How do we make decisions about markets, businesses and customers? What’s the science behind these decisions? How does an understanding of human behaviour make better policies? What’s the impact of sales practices on customers? How do behavioural biases in customers impact how much they’ll pay for a product or service?
Behavioural economics is one of the fastest growing areas in economics in recent years. Insights inform business and public policy alike – we investigate the human and social factors influencing decisions made by consumers, borrowers and investors.
You’re trained in experimental design by lab experts and lecturers. From your first term, you design lab experiments for your assignments. You will also get exposure and hands-on experience of experiments in ESSEXLab, our state-of-the-art social science laboratory.
You don’t need a background in economics to study this course. Our modules are flexible so you can choose to focus on specific topics that interest you. We’ll teach you a diverse set of tools and methods, preparing you well for PhD study or a career in a number of fields such as business environments or public policy and implementation.
You explore topics including:
We’re one of Europe’s leading economics departments, ranked top 5 in the UK for research, with over 90% rated as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014). We’re also ranked 11th in the UK for Economics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2020). Much of our world-class research is related to policy, and we have particular strengths in the areas of:
There's always something fascinating going on in our department, from regular lively debates with prestigious speakers in seminars, workshops and conferences to cutting-edge papers being published in leading journals, including American Economic Review, Econometrica, and Review of Economic Studies.
With this course you also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner institutions and achieve a dual award, which means you’ll receive two Masters degrees in two years. Find out more on our dual award webpage.
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.
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.
With its distinctive focus on questions in behavioural economics, combining theoretical foundations and real-world applications, this course will equip you with transferable employability skills valued in industry (for example in the retail and financial sectors), government and academia.
Our graduates find employment in roles such as business and financial analysts, management consultants, government officials, and economists for banks and other financial organisations. Recent graduates include an Analyst at E2V Technology Company, Delivery Executive at Adam Smith International, a University Lecturer and roles in large organisations such as Deutsche Bank.
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.
We want you to succeed in your career after Essex. To help you do this, we offer two of our students on this course the chance to undertake work experience as a lab assistant in ESSEXLab, our state-of-the-art social science lab at our Colchester Campus. ESSEXLab works with researchers from across the social sciences, from Essex, elsewhere in the UK, and abroad.
As a lab assistant, you help researchers access lab resources to plan and execute their experiments, giving you a full view of the experimental research process at ESSEXLab from start to finish.
Lab assistants will have the opportunity to participate in supporting a variety of studies, including studies in the lab, online studies, and studies conducted in the field via ESSEXLab Mobile, our iPad-based mobile social science laboratory.
We offer a number of postgraduate taught dual awards 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.
“The department was very supportive throughout my stay at Essex. I got a better understanding of behavioural economics as well as experimental economics. I also enjoyed working as an assistant in ESSEXLab. I worked with researchers, finding out how they come up with ideas, formulate them into an experimental design, run the experiments, and make sense of the data. After my Masters, I decided to stay at Essex and study PhD Economics.”
Zia UI Hassan Khan, MSc Behavioural Economics
A degree with an overall 2.2 in a discipline related to economics such as: Economics, Maths, Engineering, Finance, Physics or any other degree with a strong maths component.
The Degree should contain some economics components including Macroeconomics; Microeconomics or Econometrics.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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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.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
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.
The example structure below is representative of this course if taken full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the modules will be split across 2 years.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold 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:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
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.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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