IDEC8009 Trade, Development and the Asia Pacific Economy
  • IDEC8010 Quantitative International Economics
  • IDEC8012 Quantitative Methods for Monetary Policy Analysis
  • IDEC8014 Quantitative Financial Economics
  • IDEC8018 Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • IDEC8020 Applied Economic Dynamics
  • IDEC8021 The Chinese Economy
  • IDEC8022 Economic Development
  • IDEC8023 Case Studies in Applied Econometrics
  • IDEC8025 Empirical Public Finance
  • IDEC8028 The Microeconomics of Development
  • IDEC8030 Issues in Applied Macroeconomics
  • IDEC8031 Development and Environmental Planning in Developing Economics
  • IDEC8034 Middle Eastern Economies
  • IDEC8035 Islamic Economies in Practice
  • IDEC8037 Pacific Economies and Politics
  • IDEC8053 Environmental Economics
  • IDEC8081 Economics of Incentives and Institutions
  • IDEC8083 Financial Markets and Instruments
  • IDEC8088 Cost Benefit Analysis: Principles and Practice
  • IDEC8089 Energy Economics
  • IDEC8127 Modelling the Global Economy: Techniques and Policy Implications
  • EMDV8080 International Climate Change Policy and Economics
  • EMDV8081 Domestic Climate Change Policy and Economics

Suitable electives offered by the Research School of Economics (not all courses are offered in all years; check for availability):

  • ECON8002 Applied Welfare Economics
  • ECON8003 Economic Policy Issues
  • ECON8009 International Monetary Economics
  • ECON8010 The Economics of Taxation and Redistribution
  • ECON8015 International Economics
  • ECON8021 Topics in Microeconomic Theory
  • ECON8034 Public Sector Economics
  • ECON8037 Financial Economics
  • ECON8038 Industrial Organisation
  • ECON8041 Labour Economics & Industrial Relations
  • ECON8047 Law and Economics
  • ECON8050 Economic Growth
  • ECON8053 Strategic Thinking: An Introduction to Game Theory
  • ECON8070 Political Economy of Macroeconomic Policy
  • ECON8014 Computational Methods in Economics
  • ECON8901 Advanced Topics in Poverty, Public Policy and Development
  • EMET8001 Applied Micro-Econometrics
  • EMET8010 Applied Macro & Financial Econometrics
  • EMET8012 Business & Economic Forecasting
  • EMET8014 Advanced Econometrics 1

Part B – Supervised Research and Thesis

Following successful completion of Part A, candidates commence Part B of the program comprising a period of study normally equivalent to between 24 and 36 months of full-time research. During this period, each candidate writes a doctoral thesis. When the thesis is complete, the candidate submits the thesis to be examined. The thesis will be examined by two to three outside examiners who are experts in the relevant field. The PhD degree is awarded solely on the basis of the examination of the research thesis. While examiners would be aware the candidate has completed coursework requirements, the level of performance in coursework is not taken into account in examining the candidate for the award of the degree.

During Part B, each candidate is expected to contribute regularly to seminars in the Crawford Economics PhD seminar. Such contribution should include regular attendance, active involvement including constructive comments on the work of others, and presenting a seminar at least once a year.

Progress milestones in Part B

It is University policy that each candidate’s progress should be reviewed periodically. In every year of their PhD studies, PhD candidates are required to submit an Annual Plan, which outlines their research plan for the next twelve months, and a Progress Report, which summarises their progress in their research and also discusses difficulties or changes in their research path, if any. The Progress Report and the Annual Plan form the basis of the student’s Annual Review. In addition to these, in the second year, candidates must submit their Thesis Proposal for review. The proposal is a description of the research questions to be studied in the thesis, and a discussion of the structure of the thesis and its time plan. From this document the student’s supervisory panel can judge the originality, significance, adequacy and achievability of the thesis plan.

Tell me more about The University’s policies in relation to higher degree research students.

Updated:  4 October 2023/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team