Postgraduate Course

MSc Behavioural Economics

MSc Behavioural Economics

Overview

The details
Behavioural Economics
October 2021
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus
Economics

Though available as both a January and October start, part-time study is only available as part of the October start variant.

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:

  • How economic considerations, cognitive limitations and psychology jointly shape human decision making
  • Theoretical frameworks and empirical predictions for environments where traditional theory fails to provide guidance
  • Markets and strategic interactions.

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 17th in the UK for Economics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2021). Much of our world-class research is related to policy, and we have particular strengths in the areas of:

  • Economic theory, game theory and strategic interactions
  • Behavioural economics
  • Applied economics and labour economics

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.

Why we're great.
  • Work with researchers to learn how to conduct experiments from start to finish, as a lab assistant in ESSEXLab.
  • Learn powerful theories and skills that are welcomed in business environments and public sectors, as well as doctoral-level study.
  • Learn alongside research stars who are breaking new ground in all fields of economics.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

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.

See research interests of our staff.

Specialist facilities

Take advantage of our wide range of learning resources to assist you in your studies:

  • Work with researchers to learn how to conduct experiments from start to finish, as a lab assistant in ESSEXLab, our state-of-the-art social science experimental lab.
  • Extensive software for quantitative analysis is available in all computer labs across the University
  • Access a variety of economics databases and multiple copies of textbooks and e-books in the Albert Sloman Library

Your future

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.

Be a lab assistant

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.

One Masters not enough for you?

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

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

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.

International & EU entry requirements

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.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

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.

Additional Notes

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.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

EC903-7-AU or EC402-7-AU or EC403-7-AU
(20 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Option(s) from list
(40 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Behavioural Economics I: Individual Decision Making
(20 CREDITS)

How do individuals make decisions? When does classic economic theory not predict empirically observed behaviour? And how do you then use behavioural economics to reconcile your empirical findings with theoretical models? Learn about empirical and theoretical research in behavioural economics that can be used to explain individual decision making.

View Behavioural Economics I: Individual Decision Making on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Behavioural Economics II: Games and Markets
(20 CREDITS)

What happens when classic economic theory doesn’t predict empirically observed behaviour? Can behaviour economics help? Study strategic interactions and markets using behavioural economics to reconcile empirical findings with theoretical models. Gain an understanding of experimental methods used in behavioural economics.

View Behavioural Economics II: Games and Markets on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

Option from list
(20 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: CORE

Dissertation
(40 CREDITS)

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.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Experimental Economics
(20 CREDITS)

This module equips you with the tools to critically access experimental methods commonly used in economics. You will put theoretical knowledge into practice, learning how to design experiments and interpret results. With a growing interest in behavioural considerations, experiments are increasingly used not only in psychology, but also economics and political science. Recognizing the value of controlled variation to study causal relationships, large companies also increasingly use "A-B testing".

View Experimental Economics on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • 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

Assessment

  • 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

Dissertation

  • You undertake an individually supervised research project that involves the in-depth study of a specific economic problem or issue

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£12,410

International fee

£19,380

EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

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:

  • 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 tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 18, 2021
  • Saturday, October 23, 2021

Applying

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

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.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

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.

 

Virtual tours

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.

Exhibitions

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.


Find out more

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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