Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Economics with Management Science

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: N/A
Final award: MA Honours
Programme title: Economics with Management Science
UCAS code: L1N2
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Economics
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Richard Holt
Date of production/revision: September 2017

External summary

Economics is the study of the incentives that shape and reconcile the decisions that individuals, businesses, governments and societies make, and the macroeconomic outcomes such as economic fluctuations, growth, unemployment and crises, which may arise from those decisions.

Economics at the University of Edinburgh has a distinguished history, spanning over two hundred years. Leading Edinburgh-based scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment, such as Adam Smith and David Hume, played a key role in the development of modern economics. The leading international scholars, who comprise our current faculty, continue to work at the cutting edge of research, providing an exciting and stimulating learning environment for high ability students drawn from a wide range of countries.

Economics at Edinburgh offers students the opportunity to develop (i) an understanding of key economic and social issues, (ii) a strong blend of qualitative and quantitative reasoning skills, (iii) the ability to abstract from less relevant issues and get to the heart of a problem, (iv) the ability to assemble and evaluate complex evidence and arguments, (v) the ability to apply core economic principles to key decision-making contexts, (vi) the ability to communicate precisely and succinctly and (vii) intellectual autonomy and personal effectiveness in task-management, time-management and teamwork.

Study at a leading, large and diverse university also offers broad opportunities to further develop important career-related skills and links through a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

Partly for these reasons, new graduates in Economics from Edinburgh command a wage premium over those from most other disciplines and from many other institutions.  Initial destinations are diverse. They range from jobs in investment banking and finance, to positions in management and consultancy, as well as to those working as economists for governments, central banks, international organisations, and NGOs or continuing on to postgraduate study.

Educational aims of programme

The programme is guided by the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Economics and aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate:

  • a broad knowledge and understanding of key economic and social issues, principles, models and associated mathematical and statistical techniques, along with applications and policy implications of those models and a deeper understanding of recent research activity in some more specialised areas.
  • research and investigative skills such as problem framing and solving and the ability to assemble and evaluate complex evidence and arguments.
  • personal and intellectual autonomy through independent learning, self evaluation and self improvement and through the application of core economic principles to key decision-making contexts.
  • communication skills in order to critique, create and communicate understanding and to collaborate with and relate to others.
  • personal effectiveness through task-management, time-management, teamwork and group interaction, dealing with uncertainty and adapting to new situations.
  • practical/technical skills such as, modelling skills (abstraction, logic succinctness), qualitative and quantitative analysis, programming of statistical packages and general IT literacy.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

Graduates in Economics from the University of Edinburgh will have had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

  • A1 - Core economic concepts (e.g. opportunity cost, incentives, equilibrium, disequilibrium and stability, strategic thinking, marginal considerations, expectations and surprises, systems and dynamics, mutual gains and conflict of interest, and market failure).
  • A2 - Core principles and models of microeconomics (concerning e.g. decision and choice, production and exchange, interdependency and markets, risk and information, economic welfare) and macroeconomics (concerning the aggregate consequences of individual decisions e.g. output, employment, growth, business cycles, money, inflation, and exchange rates).
  • A3 - Applications of core economic theory and reasoning to applied topics and policy issues.
  • A4 - Key mathematical and statistical/econometric techniques. The ability to understand applications of these techniques and to use them as problem solving tools or for data analysis
  • A5 - Major modern developments in economic analysis, with a deeper understanding and appreciation of ongoing research activity in some more specialised areas.
  • A6 - Knowledge and understanding of different disciplines up to the 2nd year level.

Teaching/learning methods and strategies

A1 and A2 are developed progressively in the core courses in years 1 to 3 of the programme through lectures, small-group tutorials, on-line learning (via Learn), learning-by-doing through working through problem sets and guided independent study. Additional support in years 1 and 2 is provided through Helpdesks staffed by selected final year students. A3 and A5 are also developed in the core required courses, with more detailed and in depth treatment in a wide range of option courses taken in years 3 and 4 of the programme. Option courses employ a variety of teaching methods including: informal lectures, seminars, teamwork projects and debates. Regular class contact is supplemented by more informal, student-driven, office hours and Helpdesks. A4 is developed as an integral part of the core courses in years 1 through 3 of the programme. These key techniques are developed and applied in a variety of micro- and macro-economic contexts, reinforcing understanding of the techniques and their usefulness in economic analysis. Additional support for learning is provided by on-line learning tools (via Learn). A3 and A4 are further developed in the core courses in year 3, including courses in econometrics, and a variety of option courses in years 4. The core econometrics courses include lectures and small-group exercise classes, many of which are held in computer laboratories utilizing statistical/econometric packages. Independent study, both to broaden knowledge and understanding and to learn-by-doing, is important throughout the programme and is progressively emphasised in later years, culminating in a substantive Honours dissertation. Co-operative learning, with fellow students, is also encouraged. Formal instances of co-operative learning exist through the use of team-based project work in Essentials of Econometrics and Applications of Econometrics, various Honours option courses and through dissertation group-meetings. A6 is developed through ‘outside’ courses taken in years 1 and 2. Outside courses may be chosen from the very broad range of 1st and 2nd level courses offered by the University of Edinburgh. This enables students to pursue genuine outside interests in a wide diversity of subjects, as well as more cognate disciplines such as Economic History, Finance, Politics, Philosophy and Mathematics.

Assessment:

Knowledge and understanding is tested by a mix of multiple choice and written examinations, short and extended essays, problem sets, project reports in various formats, teamwork projects (including poster presentations) and a dissertation. Written examinations vary in format depending on the knowledge and understanding being tested. Some employ traditional essays (often with a model-based analytical core), others place more emphasis on problem-solving.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Graduates in Economics from the University of Edinburgh will have had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills and abilities relating to the process of research and enquiry including:

  • B1 - The ability to identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied economic problems and identify or devise approaches to investigate and solve these problems.
  • B2 - The ability to search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding of economic and social phenomena and the methods and techniques used to analyse these.
  • B3 - The ability to critically assess existing understanding of economic and social issues, the limitations of that understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and understanding of those issues.
  • B4 - The ability to question the principles, methods, standards and boundaries of economic knowledge.
  • B5 - The ability to understand economic, legal, and environmental issues in the use of information.

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

Skills and abilities relating to research and enquiry are central to the mastery of economics and are emphasized and developed progressively throughout the programme. While all teaching/learning modes in all years play an important role in developing these capabilities, they are particularly emphasised in: small-group classes and tutorials; feedback and guidance on exercises and essays; seminars and project work; informal discussions in lectures; guidance for independent study, e.g. dissertation supervision; and student-driven office-hour consultations. Exercises, essays, and other assignments, throughout the programme, develop these capabilities by challenging students to apply, adapt, question and extend knowledge and understanding in novel contexts. The programme structure enables students to develop an appreciation of differing approaches to analysing economic phenomena ranging from more literary and discursive modes to more technical and formal modes. Honours option courses, taken in the third and fourth year of the programme, and the dissertation provide opportunities for critical appraisal of existing understanding at or close to the research frontier and scope to extend knowledge and understanding of economic and social phenomena.

Assessment:

All forms of assessment (outlined above) place great emphasis on research and enquiry. Examinations (including multiple choice exams) are designed to test the ability to analyse economic problems and evaluate understanding of economic phenomena, by challenging students to adapt and apply their knowledge and understanding, rather than rewarding memorization and regurgitation. Essays, project work and the dissertation also emphasize skills and abilities relating to research and enquiry.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Graduates in Economics from the University of Edinburgh will have had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills and abilities relating to personal and intellectual autonomy including:

  • C1 - The ability to be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement.
  • C2 - The ability to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues.
  • C3 - The ability to work towards personal goals in an independent manner.
  • C4 - The ability to collaborate and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views.

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

Skills and abilities C1-C4 relating to personal and intellectual autonomy are emphasized and developed throughout the programme. They are encouraged and reinforced by feedback on course-work essays, guided exercises and project reports throughout the programme. The emphasis on personal and intellectual autonomy increases throughout the programme, culminating in the Honours dissertation. Learning opportunities, such as the Help Desk and office hours, require the use of independent action and initiative. Core economics principles and concepts (e.g. opportunity cost, incentives, equilibrium, disequilibrium and stability, strategic thinking, marginal considerations, expectations and surprises, systems and dynamics, mutual gains and conflict of interest, and market failure) are transferable to most decision contexts and foster C2. Teamwork projects and presentations, interaction in seminars and small-group classes and cooperative learning, develop C4. More generally, degree programme choices up until the end of year 2, choices of ‘outside’ courses in years 1 and 2, and of honours options in years 3 and 4, the dissertation topic, taken by the student, possibly following consultation with their Personal Tutor foster C1-C4. Provision of different levels of academic and pastoral support at different stages in the programme fosters the development of personal and intellectual autonomy.

Assessment:

This group of skills plays an important part in all forms of assessment. C1-C3 is emphasized, in particular, in examinations, essays, project reports and the dissertation. C4 is emphasised by assessed teamwork projects and presentations.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates in Economics from the University of Edinburgh will have had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills and abilities in communication including:

  • D1 - The ability to make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, create and communicate understanding.
  • D2 - The ability to further their own learning through effective use of feedback.
  • D3 - The ability to use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others.
  • D4 - The ability to communicate relevant information succinctly and precisely.
  • D5 - The ability to communicate both qualitative and quantitative reasoning

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

D1 and D2 are encouraged and reinforced by feedback on course-work essays, guided exercises and project reports throughout the programme. The study of Economics emphasises succinct communication through the use of formal modelling and abstraction. The emphasis on these increases throughout the programme, culminating in the Honours dissertation. Learning opportunities, such as the Help Desk and office hours, develop communications and interpersonal skills. Teamwork projects and presentations, interaction in seminars and small-group classes, cooperative learning, and regular day-to-day contacts (such as obtaining information and advice from busy lecturing, service or administrative staff) develop D3. Both the diverse set of phenomena and the range of modes of analysis embodied in the Economics programme enable students to develop an ability to understand communicate both qualitative and quantitative reasoning. The wide range of extra-curricular activities available at the University of Edinburgh, together with vacation employment and internship opportunities, also play an important role in developing and enhancing these skills.

Assessment:

This group of skills plays an important part in all forms of assessment. D1, D2, D4 and D5 are emphasized, in particular, in essays, project reports, the dissertation and by written examinations; D3 by assessed teamwork projects, reports and presentations.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Graduates in Economics from the University of Edinburgh will have had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate skills and abilities in relation to personal effectiveness such as:

  • E1 - The ability to manage tasks and skills in time-management.
  • E2 - The ability to cope with uncertainty and to adapt to new situations
  • E3 - The ability to adapt to new situations make decisions based on their understanding.
  • E4 - The ability to work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking.

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

Course handbooks, and other department and university resources, provide guidance on E1. The time-pressures of student life involve balancing the demands of non-academic and academic pursuits: keeping up-to-date with studies, course-work deadlines (which involve some deadline bunching), exam preparation, and longer-term projects, such as the dissertation, reinforce these skills through learning-by-doing. In conjunction with the increased emphasis on independent action, time-management skills are more important in later stages of the programme. Course-work deadlines, examinations and class presentations are potentially stressful, encouraging students to learn to cope with stress, with guidance and advice on stress-management provided by an extensive network of university and department resources. Teamwork projects and presentations, interaction in seminars and small-group classes, cooperative learning, and regular day-to-day contacts (such as obtaining information and advice from busy lecturing, service or administrative staff) develop E4. Core economics principles and concepts (e.g. opportunity cost, incentives, equilibrium, disequilibrium and stability, strategic thinking, marginal considerations, expectations and surprises, systems and dynamics, mutual gains and conflict of interest, and market failure) are transferable to most decision contexts and hark back to outcomes A1 through A6 (as well as relating to C2). Provision of different levels of academic and pastoral support at different stages in the programme fosters the development of personal effectiveness.

Assessment:

This group of skills plays an important part in all forms of assessment. E1 is emphasized, in particular, in essays and project reports. The dissertation, the work for which is staged over a period of around 8 months, places particular emphasis on E1. Examinations (including multiple choice exams) are designed to test E2, by challenging students to adapt and apply their knowledge and understanding, rather than rewarding memorization and regurgitation. The wide variety of assessment modes in use throughout the programme encourages adaptability. E3 is emphasized by examination and deadline pressures, and E4 by assessed teamwork projects and presentations.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Graduates in Economics from the University of Edinburgh will have had the opportunity to develop and demonstrate the following advanced technical and or practical skills and abilities:

  • F1 - High level language programming ability in STATA and/or other statistical packages
  • F2 - General computer IT Literacy
  • F3 - Modelling skills: abstraction, logic, succinctness, quantitative analysis (mathematics and statistics)
  • F4 - Qualitative analysis

Teaching/learning methods and strategies:

Extensive use, linked to learning-by-doing, is made of computing and IT resources throughout the programme, including: computer assisted learning; essay, report and dissertation presentation; data analysis and statistical econometric work; as an information resource; for communication by e-mail.

In analysing economic and social issues, throughout the programme, frequent use is made of formal mathematical and statistical models to study the mechanisms at work. Thus students have extensive opportunities to develop the ability to abstract from irrelevant details and focus on the heart of the problem, which is the essence of good modelling in economics. Use of models enables students to develop logical skills and offers them opportunities to develop the succinctness of their analytical arguments. Frequent use of written assessments throughout the programme also encourages students to develop their skills of qualitative or discursive analysis: argumentation, strength of internal logic, sharpness of structure, use of relevant examples etc.

Assessment:

Assessment of F1 and F2 is primarily through course-work – essays, project reports - and the dissertation. F3 and F4 are assessed both through coursework and examination.

Programme structure and features

The MA Honours programme is a full-time 4 year programme. In years 1 and 2 of the programme students take ‘ordinary level’ courses. A satisfactory performance in these courses is required for progression into Honours, in years 3 and 4. The wide variety of outside courses that can be taken in years 1 and 2 of the programme provides an opportunity for a broad-based learning experience. An appropriate choice of ordinary courses can also make it possible to transfer to (or from) other programmes within the College of Humanities and Social Science, providing flexibility to accommodate evolving interests. Guidance and advice on choice of ordinary courses is provided by Personal Tutors. In the Honours years (years 3 and 4) students take a mix of required courses, and a selection from a wide range of option courses. At the Honours level in particular, courses are closely linked to the research interests of teaching staff. In addition all Honours students research and write a dissertation.

Knowledge and understanding, and the skills and other attributes listed in section 10 above are developed progressively throughout the programme.

Issues related to sustainability, social responsibility and equality and diversity are embedded in the normal curriculum; to some extent they relate to the core economic concepts outlined in 11. A. above. They are particularly emphasised in elective courses: Issues in Global Economics, Applications of Economic Analysis. They are also addressed in elective courses including Productivity Growth and Development, Development Economics, Policy for Economic Development, Issues in the Economics of Climate Change, Natural Resource and Environmental Economics, Public Economics, Health Economics, The Economics of Crime, Labour Economics, Economics of Inequality, Economics of the Family and Women in the Global Economy.

Courses are a mix of 40 credits (normally 2 semesters, 22 teaching weeks, in length), 20 credits (normally one semester, 11 teaching weeks, in length) and some outside courses are 10 credits. A ‘normal’ year comprises 120 credits. Students should expect to undertake approximately 200 hours of efficient learning per 20 credits. This includes formal class time, which for ordinary and required honours courses, is 3-5 hours per week per course. Honours option courses have less formal class time (normally 2 hours per week plus fortnightly tutorials) and place more emphasis on guided independent study.

The normal mode of study is through coursework and examination, the only exception being the Honours dissertation, which does not include a final examination.  The normal programme structure, with entry, progression and exit points, is outlined below. With appropriate prior approval some variations to this normal structure may be permissible, in particular: Year 3 may comprise Study Abroad, either on a University of Edinburgh exchange programme, an ERASMUS programme (Economics has subject specific links with Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, University of Mannheim, University of Malta and Tilburg University).

The normal curriculum is:

Year 1:

Courses:

  • Economics 1 (SCQF credit points: 40; SCQF Level: 8)
  • Further courses (SCQF credit points: 80; SCQF Level: 8)

Progression requirements:

Minimum: a pass in Economics 1A and 80 credits overall.

Exit options:

Transfer into another Honours programme or Ordinary programme, linked to outside courses taken in Year 1. Undergraduate Certificate in Higher Education (requires 120 credits)

Year 2:

Courses:

  • Economics 2 (SCQF credit points: 40; SCQF Level: 8)
  • Statistical Methods for Economics (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 8)
  • Management Science and Information Systems  (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 8)
  • Principles of Finance or Business Economics (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 8)
  • Further courses (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 8)

Progression requirements:

Minimum: (i) passes in all courses (240 credits) in the first two years, (ii) a pass in Economics 2, (iii) a pass in Statistical Methods for Economics, and (iv) a mark of 50% or above at the first attempt in Management Science and Information Systems and (v) a mark of 50% or above at the first attempt in either Principles of Finance or Business Economics are normally required.

Exit options:

Transfer into another Honours programme, where the relevant progression requirements are met by performance in outside courses taken in years 1 and 2.

Transfer into an Ordinary programme

Undergraduate Diploma in Higher Education (requires 240 credits)

 

Year 3

Courses:

  • Topics in Microeconomics (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 10)
  • Essentials of Econometrics (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 10)
  • Topics in Macroeconomics (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 10)
  • Applications of Econometrics (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 10)
  • Management Science and Operations Planning (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 10)
  • Research in Management (SCQF credit points: 0; SCQF Level: 10)
  • Business, Economics or Maths option course (SCQF credit points: 20; SCQF Level: 10)

Progression requirements:

Minimum: Passes in 80 credits and average of at least 40.

Exit options:

Transfer into an Ordinary programme.

Year 4

Courses:

Completion of the dissertation in Economics (40; 10) plus further Honours option courses (SCQF credits: 80; SCQF Level: 10) in Economics or Management Science. The option courses available vary, for an up-to-date list see the current Economics Programme Handbook or the Economics website.

  • Adv’d Mathematical Economics (credits: 20; Level 10)
  • Adv’d Topics in Applied Econometrics (20;10)
  • Behavioural Economics (20;10)
  • Capital and Growth Theory (20; 10)
  • Development Economics (20;10)
  • Economics of Asymmetric Information (20;10)
  • Economics of Education (20;10)
  • Economics of Financial Markets (20;10)
  • Economics of Inequality (20;10)
  • Economics of Migration (20;10)
  • Economics of Self-Management (20;10)
  • Economics of Sport (20;10)
  • Economics of Strategic Behaviour 1 (20;10)
  • Economics of the Family (20;10)
  • Economics of Transition (20;10)
  • Experimental Economics (20;10)
  • Human Capital (20;10)
  • Industrial Organization (20;10)
  • International Economics (20;10)
  • Issues in Climate Change Economics (20;10)
  • Modelling the Fin’l Crisis & its Aftermath (20;10)
  • Monetary Theory and Policy (20;10)
  • Natural Resource & Environmental Econ (20;10)
  • Policy Evaluation for Public Economics (20;10)
  • Productivity, Growth and Development (20;10)
  • The Chinese Economy: Past and Present (20;10)
  • The Economics of Cities and Regions (20;10)
  • The Economics of Crime (20;10)
  • Women in the Global Economy (20;10)

Minimum requirements for MA Honours are a mean mark of at least 40 and passes in at least 160 credits over the two Honours years.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims. The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Structure:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Problem based learning activities
  • Peer group learning
  • One to one meetings with personal tutors/directors of studies/supervisors

Outcomes:

Skills and abilities relating to personal and intellectual autonomy are emphasized and developed throughout the programme. Support for the lecture material and experience in problem solving is provided by weekly tutorial sessions accompanying each lecture module. These involve small groups of students with an academic tutor who will discuss the problems with full participation by students. Learning opportunities, such as the Help Desk and office hours, require the use of independent action and initiative. Core economics principles and concepts (e.g. opportunity cost, incentives, strategic thinking, marginal considerations, expectations and surprises) are transferable to most decision contexts and foster the ability to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought. Teamwork projects and presentations, interaction in seminars and small-group classes and cooperative learning, develop the ability to collaborate and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen personal views. Provision of different levels of academic and pastoral support at different stages in the programme fosters the development of personal and intellectual autonomy.

Festival of Creative Learning The University of Edinburgh Festival of Creative Learning is scheduled between Week 5 and Week 6 of Semester 2. During this week ‘normal’ teaching is suspended.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 125750
Year 222780
Year 321790
Year 410900

Assessment methods and strategies

Assessment

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often takes the form of formative work which provides the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for credit.

In Year 1

  • Class Exams – midterm and end of semester
  • Essay
  • Written Examinations

In Year 2

  • Class Exams – midterm and end of semester
  • Essay
  • Projects
  • Written Examinations

In Year 3

  • Class Exams
  • Essays
  • Projects
  • Presentations
  • Written Examinations

In Year 4

  • Class Exams
  • Essays
  • Projects
  • Presentations
  • Written Examinations

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 177320
Year 268527
Year 375223
Year 441356

Career opportunities

Economics graduates from the University of Edinburgh are highly regarded by employers. The skills you learn throughout your course will equip you for careers in accountancy, business, management and consultancy, or for work within aid agencies, not-for-profit organisations or government departments. Many previous graduates have chosen to enter the finance sector and some of the large financial firms actively seek to recruit Edinburgh graduates.

Other items

Minimum requirements for MA Honours are a mean mark of at least 40 and passes in at least 80 credits per year in each of the two Honours years (Year 3 and Year 4).