About the course
At Essex we push the frontiers of accepted wisdom, critically examining the decisions of individuals, the strategies of firms, and the policies of governments to understand and challenge the standard paradigms of economics.
If your first degree is in a subject other than economics, or your economics training does not provide sufficient technical experience for direct entry on our MSc courses, we offer a full-time, nine-month Diploma in Economics. If you obtain your Diploma with Merit or Distinction, you can then automatically register for one of our MSc courses, so over the two years you gain a thorough training in economics principles and practice at the Masters level.
On our Graduate Diploma Economics, we teach you the essentials of micro- and macroeconomics, and then you have the option to explore whichever topics in economics interest you the most, from international trade and health, to mathematical methods, to theories of monopolies.
Our department is Top 5 in the UK for research, with over 90% of our research rated as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent”. Much of this world-class research is related to policy, and we have particular strengths in the areas of:
- Game theory and strategic interactions
- Theoretical and applied econometrics
- Labour economics
The quality of our work is reflected in our stream of publications in high-profile academic journals, including American Economic Review, Econometrica, and Review of Economic Studies.
Our expert staff
Study and work alongside some of the most prominent economists of our time.
Our researchers are at the forefront of their field and have even received MBEs, with students coming from across the globe to study, research or work with us.
Many of our researchers also provide consultancy services to businesses in London and other major financial centres, helping us to develop research for today's society as well as informing our teaching for the future.
For a full list of research interests, see our Department’s staff pages.
Take advantage of our wide range of learning resources to assist you in your studies:
After completing your masters, you may wish to extend your knowledge with a research degree – many Essex graduates decide to stay here for further study.
Alternatively, our course also prepares you for employment; recent surveys have shown that higher degree graduates are more likely to obtain jobs at professional or managerial level.
Our recent MSc Economics graduates have gone on to work for a range of high-profile organisations:
- The Ministry of Finance
- HM Treasury
- The Work Foundation
- Fitch Ratings
- Schroders Investment Management
More generally, our graduates find employment in roles such as business and financial analysts, management consultants, government officials, and economists for banks and other financial organisations.
We also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.
What tools can you use for macroeconomic analysis? And how can these then be applied to macro-policy issues? Learn how to build alternative macroeconomic models and apply analytical reasoning. Examine real-life macroeconomic questions, on topics such as government budgets or wage-price flexibility, and critically evaluate macroeconomic policies.
How do consumers behave in a competitive market? And what about producers? How do various imperfections affect the outcome of decentralised markets? Study the fundamental concepts and methods in microeconomics. Understand the tools and methods of analysis for economic reasoning, and develop your critical approach to economic issues and policies.
Why did industrialisation first occur in Europe, not China or India? How did economic growth lead to the Industrial Revolution? What impact did two world wars have on the global economy? Explore the process of economic change and development from the sixteenth-century to the present day.
Want to know more about the IMF or the Federal Reserve? Interested in the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism? Examine these international financial institutions to evaluate their existence, policies and effects on the international monetary system. Understand the institutional framework within which international financial relations are organised.
Which institutions control international trade? How are they organised? What are their objectives? And why are some of their activities deemed controversial? Study the world trading system since World War Two, learning about the most important issues in international trade policy and deepening your knowledge of the global economy.
How are financial markets organised? And what role do they play in the economy? Examine the main elements in modern finance. Study the activities of financial institutions and the main financial markets. Understand the theory and practice of financial regulation, looking at recent regulatory reforms.
What role do central banks play in supervising the financial sector? How are monetary policies developed and formulated? Gain an overview of financial systems, including commercial banking. Examine financial innovations, with emphasis on developments since the 1980s, and learn how financial intermediaries function in our changing world.
What mathematical methods can analyse economic problems? And what mathematical tools are needed to understand economic models? Gain an introduction to the mathematical methods commonly used in economics, build your knowledge of mathematical tools for work in economics and develop your understanding of the mathematical language used in economic literature.
Which econometric methods can analyse economic data? How do you critically assess applied economic literature? Learn how to carry out statistical and econometric calculations, plus gain experience of using the Stata software package. Demonstrate your subsequent understanding of the linear regression model with your own investigation on an empirical issue.
What economic issues do computing firms face today? What about the pharmaceutical industry? Or telecommunication organisations? How does new technological knowledge allow these firms to keep a competitive edge? Using real-life case studies, learn how economics model-building methodology helps with the challenges of managing new technology in the modern world.
How are firms organised? What impact does this have on their environment? Or their competitive strategies? Using real-life case studies, understand the economic principles behind different organisational arrangements. Apply economic analysis to address issues about decision making within different firms.
Gain a rich background in the concepts and techniques of game theory, its uses, limitations and issues. The course is also applied, focussing on several important cases of strategic interaction, including auctions, interactions between rival firms, moral hazard and adverse selection, and the theory of the firm. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to evaluate the impact the strategic considerations in the analysis of interactions among decision-makers, and you will have learned how to apply game theory to issues in microeconomics.
This module develops the material started in Intermediate Macroeconomics and aims to give students an understanding of the main types of economic data; how those data are collected, constructed and used and Key ideas in the module will be illustrated with reference to recent events and current policy debates. Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to approach macroeconomic data critically, and to evaluate the strength of empirical evidence for macroeconomic theories and macroeconomic policy positions.
What are the important policy problems facing the European Union today? Issues like trade, unemployment, monetary policy? And how can you apply economic theory to these concerns? Gain an insight into the complex and fascinating process of economic integration within the European Union.
What caused the collapse of socialist economies in the late twentieth-century? What are the economic problems that transitional economies faced? And what can we learn from the policies and degrees of success that followed? Build your understanding of the collapse of centrally planned economies and their transition to market economies.
This module examines the distinctive features of less developed economies and introduces you to the literature that attempts to explain the persistence of poverty in those economies. We start with a historical analysis of the growth process to examine why there has been a divergence in the performances between the developed and the developing countries. The module will then elaborate on the role of institutions and incentives in shaping long run economic development. In particular, we shall examine the role of market imperfections, non-market institutions (such as social norms) and governance institutions.
Familiarise yourself with the economic and social problems faced by developing countries, and discuss possible policy recommendations. This module combines economic theory with real-world situations, and also promotes external awareness, in particular social responsibility, whilst developing academic skills through enhancing analytical reasoning and critical evaluation.
Upon completion of the module, you will be able to have a good understanding of the challenges faced by developing countries, demonstrate an awareness of the main current debates in development economics, and will be able to critically discuss policy implications.
Expand on the mathematical techniques you developed in Mathematical Methods in Economics. You’ll learn how to use additional mathematical tools, which will enable you to analyse a larger, richer, and more interesting set of economic models. The main focus of the course is on methods for studying dynamic economic problems. Rather than concentrating exclusively on mathematical techniques, intuition for how and why these techniques work will be developed through application to specific economic problems.
In this module you will explore a range of methods used in the modern application of econometric techniques to economic and financial data. The course will enable you to practise the relevant methods, rather than to derive estimators or tests, or to prove the theorems upon which these are based.
Analyse the economics rationale for ‘collective choice’ in a market economy in this applied module. Explore social welfare, equity and efficiency, and evaluate the government’s ability to identify and achieve ‘better’ outcomes. By analysing actual programmes in areas of poverty reduction, education, and health, you will be able to apply your knowledge of broad empirical patterns and institutions to real-life situations in the UK and abroad.
How have labour markets changed over time? Why is there an increased inequality of wages? In this module, you will investigate the determination of labour market outcomes, and discuss why and how differences across individuals occur. Using practical examples throughout, you will develop vital analytical tools needed to understand wage and employment foundation and trends, and will discuss what makes the labour market so important.
How does a monopolist make decisions? And what impact do such decisions have? How can regulators control this behaviour? Build your understanding of monopoly industries, starting with the sources, creation and exercise of monopoly power. Critically assess the principles and practices of monopoly regulation, using real-world examples from industry.
How do firms make decisions? And how do these decisions impact on the prices you pay? What role does game theory play? Understand strategic interaction among firms, using theoretical tools to examine real-world examples. Analyse the main economic forces behind firm behaviour, adapting economic models to study particular challenges.
What shapes international trade? And what determines trade policy? Study theories and empirical evidence of international trade, and examine recent research on trade patterns and strategic trade policies. Understand discussions of international trade in the business press and express your own opinion on such issues.
How do foreign exchange markets determine trade? Understand the economic role that international currency markets play. Study models to interpret exchange rate movements and how this links to key macroeconomic variables. Analyse real-life policies that respond to events in the international monetary system.
How do economic theories determine asset prices? Can you apply analytical reasoning to asset pricing problems? Understand capital markets and explore the predictability of asset price changes. Learn to build simple models of asset markets and how to interpret the mathematics of such models in economic terms.
How do you apply economic reasoning to the markets for bonds, futures contracts and financial options? Study the distinctive characteristics of bonds as financial assets. Gain an understanding of derivatives markets, focusing on futures and options. Explore theories of financial intermediation and learn to evaluate models of price determination.
Can economic analysis be applied to environmental issues? And to environmental policies? Understand the strengths and weaknesses of economic analysis when applied to the environment. Learn to design policies that result in positive environmental outcomes in the modern world.
Why does the government play such an important role in the health care sector? How does the patients’ lack of information affect medical prices? Can we use economics modules to understand the rationale for risky behaviours, such as smoking? These are some of the questions you will try to answer during this module, building on your insights of microeconomic theory, and covering a broad range of concepts, theories, and topics related to the economics of healthcare.
- Core components can be combined with optional modules to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding across several topics
- Our postgraduates are encouraged to attend conferences and seminars
- Each module is assessed with a final examination and a coursework component
- Coursework is taken in the form of a term paper or a midterm test
UK entry requirements
A degree with an overall grade of 2.2.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
IELTS entry requirements
IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.