Postgraduate Course

MRes Political Economy

MRes Political Economy

Overview

The details
Political Economy
October 2024
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 6th in UK for research power in politics and international studies (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021).

Economics at Essex is 4th in UK for research power in economics and econometrics (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021).

Why we're great.
  • We are 6th in UK for research power in politics and international studies (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021)
  • You have unrivalled one-to-one access to some of the best minds in politics and international relations
  • We are the only political science department to receive the prestigious Regius Professorship

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

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

A 2.2 degree in American Studies, Economics, Finance, International Relations, International Studies, Political Science, Political Studies, Statistics, or United States Politics.

OR

A 2.2 degree in any subject which includes study in two relevant modules. Relevant modules include, but are not limited to:

  • Comparative Political Systems
  • Constitutional Democracy
  • Contemporary World Affairs
  • Current Affairs
  • Democratic Theory
  • Econometrics
  • European Integration/Dynamics of Integration
  • Foreign Policy/Comparative Foreign Policy
  • Game Theory
  • Governmental Processes/Systems
  • Human Rights
  • Ideology and Political Analysis
  • International Economic Law
  • International Economic Relations
  • International Trade/Business Law
  • International Law
  • International Public Relations
  • International Security
  • International Trade/Business Law
  • Law of Armed Conflict
  • Micro/Macro Economics
  • Peace Studies
  • Philosophy(MA Political Theory only)
  • Political Conflict
  • Political Decision Making
  • Political Economy
  • Political Sociology
  • Political Studies
  • Public Administration
  • Public International Law
  • Public Policy Analysis
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Security Studies
  • Strategic Studies
  • Terrorism
  • Theories of Development

The following may also be considered:

  • Applicants with a degree in an unrelated subject and have at least 5 years of work experience such as working with a NGO, UN, or government. Please provide your CV.
  • Applicants with a lower class degree where relevant modules have been studied with marks of 2:2 or above.
  • Applicants who have achieved a first class degree in any subject.

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


If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum score of 5.5 in all components.

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

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

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

Quantitative Methods
(15 CREDITS)

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 Quantitative Methods on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Comparative Political Economy
(15 CREDITS)

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 Comparative Political Economy on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

International Political Economy
(15 CREDITS)

This module focuses on how domestic politics affect national integration into international markets. You will examine areas like how national politics affect trade policy, foreign direct investment, financial markets, financial liberalisation, sovereign debt dynamics, central banks and monetary policy, and exchange rate policy and regimes. Extra topics include things like economics of inter- and intra-state conflict. You will cover these dynamics in both developed and developing, and democratic and authoritarian nations.

View International Political Economy on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Research Design
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Advanced Quantitative Methods
(15 CREDITS)

This module presents advanced quantitative methods for political science based on maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), with a particular focus on the generalised linear model (GLM). After introducing the principles of MLE, models for different kinds of outcome distributions, such as binary, ordinal, categorical, count, and event history data, are considered. This module also introduces some advanced methods beyond the GLM. All models and methods are approached substantively, mathematically, and computationally (using R), with applications to political science research questions. Throughout the module, you will also familiarise yourself with the interpretation and presentation of empirical evidence in political science. The module will be particularly useful for you if you aim to pursue a career in academia or in research-intensive environments, for example think tanks, research-related government posts, data science, or survey analytics.

View Advanced Quantitative Methods on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Mathematical Methods
(20 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY

Microeconomics
(20 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 08: OPTIONAL

Government option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 09: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Summer school option 1
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 10: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Summer school option 2
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Macroeconomics
(20 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Applied Research Design
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Government or Economics option from list
(20 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Government option(s) from list
(45 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: CORE

MRES Dissertation
(90 CREDITS)

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

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

Postgraduate students in the Department of Government generally have a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar for each module every week or a two-hour seminar (in the case of smaller modules), but there are variations in place depending on the module.

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

£10,000 per year

International fee

£21,700 per year

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.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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.

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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 University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

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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