School of Economics

Programme Structure

The MSc lasts for 12 months from September to the end of August in the following year.

The taught component of the programme is designed with an aim to equip students with the conceptual tools and mathematical and econometric techniques necessary for a successful research career in economics. It is worth 130 credits, and courses are assessed mainly by class exams and final exams during April and May. The dissertation/research project is submitted in August and is worth 50 credits.

Foundation Pre-Sessional Programme

Many students (particularly those with limited background in economics) will be asked to undertake the intensive Foundations of Economics pre-sessional programme. This programme runs throughout August, and  takes students through foundational micro- and macroeconomics, emphasising economic intuitions rather than technical details. Successful completion of the pre-sessional programme is an entry condition for the MSc programme, for those students who are required to undertake it prior to the start of the MSc.

Preliminary Courses

In the week before the formal start of the programme, students without a strong background in statistics are encouraged to audit Foundations of Statistics and Econometrics (0 credits), which runs in September, and introduces the application of statistical theory in the context of economics.

The mandatory part of the programme begins with a preliminary course in Mathematics, Statistics and Econometrics, running for two and a half weeks in September. This course will review the basic quantitative tools, including optimisation, matrix algebra, and basic econometrics.

Students will also be introduced to Stata (econometrics software) which will be used throughout the core courses in econometrics and macroeconomics. 

Core Courses

In October and November, students take Econometrics 1 (20 credits), Macroeconomics 1 (20 credits) and Mathematical Microeconomics 1 (30 credits). In January and February, students take either Econometrics 2 – Time Series, or Econometrics 2 – Microeconometrics; Macroeconomics 2; and Microeconomics 2 (all 10 credit courses). These six courses form the core of any leading MSc in Economics, and the bulk of these courses is shared with our existing MSc in Economics, which is a collaborative programme taught by academics from across Scotland. However, there is an exception: one third of Mathematical Microeconomics 1 is devoted to mathematical proofs, which allows students to develop their skills in logic and abstraction. 

In addition to these courses, students form small teams for the Econometrics Project (10 credits), to work on a practical empirical topic using modern econometric techniques. Students form their groups by December and submit their final assessment in March, also attending the 2-day  Annual Residential Conference in January to present on their chosen topic.

Residential Conference

In January all MSc students participate in a 2-day conference away, which is structured similarly to academic and professional conferences. The conference will provide students with an experience to present their econometric project in front of their peers and academic staff, as well as the networking opportunities with the academic staff and fellow MSc and PhD students. The programme will further include general interest and keynote talks from a range of speakers and career guidance. There will be a mandatory session on dissertation/research project, as well as an opportunity to learn more details about the available option courses.

There will also be an opportunity to learn about PhD opportunities in Scotland, and to attend presentations by the current PhD students, thus getting an exposure to some of the issues and challenges involved in actual economic research.

Option Courses

From late February to early April, students will take two option courses. The option course list is updated every year and the course delivery is subject to sufficient demand. Currently it is expected that the students will be able to choose up to two courses from the following list:

  • Advanced Topics in Macroeconomics
  • Advanced Topics in Microeconomics
  • Advanced Microeconometrics
  • Advanced Time Series Econometrics
  • Analytical Techniques in Macroeconomics
  • Bayesian Econometrics
  • Machine Learning, Big Data and Text Analysis for Economists

and up to one course from the following list:

  • Asset Pricing
  • Corporate Finance
  • Development Economics
  • Development and Methodology of Economic Thought
  • Economic Policy
  • Economics of Labour Markets
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
  • Experimental Economics and Finance
  • Health Economics
  • International Money and Finance
  • Topics in Economic History

Dissertation/Research Project

As a unique feature of the MEE programme, students on this programme are given a choice of what they can do for their final, “capstone” output for their MSc. Students who wish to pursue a future academic career are encouraged to undertake the Dissertation, whereas students who wish to develop skills that are in high demand outside of academia are encouraged to undertake the Research Project.


Students who undertake the dissertation will work independently, supervised by an experienced economist, to produce a thesis that demonstrates the mathematical, statistical, numerical and programming skills they have acquired throughout the programme.

Submission of the dissertation in August will mark the completion of the MSc.

Research Project

Students who undertake the Research Project will work in small groups to develop their quantitative research abilities. Overseen by an experienced economist, students will produce a research report, compiled by the group, and a project synopsis, prepared individually and independently. (As the project involves a substantial group component, it will be offered subject to sufficient demand.)

Submission of the research report and project synopsis in August will mark the completion of the MSc.