Information on this page is for Australian residents

4 years full time or longer for part time
Delivery mode: 
Face to Face


Follow your academic path to its highest level, with a PhD in economics. If you're a graduate with little previous research experience, our integrated program makes it possible to achieve your goals.

PhD in Economics integrated program

A PhD in economics opens the door to a career in public policy, academia or the finance sector. Choose your topic from our diverse research areas, from health and education to banking, tourism and transportation.

We have dozens of respected research partners including:

  • World Health Organization
  • China Energy Research Institute
  • Department of State Development, Business and Innovation
  • Central University of Finance and Economics (China).

In our integrated program, you’ll spend the first year learning best-practice, ethical research methods. On passing with a 70% average in coursework and a thesis, you’ll begin your own original research. Throughout, you’ll have the support of an experienced supervisor.

You’ll develop skills to present your findings as a thesis, and in public forums and publications.

Our research partners include government, industry and research associates in Australia and overseas. We have active collaborations with:

  • World Health Organization
  • China Energy Research Institute
  • Department of State Development, Business and Innovation
  • Bushfire CRC
  • Central University of Finance and Economics (China)
  • Victorian Transport Association
  • Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics Australia
  • Universidad de la Sabana (Colombia)
  • Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Chain (CIPS)
  • Chinese Academy of Science
  • Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
  • Nanjing University of Finance and Economics
  • Fudan University (China).

When you study with VU at PhD level, you’ll have access to our institutes and research centres.

The newly formed Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities incorporates research from the Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies (VISES), which oversees our in-depth research into economic, social and technological changes, and policy responses to these.

An important part of this is the Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) – an independent research unit. CoPS undertakes economic-modelling research for governments and businesses. It’s a world leader in computer modelling. CoPS's economic-modelling software, GEMPACK, is licensed to users in around 70 countries.

The newly formed Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities incorporates study areas from the Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies (VISES) and its five main research programs:

  • growth and development
  • sustainability and climate change
  • regional economics and human impact
  • health and innovation
  • education and human capital.

Our PhD students undertake research in areas of their own interest and passion, ranging from public financial-management reform, to women's roles in society and the economy.

We offer various research scholarships for our PhD students. Victoria University has several generous research scholarships for successful applicants. There are also externally funded scholarships from dozens of organisations, some of which aimed at postgraduate students.

VU Research gives you opportunities to:

  • connect with other researchers
  • participate in research festivals and competitions
  • develop your research skills
  • get funding for your research
  • publish and promote your findings.

We offer support for graduate researchers including:

Find out more about graduate opportunities at VU.

Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Timor Leste, speaks to VU research students

VU's Centre of Policy Studies delivers training in its economic-modelling software

Careers in economics policy and research

Following your PhD, you’ll be ready for a research or advisory career in business or government, or to become an academic. These are usually high-level roles, and paid accordingly. The average salary for an economist in Australia is above A$100,000 (JobOutlook).

We offer industry connections to begin your career in these areas:

  • development
  • economics
  • education
  • environment
  • health
  • law
  • logistics
  • population growth
  • sustainability
  • tourism
  • transportation.

Course structure

To attain the award of Doctor of Philosophy through undertaking the Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) students will be required to completed in total 384 credit points consisting of:

  • 72 credit points of Core studies in Year 1
  • 24 credit points of Elective studies in Year 1
  • 288 credit points of Thesis units as per standard PhD


Core Studies

Thesis Units (36 credit points)


Select 24 credit points (equivalent to 2 units) Elective Studies:

YEARS 2 - 4

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. expert understanding of a substantial body of theory and its practical application at the frontier of a field of work or learning, including substantial expert knowledge of ethical research principles and methods applicable to the field.  
  2. intellectual independence and cognitive skills to undertake a systematic investigation, reflect critically on theory and practice and evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, including identifying, evaluating and critically analysing the validity of research studies and their applicability to a research problem.  
  3. expert cognitive, technical and creative skills to: design, develop and implement a research project/s to systematically investigate a research problem; develop, adapt and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing knowledge; manage, analyse, evaluate and interpret data, synthesising key ideas and theorising within the context of key literature.  
  4. expert communication skills to explain and critique theoretical propositions, methodologies and conclusions; to disseminate and promote new insights; and to cogently present a complex investigation of originality, or original research, both for external examination and to specialist (eg researcher peers) and non-specialist (industry and/or community) audiences through informal interaction, scholarly publications, reports and formal presentations.  
  5. capacity to reflect on, develop and evaluate strategies for achieving their own learning and career goals.  
  6. intellectual independence, initiative and creativity in new situations and/or for further learning.  
  7. ethical practice and full responsibility and accountability for personal outputs.  
  8. autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and responsibility as an expert and independent scholar.  

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take and optional elective units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.


Each unit is worth a set amount of study credits based on the amount of time you study. Generally, 1 credit is equal to 1 hour of study per week.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course.

Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

Entry requirements

Completed a qualification at AQF level 8 or above, typically in a cognate discipline (including a qualification without minor thesis), with Honours or its equivalent at a high standard.

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

If you have completed study with another university or institution and believe you are eligible to receive credit for skills and past study, you can apply for advanced standing.

Applications for advanced standing can be made after a discussion with your course coordinator or academic adviser.

How to apply

You will need to follow the six steps to becoming a research student.

Contact the Office for Researcher Training, Quality & Integrity on +61 3 9919 4522 or email if you require further information.

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At Victoria University, we aim to display accurate and complete course information online. However, we are unable to guarantee that every course change is currently displayed. You may contact the University directly on +61 3 9919 6100 to confirm the most up-to-date course fees, pathways and credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, admission and enrolment procedures, examinations and services available to our students.