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Home > Courses > Courses for 2017 > Postgraduate > Economics 2-year programme
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Economics 2-year programme MSc 2-year

UCAS code
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
2 years full time
Department Economics »


Studying Economics at Royal Holloway means that you will learn from internationally renowned experts at one of the UK’s top ten teaching and research centres. This programme provides you with an opportunity to study a portfolio of courses in the first year designed to bring you up to the entry standard for the Masters degree; ideal if you have graduated from disciplines other than Economics or if you have some background in Economics and wish to deepen your understanding of the discipline. You will receive rigorous training in the analysis of economics and graduate with the tools of the professional economist so that you are ready for your chosen career path, whether in government, the private and financial services sectors or further research in economics.

In the first year you will study undergraduate level courses and in the second year, subject to progression, you will progress to the 1-year long Masters in Economics. Throughout your studies you will gain a strong grounding in core areas of economics and have the flexibility to specialise in areas such as public economics, labour economics or theoretical economics. On graduation you will have the ability to solve theoretical and/or applied problems in economic policy, critically evaluate current research, develop simplifying frameworks for studying the real world and to be able to appreciate what would be an appropriate level of abstraction for a range of economic issues.

Our balanced approach to research and teaching guarantees high quality teaching from subject leaders, cutting edge materials and intellectually challenging debates.  Our courses follow a coherent and developmental structure which we combine with an effective and flexible approach to study.

  • Excellent career prospects; economics has an impressive employment record and graduates’ starting salaries are amongst the highest in the country.
  • Small and select group with individual support; being part of a small group of around 10 students means you’ll feel part of a team and have close contact with the academic staff, you’ll also receive the individual support from the course director.
  • Quality research and teaching;one of only economics departments in the country placed in the top ten for both research and student satisfaction (Research Assessment Exercise, 2014 and National Student Survey 2015).
  • One of the few Departments in the UK to have an in-house economics experiments laboratory, used by staff and students.

Pre-course preparation

Mathematical Methods

In this two week module you will revisit the mathematical tools and methods which are neccessary for studying and working in economics, covering the basic analytical methods, with particular emphasis on optimisation and basic matrix analysis.

Core modules

Year 1

Microeconomics

This module will develop your understanding of the basics of modern microeconomic analysis. You will become familiar with the tools that economists use to analyse problems of resource allocation in market settings, beginning with a formal analysis of the optimising behavior of consumers and producers. You will be introduced to markets and the notion of competitive equilibrium, in both partial and general equilibrium settings. You will then look at how individual market participants can affect prices, analysing the problem of a monopolist. Finally you will consider static game theory to analyse markets where a small number of firms compete with each other (oligopolies).

Macroeconomics

This module will provide you with an introduction to modern intertemporal macroeconomics. You will learn about the tools used for dynamic economic analysis and apply them to topics such as economic fluctuations, unemployment, long-run growth, consumption decisions by households and investment decisions by firms. You will develop an understanding of dynamic macroeconomic models of economic behaviour, the main theories of economic fluctuations, the modern theory of unemployment, the principal determinants of consumption and investment decisions, and look at the process of economic growth.

Year 2

Mathematical Methods

This module will provide you with an introduction to the basic mathematical and statistical methods used in Economics and Finance, with a particular emphasis on optimisation and basic matrix analysis. You will develop your ability to carry out differentiation and integration of standard functions, manipulate vectors and matrices, and understand and solve various optimisation problems, both constrained and unconstrained with equality or inequality constraints. You will look at probability and distribution theory, becoming familiar with estimation and inference, and be able to use the main theorems of the large sample distribution theory.

Dissertation

You will attend a set of preparatory classes to equip you with the necessary skills required for research, including a hands-on approach to using statistical packages and reading peer-reviewed articles. You will be expected to use either econometric or statistical techniques, and apply your knowledge and skills from the other quantitative methods and theory modules taken during your studies, to produce your own piece of research around 10,000 words in length.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Development Economics

In this module you will take a theoretical and empirical look at the applications of economics to less developed countries and consider policy issues associated with these. 

Economic History

In this module you will develop your understanding of important topics from economic history, covering periods of economic growth and wellbeing, agricultural and urban development, globalisation and migration, banking and monetary systems, and the Great Depression and recovery.

Economics of Life

This module covers family, household and demographic economics. You will think about real-world situations and develop your understanding of economic behaviour in your personal life, and how economics applies to an array of activities that most people don't think of as 'economic'. You will analyse methods of economic behaviour in a variety of contexts, and undertake a small original research project.

Financial Economics

This module will provide you with an insight into the nature of financial markets and how they are used by investors and corporations. You will start by looking at the equity market, considering issues of optimal asset allocation, asset pricing theory, market efficiency and market microstructure. You will then concentrates on fixed income securities and the uses and applications of derivative financial instruments, covering pricing of fixed-income securities, futures, options and swaps and hedging.

Game Theory

In this module you will develop an understanding of the mathematical models used to study and analyse strategic interactions between agents. You will look at the fundamental concepts in game theory as applied to economics in general and microeconomics in particular. You will become familiar with basic equilibrium concepts such as Nash equilibrium and subgame perfect equilibrium, and be able to find equilibrium outcomes of simple games including the use of backward induction. 

Labour Economics

In this module you will develop your understanding of the main theoretical and empirical issues in modern labour economics. You will look at theory, evidence and policy, covering labour demand, labour supply and time allocation decisions, schooling and job training, human capital investment, wage determination, unemployment, minimum wage, returns to schooling, discrimination, and immigration. You will critically analyse important labour market phenomena, as well as various public policy issues, such as government training programs, minimum wage policies, unemployment insurance and welfare benefits.

Industrial Economics

In this module you will develop your understanding of the methods and models applied by economists in the analysis of firms and industrial organisations, including competition policy. You will look at how these models can be manipulated to solve problems relating to industrial economics, and how the models can be applied to important policy areas, while also being aware of the limitations of the theory.

Public Economics

In this module you develop an understanding of the effects of government policy upon the economy and the design of policy. You will look at empirical methods for policy evaluation and discuss research carried out in public economics, on topics such as income taxation, welfare support, behavioural responses, and social security.

Year 2

Advanced Topics in Microeconomics

In this module you will develop an understanding of some of the key topics in macroeconomics, notably the the roles of technological change, monetary policy, and fiscal policy in macroeconomic fluctuations. You will look at models of economic growth, resource allocation, and technological change, evaluating empirical evidence of these, and you become familiar with techniques such as dynamic optimisation, log-linearisation and difference equations for general economic analysis.

Decision Theory and Behaviour

In this module you will develop an understanding of the rational decision making paradigm in economics, as well as its shortcomings over the past few decades. You will explore behavioural models, their formalisation and scope, including applications to finance, becming familiar with both theoretical and experimental methods for research in decision theory and behavioural economics.

Evaluation Economics

This module will provide you with an introduction to the economics of policy evaluation. You will look at how quantitative techniques and qualitative methods can be used to evaluate policy interventions, and look at the effects of specific policies in particular countries. You will develop your understanding of the key debates and problems in the economics of policy evaluation, and become familar in using the Stata software package for statistical analysis.

Experimental Economics

In this module you will develop your understanding of behavioural economics and using experiments as a methodology for testing economic theory. You will review the major and latest findings from experiments in the literature, with an appreciation of experimental design issues. Working in groups, you will design and carry out an experiment of your own to test economic theory, and present your findings. You will look at methods for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of experimental methods, and be able to constructively criticise experimental work.

Financial Econometrics

In his module you will develop an understanding of the methods used in the analysis of macro and financial time series data. You will analyse and critically evaluate empirical research in finance and macroeconomics, looking at linear and non-linear time series. You will consider the methodologies for large sample modelling of financial and economic data, and undertake a quantitative research project applying testing procedures on time-series data.

Industrial Economics

In this module you will develop your understanding of the methods and models applied by economists in the analysis of firms and industrial organisations, including competition policy. You will look at how these models can be manipulated to solve problems relating to industrial economics, and how the models can be applied to important policy areas, while also being aware of the limitations of the theory.

Labour Economics

In this module you will develop your understanding of the main theoretical and empirical issues in modern labour economics. You will look at theory, evidence and policy, covering labour demand, labour supply and time allocation decisions, schooling and job training, human capital investment, wage determination, unemployment, minimum wage, returns to schooling, discrimination, and immigration. You will critically analyse important labour market phenomena, as well as various public policy issues, such as government training programs, minimum wage policies, unemployment insurance and welfare benefits.

Public Economics

In this module you develop an understanding of the effects of government policy upon the economy and the design of policy. You will look at empirical methods for policy evaluation and discuss research carried out in public economics, on topics such as income taxation, welfare support, behavioural responses, and social security.

The Economics of Banking

In this module you will develop an understanding of the economic meaning of the terms liquidity and solvency in the context of financial intermediaries. You will look at simiplified frameworks for analysing the fragility of the financial system and consider its revelance to financial crisisesincluding models of bank runs and the theory of optimal financial regulation. You will examine the implications of asset price bubbles for financial stability, and the implications of imposing capital structure controls and liqudity controls on financial intermediaries.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.

Entry criteria:

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2.1) or overseas equivalent in non-Economics related subjects.

Applicants must show that they have taken or be taking a year long Mathematics or Statistics module and achieve 2.2 level or equivalent.

Applicants with a good Second Class Honours degree (2.2), or overseas equivalent, will be considered on an individual basis 

This is a full-time graduate conversion course for students who have a background in an area other than Economics.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other subscores. For equivalencies, please see here.


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

An Economics masters degree at Royal Holloway, University of London will equip you with an enviable range of transferable skills and can lead into a variety of career paths as well as the knowledge and a solid foundation for continued PhD studies. Employers recognise and reward the real knowledge and skills developed in an Economics degree. 

We will help students to recognise their own strengths, skills and abilities so that they can make strong applications for their chosen job or further study.  We also provide careers support including application and interview coaching, career strategy discussions and the opportunity to network with major employes.

  • Our graduates are highly employable and full time employment or further study achieved by 90% of Economics graduates within six months of graduation (Unistats 2012).
  • Our graduates are highly employable and, in recent years, have entered many different economics-related areas, including working in the Public Sector (Government Economics Service), Journalism and Business Analysis.  

  • Our graduates are currently working for firms such as Accenture, TNS, Bloomberg, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, Pricewaterhouse Cooper and Baker and Mackenzie.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: Year 1 - £5,535, Year 2 - £8,300

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: Year 1 - £11,335; Year 2 - £17,000

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email student-fees@royalholloway.ac.uk for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

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