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Dissertation MSc Economics


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7

Module description

There are three routes you might choose for the dissertation:

  1. To extend your Econometrics project
  2. To develop a topic from your option course in conjunction with the option course supervisor
  3. To do an independent topic in consultation with a member of staff

Any subject that relates to material covered in the programme is admissible, but it is generally sensible to stick to projects which contain some substantial element of statistical or numerical analysis. Theoretical projects are more difficult although occasionally students are able to produce good work of this type. Purely institutional topics are not permitted. A good source of data is Datastream, which can be accessed using a computer in the Library.

All dissertations should have:

  1. a well defined research question about the topic
  2. a review of the relevant literature showing familiarity with recent published research
  3. a review of the theoretical issues relevant to the topic
  4. a review of the empirical evidence relevant to the topic. This may (but need not) include econometrics. It could look at history, institutions, case studies, etc. Even theoretical dissertations need some empirical context. If students do econometrics they need to follow the Econometrics project rules, provide data etc.
  5. clear conclusions which discuss the extent to which they have answered the question posed
  6. adequate referencing and a clear academic literary style.

You must submit a one-page proposal by the first week of spring term. This proposal should state the basic idea of the project, what data and computing facilities will be required and whether or not these are known to be available.

The dissertation is intended to demonstrate your ability to work independently. There will be a couple of lectures after the examination period (late June) giving you general advice on how to write a dissertation. You will not be allocated supervisors. You are responsible for getting informal advice from staff members before end June.

Note that many staff members are away in July and August. July and August are for completing the research, and for writing up the dissertation.

The dissertation has a limit of 8000 words and should be submitted by the end of September.

Learning objectives

The dissertation requires you to apply the techniques and knowledge acquired from the taught courses. You should:

  • show that you have a good knowledge of the relevant literature on their chosen topic
  • identify an interesting question associated with that topic and analyse this question either in a new way or with new data
  • demonstrate you have a good grasp of techniques (statistical, numerical or theoretical) relevant for analysing the question
  • present the results of your analysis in a clear and convincing manner, within the word limit (8000 words).