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Program structure

The PhD program in Economics is a five-year, full-time, residential program taught in English. SSE does not offer distance learning, or allow for part-time studies.

In order to receive a PhD degree in Economics from SSE, you must earn 240 ECTS. These credits consist of a coursework component (105 ECTS) and a dissertation component (135 ECTS).

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). You will also need to find a subject field for your dissertation in semester 3 and decide which faculty member you would like to have as your supervisor. You will be conducting dissertation research in your final three years. The program ends with a thesis defense.


Structure - PhD in Econ.png


SDPE mandatory courses (60 ECTS): 

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

Elective courses (45 ECTS)

Elective courses are given at SSE, Stockholm University and the Institute of International Economic Studies as part of the SDPE collaboration. Elective courses available at other universities can also be attended upon agreement between the doctoral student and the Program Director.

Elective courses provided by the Department of Economics at SSE:


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 four 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. 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.


You are provided with an office from the start of the PhD program. With a location in central Stockholm many find SSE a great place to work and study!