About the course
Are you interested in finance and its economic foundations? The emphasis of our MSc Financial Economics is on the ways that economic reasoning can inform and illuminate the financial decision-making of investors and the financial choices made by firms.
You gain a broad and comprehensive understanding of financial economics. In particular, you explore topics including:
- Notions of risk and return in equity markets, both in the context of asset pricing and in the management of equity portfolios
- Optimisation theory
- How economic arguments work
- The role of equilibrium
We are top 5 in the UK for research, with over 90% 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 University is one of only 21 ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK.
This means that our course can form part of a prestigious 1+3 funding opportunity worth up to £21,575.
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.
On our MSc Financial Economics you will gain key skills in the analysis of complex financial data. In addition you will develop key employability skills like mathematical techniques, statistical analysis and computer skills and acquire a deep knowledge of how financial markets work and how to analyse them.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a range of high-profile organisations:
- Ernst and Young
- Amba Research
- Indicus Analytics
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.
One Masters not enough for you?
We offer a number of postgraduate taught double degrees with our international partners. You work for two Masters degrees, one at Essex and another at a prestigious university across the globe, gaining them both in a shorter time than studying them separately. This unique opportunity gives you a competitive edge when applying for jobs or prepares you for PhD study.
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 interests you? Undertake a research project of your choosing, studying a specific economic issue or set of problems in depth, with supervision from our world-leading academic staff. Gain experience of original and independent work, making use of and building on skills that you have acquired during your Masters.
Wish to conduct your own research using econometric methods? Understand econometric methods and learn to apply them to a wide variety of situations. Examine methods of linear regression and hypothesis testing. Study time series concepts of unit roots and co-integration. Explore ideas around simultaneous equation models and panel data models.
Study the concepts of risk and return in equity markets, both in the context of asset pricing, and in the management of equity portfolios. You will start by focusing on the analysis of the stylised facts of asset returns, and will then review the theoretical foundations of modern finance, covering expected utility theory and risk aversion.
What mathematical concepts are vital to understanding modern economic theory? Gain the essential mathematics skills needed to study economics at Masters-level, such as optimisation theory and the role of equilibrium. Understand how economic arguments work and improve your problem solving skills by using real-world economic problems.
How do you raise funds to maintain a firm’s activity? And who should control the firm? Cover a wide variety of topics in corporate finance, including asset pricing algebra, mergers, market structure, and corporate finance problems related to corporate governance.
What are the issues regarding different types of panel datasets? Or problems with survey methodology? Understand longitudinal data analysis by using micro-econometric techniques and critically examine survey methodology issues, like response rate and sampling frames. Apply panel data methods to study labour markets, focusing on marriage, unemployment and wages.
What challenges do macro-economists face since the 2007 financial crisis? Acquire the cutting-edge tools to address issues in macro-economic and financial markets. Learn to contrast multi-agent macro-modeling tools with more standard ones, and how to contribute to regulatory and policy design issues that have arisen since the financial crisis.
What are the distinctive features of less developed economies? How do theories around child labour or inequality explain poverty? What economic policies could alleviate such problems? Understand the issues facing developing countries, examining policies theoretically and empirically. Act as a policy advisor, undertaking research on issues of development economics.
What compensation should CEOs get? How can you motivate team performance? What impact does an altruistic manager make? Study real-world issues like policymaking, finance and management using economic models from contract theory, incentive theory, and the theory of the firm.
What are the main game theory concepts in modern economics? And how do you apply such models in the world today? Understand game theory methodology and learn how to formulate models for various socio-economic phenomena, such as industrial organisation, public goods, bargaining, and labour markets.
What are the main uncertainties for international financial markets? What causes a currency crisis? How do you deal with global imbalances? Understand the analytical tools used in the field of international macroeconomics and finance. Demonstrate how such tools can be applied by examining key policy issues of interest today.
What are the economics of international trade? And why is this important? Understand the principles that determine international trade and study a range of trade models. Learn how to carry out advanced research or work as a policy advisor on issues related to international trade.
What are the main issues facing the modern macroeconomist? How do you critically assess macroeconomic policies? Acquire the necessary tools for macroeconomic analysis, focusing on the important questions faced by macroeconomists today.
Get to grips with modern microeconometrics. Examine the nature of causal and noncausal models, discuss the nature of microeconomic data structures, and review core econometric methods in the first part of this module. Then, analyse limited dependent variable models, including discrete choice and selection models, and examine program evaluation methods.
What are the concepts and methods of modern microeconomics? And how can you apply economic reasoning to this? Understand the main principles and theories of modern microeconomics, looking at topics like contract theory, equilibrium concepts in game theory, and market signalling. Learn to apply economic reasoning to these arguments.
What are the main issues with panel data? And the main econometric techniques to analyse panel data? What methods can you use to evaluate spell duration data? Answer such questions with examples from labour economics, while gaining the skills to analyse a variety of research and policy problems.
What makes societies choose different taxation systems? What drives the selection of politician in society? And how does selection impact on the choice of policies? Study the application of economic methods to understanding the political phenomenon that impact on the choice of different economic policies.
How do firms interact? What impact does this have on products that are available to you? Or the price that you pay? Understand current thinking on industrial organisation, with a focus on competition policy, regulation and business strategy. Apply analytical models of firm behaviour and strategic interaction to real-life situations.
How do you analyse stationary time series? Or non-stationary (integrated) processes? Understand the econometric methods available to analyse models of economic time series. Examine how methods of estimation and inference can be applied to these models. Learn how to use these methods in your own research.
- 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
- You undertake an individually supervised research project that involves the in-depth study of a specific economic problem or issue
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.
English language 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.
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.
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.