Programme content

The programme is taught over three terms, with breaks at Christmas and Easter. it is made up of a total of 180 credits: 60 of these come from four core modules in the first term and a further 60 from four optional modules that you select in the second term. The remaining 60 credits come from the summer term dissertation, the largest single element of the programme. 

Term 1: (Michaelmas Term, October – December)

You take the following core modules:

Building on your undergraduate microeconomics knowledge and providing a foundation for the more advanced and specialist material in elective modules, this module focuses on theoretical and analytical techniques in microeconomics and highlights policy applications of material. Topics covered include consumer theory, market structure (with particular attention given to game theory analyses of oligopoly), general equilibrium and welfare, incomplete information and incentives, and mechanism design.

Again, building on your undergraduate studies, this module focuses on theoretical and analytical techniques in macroeconomics, highlighting policy applications of material. The module aims to give you a framework with which to analyse the macroeconomy and macroeconomic policy. Topics include the Ramsey model, aggregate consumption and investment, open economy models, DSGE models, the neoclassical growth model, RBC theory, and productivity and growth.

This module introduces you to the main techniques that are used for empirical analysis in fields ranging from microeconomics to macroeconomics and finance. The main goal is to teach you how to become both a producer and a critical consumer of empirical research. This is achieved by focusing on the practical implementation of econometric techniques.

Research Skills
This module lays the foundations for preparing you for research in economics or for work as a professional economist, and covers different aspects of the research toolbox of modern economists. The module is organised in three sub-modules: Mathematical Methods for Economists, Academic Skills for Economists, and Empirical Skills for Economists. The aim of these sub-modules is to develop the tools you need in order to master the material presented in the taught part of the MSc in Economics and to progress towards independent research for the dissertation, and ultimately to work as a professional economist.

Term 2: (Lent Term, January – April)

You choose four out of at least six optional modules:

Public Economics and Political Economy
This module gives an overview of public economics and political economy, providing you with research tools for theoretical and empirical work. It focuses on understanding the role of government in the economy through taxation, expenditure and institutional design, and the effect of political dynamics on governments’ decisions. Alongside classic topics such as public good provision and optimal taxation design, you will explore contemporary themes such as political economy, tax competition, endogenous institutions and the effects of political competition on public finance.

Labour Economics
To help you understand and apply transferable concepts from economics, this module covers areas such as opportunity cost, incentives, equilibrium, disequilibrium and stability, and the importance of analysis at the margin in making decisions. It also looks at gains from voluntary exchange, systems and dynamics, and the nature and consequences of market failure. All concepts are considered in the context of labour economics topics, including labour demand and supply, models of wage determination and wage inequality, discrimination, careers, unions and unemployment.

Industrial Organisation
Giving you a rigorous background in the theory of industrial organisation, this module covers theoretical work and supporting empirical papers on the structure, behaviour and performance of firms and markets. Topics include the organisation of the firm, monopoly, price discrimination, oligopoly, product differentiation, research and development, merger strategies, and auctions.

Financial Economics
The credit crunch and subsequent events have challenged modern financial theory, emphasising the need to develop better pricing and hedging models for financial products. They have also sparked renewed interest in how financial markets and institutions function.  Striking a balance between theory and practice, this module gives you a firm grounding in the economics of financial markets, and covers a variety of finance topics, focusing on the valuation of stocks, bonds, derivatives (futures and forwards, options, swaps), portfolio management and hedging strategies.

International Banking and Risk Management
This module examines the role of major financial intermediaries in internationally open economies. It deals with fundamental concepts of intermediation in market economies, along with the importance of capital, leverage, systemic risk and moral hazard. It then considers the issue of risk – how this manifests itself, how it can be managed and the causes of bank failure. It also looks at a number of regulatory issues: why and how regulation takes place.

Behavioural Finance
This module extends the analytical tools used for evaluating strategic and investment decisions learnt in other modules by deviating from the paradigm of rational decision making. It focuses on the implications of investor behaviour and capital market imperfections (such as limits to arbitrage) for investment management. The concepts you will cover on this module provide a foundation for value investing, arbitrage, asset management and opportunistic corporate finance. Insights from psychology and behavioural finance are used to complement traditional market frictions and explain the behaviour of capital markets.

Term 3: (Summer Term. May – September)

The dissertation is a substantial piece of independent work where you can apply research techniques and relevant economic theory to a research topic. This can be an area which has attracted your attention in the course of your studies, or may be linked to an aspect of your professional working experience. You choose your topic during the second term, in consultation with the MSc Director. You are then assigned to an appropriate member of teaching staff who acts as a supervisor and gives you guidance on the structure and content of the research.