Apply early. Supervisors can accept students on a first-come, first-served basis, and the programme may close early if it reaches capacity.
Full details of the academic, English language, and application requirements for your application are detailed below.
Applicants for the PhD in Business Economics programme should hold a postgraduate master's degree from an accredited institution in the UK or overseas showing evidence of above-average academic achievement. This includes:
- A degree classification with a mark of 65% or more overall (or UK equivalent).
- Normally a master's dissertation at the distinction level (or UK equivalent). Those with an MBA or masters' students without a dissertation are welcome to apply but should provide evidence of distinction-level work within their degree.
- Applicants with significant industry experience or with relevant professional qualifications will be given due consideration on a case-by-case basis. However, these applicants must also have a minimum of a bachelors degree in a relevant programme with significant quantitative elements.
Applications may be accepted from those still currently studying for a master's degree; however, any offer will be conditional on the successful completion of the degree at the required standard.
Please note: If you are currently studying for or have completed an undergraduate degree and do not yet have a Master's qualification, please consider applying for our MSc by Research programme. You can use this as a stepping stone on to any of our PhD programmes.
You must demonstrate English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence. You can do this either by providing an approved English certificate, or providing a degree certificate.
English language certificates
We accept the following English language qualifications as evidence when they meet the minimum grades:
- IELTS (International English Language Testing System) including IELTS Online: 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each section)
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each section)
- C1 Advanced (formerly CAE) and C2 Proficiency (formerly CPE): total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
- Trinity ISE (Integrated Skills in English): ISE III with a Pass in all four components
- PTE (Pearson Test of English): total 70 (at least 59 in each section) (Please note that we have suspended acceptance of PTE Academic Online with immediate effect)
Your English language qualification must be no more than two years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency, in which case it can be no more than three and a half years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
For evidence of English competency we accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
More on English language requirementsEnglish language requirements
In order to apply for a PhD you need to consider:
1. What is your research proposal?
2. Who do you intend to work with while undertaking your research?
We strongly recommend you make contact with a potential supervisor before applying. In your application, you must name your preferred supervisor (or up to 3 in order of preference) or the academic research area you wish to work in.
3. Do you have the supporting documents needed for your application?
Please be aware that only complete applications will be considered. Complete applications must contain all necessary documents, including a proposed supervisor or indicating a research group in the Business School.
Joining from overseas
If you are an international student, you may need to apply for permission to study in the UK. Our Edinburgh Global office on provides information on immigration and visa requirements for students.