Postgraduate Course

MRes Political Economy

MRes Political Economy

Overview

The details
Political Economy
October 2019
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.

Our Department of Economics 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 an overall high 2.2 in Political Science, International Relations, American Studies, United States Politics, Business - ( finance related), Economics or Statistics.

Applications from students with 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 of at least 58% 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.

All of our MA and MSc courses have a similar structure, however the MSc programmes include a compulsory module which requires strong mathematical skills. If you are considering applying for an MSc course and are unsure if you have the required mathematical skills, please follow the attached link to a short maths assessment which will give you a sample of the level of maths required.

GV Methods capability test

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 rational choice approach uses methods derived from microeconomics to study a wide range of political phenomena, and is now of considerable significance. This constructs explanations on the assumption that individuals are rational and often self-interested. You learn to apply these methods to a range of phenomena in the fields of politics and political economy.

View Political Economy on our Module Directory

Advanced Research Methods

Master the quantitative methods which are essential to test hypotheses. You study hypotheses testing, hypotheses testing using Least Squares, and some classic violations of the Gauss-Markov conditions, before continuing to learn some more advanced models ubiquitous in political science.

View Advanced Research Methods on our Module Directory

Theory and Explanation in Political Science

Studying philosophy of science is not necessarily about becoming a philosopher; it can also help us to do political science better. You cover the main theoretical approaches to the study of politics, including both models of political actions that inform and are derived from the empirical study of politics, and normative theories of politics. This enables you to ask questions from the philosophy of sciences concerning how we can study social and political phenomena.

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

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

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

Comparative European Politics (optional)

This module is about how representative democracy works in Europe. You explore several topics within the European context, including: public opinion, political participation, political parties, electoral systems, party competition, and how to evaluate democracies. You also develop specific knowledge about several European countries by learning how the political institutions function within them.

View Comparative European Politics (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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Environmental Economics (optional)

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.

View Environmental Economics (optional) on our Module Directory

Game Theory and Applications (optional)

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.

View Game Theory and Applications (optional) on our Module Directory

Ideology and Political Discourse (optional)

You are introduced to key strands of poststructuralist discourse theory, including post-marxism, deconstruction, structural linguistics, and psychoanalytic theory. You also engage with a set of contemporary debates in political and social theory, using the economy (eg., the global financial crisis and public service reforms) as a central theme and reference point.

View Ideology and Political Discourse (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 the EU.

View Environmental Politics (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

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

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

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.

View The Economic Geography of Employment, Innovation and Trade (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

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

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

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

Political Economy (optional)

The rational choice approach uses methods derived from microeconomics to study a wide range of political phenomena, and is now of considerable significance. This constructs explanations on the assumption that individuals are rational and often self-interested. You learn to apply these methods to a range of phenomena in the fields of politics and political economy.

View Political Economy (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 Stata, 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

Political Parties in Britain and Europe (optional)

Question party motivations, electoral strategies, ideologies and leaderships in Britain and Europe as you explore the changing nature and role of political parties in advanced liberal democracies.

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

Political Theory (optional)

This module introduces you to two main traditions within contemporary political theory: analytical political theory, and ideology and discourse analysis. You explore a range of ideas and concepts within these traditions in relation to central discussions in contemporary political theory.

View Political Theory (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

Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (optional)

Evaluate a variety of perspectives on post-structuralist and post-analytical research, gaining an appreciation of the assumptions underpinning different approaches to questions of description, explanation and critique. You explore a range of prominent perspectives including empiricism, rationalism, conventionalism, positivist, hermeneutics, and critical realism.

View Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (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

Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)

Studying philosophy of science is not necessarily about becoming a philosopher; it can also help us to do political science better. You cover the main theoretical approaches to the study of politics, including both models of political actions that inform and are derived from the empirical study of politics, and normative theories of politics. This enables you to ask questions from the philosophy of sciences concerning how we can study social and political phenomena.

View Theory and Explanation in Political Science (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

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

Topics in Financial Economics (optional)

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.

View Topics in Financial Economics (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/EU fee

£7,940

International fee

£17,040

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.

2019 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, June 15, 2019
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019
  • Saturday, October 26, 2019

Applying

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.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 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.

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