2020 applicants
Postgraduate Course

MRes Political Economy

MRes Political Economy

Overview

The details
Political Economy
October 2020
Full-time
2 years
Colchester Campus
Government

Over the last three decades, political economy has been one of the fastest growing approaches in the social sciences. If you are interested in how institutions shape the behaviour of political actors and how political decisions influence markets and vice versa, then you will profit from our course.

Our MRes Political Economy is a two-year course, designed to give you additional training in research design and research methods compared to an MSc or MA. You study modules on political economics and research methods across your two years, while developing a 35,000-word dissertation.

At Essex, we are primarily interested in the study of political institutions and how they might determine economic variables. Our MSc Political Economy covers all aspects of modern political economy, including:

  • Micro and macroeconomics
  • The quality of governance
  • Monetary policy choices
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Environmental policies
  • Market failure

Run jointly between our Department of Economics and our Department of Government, our MRes Political Economy offers excellent preparation for PhD study, combining substantive political economy modules with additional training in research design and research methods. You learn how to develop theories, conduct research, and explore the empirical implications of theoretical models using the most appropriate empirical methods.

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began.

Economics at Essex is ranked 9th in the UK for overall student satisfaction (NSS 2020) and is top 5 in the UK for research, with over 90% of our research rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Why we're great.
  • We have been ranked first in the UK for political science research since national league tables began.
  • You have unrivalled one-to-one access to the best minds in politics and international relations.
  • We are the only political science department to receive the prestigious Regius Professorship.
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

Study and work alongside some of the most prominent economists and political scientists of our time.

Our researchers are at the forefront of their field and have even received MBEs; they are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

Many of our economic 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.

Specialist facilities

  • Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political and quantitative analysis
  • ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
  • Student societies for politics, economics, debating, and Model UN
  • We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
  • A programme of seminars and events run by the department

Your future

An MRes puts you in a particularly strong position to succeed in a research degree. We offer supervision for PhD and MPhil in the following fields: government; ideology and discourse analysis; international relations; political behaviour; and politics.

Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at: Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Other recent graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:

  • The Civil Service
  • Local government
  • The World Bank
  • The United Nations
  • NATO
  • YouGov and YouGov America

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.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

You will need a degree with a 2.2 in Political Science, International Relations, American Studies, United States Politics, Business - ( finance related), Economics or Statistics.

Applications from students with a degree below a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

We will accept applicants with a degree in an unrelated field but you must have studied at least two relevant modules with marks at 2:2 level in the final two years of study. Relevant modules include, but are not limited to:

Comparative Political Systems, Constitutional Democracy, Contemporary World Affairs, Democratic Theory, Econometrics, European Integration, Foreign Policy, Game Theory, Governmental processes, Human Rights, Ideology & Political Analysis, International Economic Law, International Economic Relations, International Trade/Business Law, International Law, International Public Relations, International Security, Law of Armed Conflict, Micro/Macro Economics, Peace Studies, Political Conflict, Political Decision Making, Political Economy, Political Sociology, Public Administration, Public International Law, Public Policy Analysis, Quantitative reasoning, Strategic Studies, Theories of Development, Current Affairs, Political Economy, Terrorism, Security Studies.

We will also consider applicants with a non relevant degree but at least six months relevant work experience such as working with a NGO.

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 6.5 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

Example structure

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.

Political Economy

The course bridges together topics in international relations, comparative political economy, and economics. The goals of the course are to (a) introduce students to contemporary scholarly research on political economy topics, (b) introduce students to strategic models in political science using substantive applications, and (c) stimulate students to form original ideas for promising quantitative research projects in the area of contemporary political economy.

View Political Economy on our Module Directory

Advanced Research Methods

Master the quantitative methods that are essential for testing hypotheses. You will study hypothesis testing, linear regression models, and more advanced regression models ubiquitous in political science, accompanied by data science and R programming skills.

View Advanced Research Methods on our Module Directory

Theory and Explanation in Political Science

This module outlines a series of topical issues in political science research. Using a positivist paradigm the module explores a variety of methodological approaches to answer substantive questions. This module seeks to provide students with an overview of how political scientists study the social world and the types of questions they ask. You will learn become familiar with current research in the discipline and learn how to synthesise and extrapolate core concepts from it.

View Theory and Explanation in Political Science on our Module Directory

Mathematical Methods

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.

View Mathematical Methods on our Module Directory

Microeconomics

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.

View Microeconomics on our Module Directory

Beyond OLS: Categorical, Choice, and Count Models (optional)
Advanced Survey Data Analysis and Survey Experiments (optional)
Advanced Methods for Social Media and Textual Data (optional)
Panel Data Analysis for Comparative Research (optional)
Identifying Causation through Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research (optional)
Time Series and Panel Models for Dynamic and Heterogeneous Processes (optional)
Advanced Machine Learning for Social Scientists (optional)
Computational Methods for Social Data Science (optional)
Quantitative Methods for Causal Inference and Policy Evaluation (optional)
Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modelling with MPLUS (optional)
MRES Dissertation

Your dissertation gives you an opportunity for independent learning on a topic of your choice, with one-to-one supervision from a member of staff. You write a dissertation of up to 35,000 words, which is due at the end of your second year.

View MRES Dissertation on our Module Directory

Applied Research Design

You replicate an already published paper to better understand the details of the empirical analysis, assess its robustness, and develop the paper in a new direction by changing one element. For example, include a new control variable, introduce an interaction term, or extend the time period or the sample size.

View Applied Research Design on our Module Directory

Macroeconomics

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.

View Macroeconomics on our Module Directory

Research Design

In this module you gain an overview of the logic of social science research designs that includes the goals, theories and strategies of social science research, and develop a research agenda for potential use as publication in a peer reviewed journal, MA or PhD dissertation.

View Research Design on our Module Directory

The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional)

Explore the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics and international organisations in relation to conflict and peace. You investigate the underlying theoretical arguments about war and peace, consider the implications entailed by these different theories, and evaluate these using empirical data.

View The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional) on our Module Directory

International Security Studies (optional)

The field of security studies has become increasingly important over the last decade. While old conflicts are reigniting and new ones are emerging, scholars and decision-makers debate about changes to the concepts of security, the redundancy of military force, and the centrality of the state in order to face these ever-important issues.

View International Security Studies (optional) on our Module Directory

International Negotiation (optional)

Master the explanatory and practical value of negotiation style, strategies and tactics in the context of theories of international relations.

View International Negotiation (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Parties in Britain and Europe (optional)

How does ideology shape the policies of British political parties? How do those parties choose their leaders, determine their policies, campaign in elections and fund their activities? This module examines how political parties in the UK compete for votes and asks whether their leaders or their members take the key decisions.

View Political Parties in Britain and Europe (optional) on our Module Directory

Multiparty Systems and Coalitions (optional)

European multiparty systems differ in a variety of ways, including how their parties compete and how they form governments. This module compares a range of party systems in Western Europe, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean, looking at the decline of social-democratic and Christian-democratic parties, and the rise of green parties and the radical right.

View Multiparty Systems and Coalitions (optional) on our Module Directory

From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death (optional)

Theories of justice are still being worked on and developed today. You question contemporary theories of justice through applying them to some of the most controversial issues dominating contemporary politics.

View From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death (optional) on our Module Directory

Environmental Politics (optional)

Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values, to the environmental movement, to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.

View Environmental Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Explanation (optional)

This module offers you an introduction to the theory and practice of quantitative data analysis techniques. You will also be introduced to the computer package R, which is widely used by academics and practitioners for the analysis of quantitative data. As the work becomes more challenging, the relevance of the techniques to modern social science research becomes more apparent.

View Political Explanation (optional) on our Module Directory

Theories of International Relations (optional)

This module provides you with a graduate-level introduction to both foundational and contemporary international relations research. The emphasis will be on evaluating arguments, understanding the development of the field, and identifying unresolved questions.

View Theories of International Relations (optional) on our Module Directory

Advanced Research Methods (optional)

Master the quantitative methods that are essential for testing hypotheses. You will study hypothesis testing, linear regression models, and more advanced regression models ubiquitous in political science, accompanied by data science and R programming skills.

View Advanced Research Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Conflict Resolution (optional)

In this module you focus on conflict resolution in inter- and intra-state issues. You gain experience in the practical as well as in the theoretical aspects of negotiation and mediation, exploring the applicability of various tools and techniques in problem-solving real cases of international conflict, and making use of negotiation and mediation techniques in role playing exercises and other types of simulations.

View Conflict Resolution (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Economy (optional)

The course bridges together topics in international relations, comparative political economy, and economics. The goals of the course are to (a) introduce students to contemporary scholarly research on political economy topics, (b) introduce students to strategic models in political science using substantive applications, and (c) stimulate students to form original ideas for promising quantitative research projects in the area of contemporary political economy.

View Political Economy (optional) on our Module Directory

Political Theory (optional)

This module introduces historical and contemporary traditions within political theory, and applies these theories to pressing policy debates.

View Political Theory (optional) on our Module Directory

Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (optional)

Evaluate a variety of foundational questions in the philosophy of science about how and to what extent we can obtain certain, value-free knowledge and make laws about the social world. Explore the methodology of normative political theory and the role and importance of ideals and utopias in political thinking.

View Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Public Opinion and Political Behaviour (optional)

On this module you explore a variety of questions concerning public opinion: How do citizens acquire information and convert it into opinions? Can politicians and the media influence public opinion and if so, how? How do we select representative samples in order to understand what the public really thinks? How do we measure opinion accurately? What type of measurement scales are available to help us do this?

View Public Opinion and Political Behaviour (optional) on our Module Directory

Concepts and Measurements in Comparative Political Research (optional)

On what ground can we conclude that government A performs better than government B? Are elections more competitive in country B than country A? Are citizens in country A more knowledgeable about politics than citizens in country B? How do we know the relative importance and salience of a specific policy issue or policy dimension in country A compared to that in country B? This module offers an in-depth and thorough understanding of (conventional and alternative) measurements for the core concepts in comparative political research.

View Concepts and Measurements in Comparative Political Research (optional) on our Module Directory

Comparative European Politics (optional)

The objective of this module is to provide a better understanding of democratic political and economic processes in Europe. The first part of the module will be devoted to studying the origins of party systems, party competition, electoral systems, the rise of populist and extremist parties, referendums, and linkages between citizens and politicians in West and East European countries. In the second part, we will examine the institutional foundations of welfare-capitalism and analyse the incentives of different actors (labour unions, employers, lobbyists, etc.) to maintain or undermine certain regulatory arrangements. Furthermore, we will study how coordinated and liberal capitalism types responded to challenges such as globalisation and deindustrialization. A large part of the module is devoted to studying the power-sharing arrangements in the European Union. In this context, we will analyse the new trade agreements the EU has struck in light of rising global trade tensions, and what the euro crisis, influx of refugees, and disintegration referendums might mean for the future of the EU. The module also provides an accessible introduction to research design and methods that political scientists have used to address these topics.

View Comparative European Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)

This module outlines a series of topical issues in political science research. Using a positivist paradigm the module explores a variety of methodological approaches to answer substantive questions. This module seeks to provide students with an overview of how political scientists study the social world and the types of questions they ask. You will learn become familiar with current research in the discipline and learn how to synthesise and extrapolate core concepts from it.

View Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional) on our Module Directory

United States Politics (optional)

This module is designed to survey a wide range of topics in the study of political institutions, policy-making, and elections in the United States. You explore the American political system and gain a deep understanding of both theoretical perspectives and contemporary practical issues facing the US political system, as well as providing a framework for students to develop an original perspective on each.

View United States Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Economics of the European Union (optional)

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.

View Economics of the European Union (optional) on our Module Directory

Market Structure and Strategic Behaviour (optional)

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.

View Market Structure and Strategic Behaviour (optional) on our Module Directory

Econometric Methods (optional)

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.

View Econometric Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Mathematical Methods (optional)

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.

View Mathematical Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Economic Development Theory (optional)

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.

View Economic Development Theory (optional) on our Module Directory

Microeconomics (optional)

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.

View Microeconomics (optional) on our Module Directory

Economics of Financial Markets (optional)

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.

View Economics of Financial Markets (optional) on our Module Directory

Behavioural Economics I: Individual Decision Making (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Behavioural Economics II: Games and Markets (optional)

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 (optional) on our Module Directory

Theory of Industrial Organisation (optional)

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.

View Theory of Industrial Organisation (optional) on our Module Directory

The Economic Geography of Employment, Innovation and Trade (optional)

Despite all the talk about the “death of distance”, geography matters more than ever. This course is a journey through the current economic landscape. We will try to understand the economic forces driving trends in wages, productivity and innovation across cities and regions. These are the forces that will define the geography of future jobs and will shape the economic destiny of local communities around the world.

View The Economic Geography of Employment, Innovation and Trade (optional) on our Module Directory

International Finance (optional)

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.

View International Finance (optional) on our Module Directory

Economics of Incentives (optional)

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.

View Economics of Incentives (optional) on our Module Directory

Time Series Econometrics (optional)

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.

View Time Series Econometrics (optional) on our Module Directory

Estimation and Inference in Econometrics (optional)

What are the main principles of estimation and inference in econometrics? Learn to justify or criticise (where appropriate) the use of econometric methods of estimation and inference in a variety of situations. Gain analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as an understanding of economic and business policies.

View Estimation and Inference in Econometrics (optional) on our Module Directory

Panel Data Methods (optional)

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.

View Panel Data Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Applications of Data Analysis (optional)

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.

View Applications of Data Analysis (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Courses are designed to provide you with an advanced understanding of either the politics of a geographical area or an aspect of the discipline
  • Courses include both compulsory and optional modules, so the course can be tailored to fit your interests and aspirations
  • Learn through discussion and problem-solving
  • Lab sessions allow you to improve your technical research skills
  • We encourage students to attend national conferences to meet researchers and discuss their work

Assessment

  • Your coursework comes in the form of essays, simulations, presentations and in-class tests

Dissertation

  • You are given guidance on how to prepare a Masters dissertation by our Graduate Director in the spring term
  • We link you with an appropriate supervisor at the earliest opportunity

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£8,340

International fee

£17,900

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.

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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