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Economics (MSc)

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Course overview

The aim of this traditional taught Masters is to provide you with rigorous training in the analysis of economics, including quantitative techniques and research methods. On completion of this degree you will be equipped with the tools of the professional economist and will be ready for your chosen career path, whether in government, the private and financial services sectors or further research in economics.

You will study core course units in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics, as well as a range of optional courses to allow specialisation. You will be taught by a top-ranking Department of Economics with expertise in a wide set of areas and who produce world leading research.

With an intake of 25-30 places you will benefit from a strong sense of group-identity and enjoy close contact with the academic staff of the department. The course director serves as your personal advisor up until the spring and you will then be assigned a personal dissertation supervisor.

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Science
Duration 1 year full-time
Department and Faculty Economics, Management, Economics and Law
Partner institution(s) --
Course director

Dr Vinay Nundlall
Postgraduate Taught Academic Co-ordinator

Contact for more information

+44 (0)1784 414002

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days pages.


Entry requirements

Entry criteria:

        UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2.1) or overseas equivalent in Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or a similarly mathematical subject.  Applicants with a good Second Class Honours degree (2.2), or overseas equivalent, will be considered on an individual basis 

Relevant professional qualifications and relevant experience in an associated area.

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 |

Students with a good undergraduate degree in a subject other than Economics should apply for our MSc Economics Two Year programme

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.


Why choose this course?

  • The course offers an excellent opportunity to get a strong grounding in core areas of Economics and to specialise your knowledge further through the optional courses on offer.
  • You will be taught by academics who produce world leading research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise we were ranked among the top 10 Economics Departments in the UK
  • Students attend a two week pre-sessional quantitative methods course to ensure they are in a good position to start this challenging Masters course.
  • Our graduates are highly employable: 90% of graduates from the Department of Economics were in full time employment or further study within six months of graduation.
  • The Department has expertise in a wide set of areas, including Labour Economics, Experimental Economics, and Public Economics, and the topics taught on our Masters courses reflect these areas of excellence.
  • The Department of Economics at Royal Holloway is unique in being a young department, created in 1995, in an established and prestigious college of the University of London.
  • We are one of the few Departments in the UK to have an in-house economics experiments laboratory, used by staff and research students.

Department research and industry highlights

  • Economics is among the top departments in the UK for Research Excellence. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 80% of the Department's research submitted was ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent (rated 3* and 4*).
  • A recent analysis of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) shows that the Economics Department at Royal Holloway is the third best department in the UK for publications. The study by Jim Taylor and Ian Walker provides further insight into the research standing of UK economics departments. Previous rankings from the data already showed the Department in the top 10 in the UK.
  • The Department displays strength across the core fields of the discipline - microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics – and in particular labour economics, development economics, experimental economics and economics history. 
  • We run a weekly Internal Seminar which provides a lively forum for work at an early stage of development. Our External Seminar Series runs weekly during term and welcomed over 20 external speakers from prominent places during last academic year. Invitees are the usual mixture of established names and newer entrants to the profession thought to be doing exciting work. 

Course content and structure

The duration of the course is 12 months, including a compulsory pre-sessional mathematics refresher course and a dissertation written over the summer.

Core course units:

Pre-sessional mathematics refresher course
All students attend the compulsory pre-sessional quantitative methods refresher course, which runs for 2 weeks in September, before the start of lectures. There are no additional fees for this course.

Microeconomic Theory - Games
This is a graduate level introduction to microeconomic theory. You will cover decision and game theory and in particular the following topics: decision under risk, decision theoretic puzzles, normal form games, Nash equilibrium, incomplete information, political competition, matching, auctions, and mechanism design. 

You will be provided with an introduction to modern intertemporal macroeconomics focusing on the determinants of Economic Growth; for instance, overlapping generation models and the Ramsey growth model. You will also develop and apply tools for dynamic economic analysis that are useful in all fields of economics. This course gives you a solid core in modern macroeconomics.

This course will give an overview of the principle techniques of empirical investigation used in economics. The emphasis will be on the practical application of these techniques. The course will cover the principle techniques used in multivariate regression analysis, you will be introduced to the principles and assumptions underlying ordinary least squares, the consequences of any departure from these assumptions, how to test for this and what to do about it.

Microeconomic Theory - Markets
This course is studied in the spring term and is a graduate level introduction to: mathematical programming, the microeconomic theory of firm and consumer behaviour, partial and general equilibrium analysis, monopoly and oligopoly and welfare economics. Students will gain both an abstract understanding of microeconomic theory and a level of proficiency that allows them to use microeconomic models in other areas of economics.

Research Methods and Dissertation
You will be equipped with the necessary skills required for research. While conducting research sounds like an easy task, it is paved with various difficulties. This course aims to help you avoid these traps so that you can conduct an efficient piece of research at the end of your degree.

The dissertation gives you the opportunity to analyse an economics issue in depth. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor and by the end of March, submit a preliminary dissertation report that contains a clear statement of the problem under consideration, the structure of the project and the research methods that are going to be applied. The dissertation is then written over the summer.

Elective course units:

You will choose from the following elective course units:

Political Economy
This course will provide an advanced treatment of the tools used in political economy to tackle some major questions faced by public sector economists. It will in particular focus on the modelling of voters and politicians’ behaviours to address the role played by incentives and constraints faced by politicians when choosing public policies. The effect of different forms of institutional arrangements on public decision making and electoral accountability will be analysed from both a theoretical and empirical perspective. 

Financial Econometrics
This course introduces students to the main econometrics techniques used to study macro and financial time series.

Public Economics
Public Economics is concerned with the study of the effects of government policy and the design of optimal policies. You will assess the implications of basic welfare economics in public policy and a number of recent research areas in public economics are then discussed including income taxation, tax evasion, externalities and social security.

Decision Theory and Behaviour
This course unit will deepen your knowledge of rational decision making through the exploration of behavioural models, their formalization and their scope, including applications to finance. You will also become familiarized with both theoretical and experimental methods for research in decision theory and behavioural economics. 

This course will introduce students to the Large Sample Theory and the Generalised Methods of Moments (GMM) framework for econometric analysis, including Extremum Estimators such as the Maximum Likelihood (ML) estimator. Students will be presented with commonly used microeconometric cross section and panel data models within the GMM framework and will be provided with the skills to implement those models to economic phenomenon.

Evaluation Economics
The aims of the unit are to give you broad advanced-level training in the economics of policy evaluation and the facility to apply economic models to evaluate actual policy interventions. It will provide you with the facility to apply quantitative techniques and qualitative methods and you will evaluate actual policy interventions in particular fields and countries.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • advanced training in the principles of economics and their application appropriate to postgraduate level
  • developed the ability to apply the advanced knowledge, research methods and skills they have acquired to the solution of theoretical and/or applied problems in economic policy
  • the ability to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline
  • analytical skills and an ability to 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
  • a range of transferable skills that will be of value in employment and self-employment
  • the knowledge and skills base from which they can proceed to research in economics and related areas.



View the full course specification for Economics (MSc) in the Programme Specification Repository


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

Employability & career opportunities

90% of graduates from Royal Holloway, University of London’s Department of Economics were in full time employment or further study within six months of graduation.

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, business analysis. careers as Economists, Journalists and Business Analysts.  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. This course also equips you with the subject knowledge and a solid foundation for continued PhD studies.  

Your careers ambitions are supported by our Careers Officer, Dr.Melanie Luhrmann as well as the College Careers Service, located right next door to the economics department. They offer application and interview coaching, career strategy discussions, and the opportunity to network with major employers on campus. Our careers service is provided by the Careers Group, the main provider of graduate recruitment services in London. Thus, you will have additional access to a wealth of presentations and networking opportunities. 


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