School of Economics

CPD (Mathematical Economics)

Did you graduate without learning the mathematics skills needed for economics research? You can catch up by taking Advanced Mathematical Economics, and you may take additional courses from the School of Mathematics. You can take up to six courses, over one or two semesters.

MAchu Pichu

Why is mathematics so important?

University-level mathematics is a prerequisite for many Masters and PhD programmes. See for example, the American Economics Association’s web page about Math Preparation for Graduate School.

Mathematics is used in economics research in a few ways:

  • Economics is full of stories. For example, Akerlof’s market for lemons paper involves a story about a vicious circle: if the market price is too low, the best sellers will quit, which drives the price down further, and even more sellers quit, and so on. These stories need to be checked for logical fallacies such as circular reasoning. Mathematics is all about devising rigorous reasoning in the form of mathematical proofs.
  • A major part of economic activity is preparing for the future. Since the future never ends, realistic models of macroeconomics require an infinite number of time periods, and hence an infinite number of choices (how much to study, how many houses to build, and so on, for all of eternity). Navigating these infinities require some clear mathematical reasoning.

Who can apply?

This programme is open to any student who has:

  • completed an undergraduate degree at any university, and
  • has taken at least two economics courses.

The programme is primarily designed for students who have completed an undergraduate or masters degree in economics, and would ultimately like to do a PhD in economics.

What courses can I study?

There is one compulsory course:

  • Advanced Mathematical Economics (ECNM11072, semester 1). See the course website for details.

In addition, students can take between zero and five courses in the School of Mathematics. The most common courses are:

  • Introduction to Linear Algebra (MATH08057, semester 1).
  • Calculus and its Applications (MATH08058, semester 2).
  • Accelerated Linear Algebra and Calculus (MATH08062, semester 1), which covers the same material as the above two courses, but at twice the pace.
  • Proofs and Problem Solving (MATH08059, semester 2).
  • Accelerated Proofs and Problem Solving (MATH08071, semester 1), which covers similar material to Proofs and Problem Solving, but in semester 1.

Many postgraduate programmes list these topics as prerequisites. The “accelerated” options allow students to complete their studies in semester 1.

When does the programme run?

This year, the programme starts on September 16, 2019. It can be taken over one or two semesters.

How should I prepare?

Students should be fluent with high school calculus. Students can follow the preparation guide. In addition, we recommend that students take the GRE test, because many postgraduate programmes in Europe and the United States require it.

How much does it cost?

The fees are based on how many credits of courses you take, and are calculated as a proportion of the usual postgraduate tuition fees. For example, in 2019-2020, EU/UK students pay £10,700 for a one-year degree consisting of 180 credits. Therefore, a CPD (Mathematical Economics) student paying the EU/UK fee rate taking three 20 credit courses would pay 60/180×£10700=£3567.

What will I get in the end?

You will receive an official transcript with your grades. We also write recommendation letters that explain your achievements to postgraduate admissions committees.

How can I apply?

Please send an email expressing interest to econpga@exseed.ed.ac.uk before September 16, 2019.