Skip to main content

Economics

MSc, MRes

Key Information

Course Overview

Our Economics postgraduate programme is challenging but rewarding. It is designed to equip you with tools and techniques that provide a strong basis for careers in business, government and academia. It provides a grounding in economics and econometric techniques:

  • looking at standard economic theories and their applications to new economic problems
  • enabling you to access and evaluate current research output in academic journals and in the public domain
  • providing you with the ability to use economic analysis and related techniques in practical and professional contexts
  • examining the issues behind current controversies in economics and finance
  • training you in quantitative skills and data handling
  • requiring you to combine your theoretical and quantitative understanding in an original piece of applied work.

Prior training in economics is a distinct advantage, but not essential. If your first degree is in another discipline, in your first year at Birkbeck we may ask you to complete some or all of the modules in our well-established Graduate Diploma in Economics, which will provide you with key tools in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics to enable you to tackle advanced study in economics. The exact choice and number of modules will depend on your academic background.

You will learn to assess original ideas in academic papers and to test them with the use of econometrics.

If you opt for the MRes programme, it will prepare you to undertake MPhil/PhD or professional research by giving you the theoretical knowledge and analytical techniques you need. The course will give you a solid understanding of economics through modules taught at master's and MPhil level, including a dedicated research topics module in macroeconomics. You can also specialise in a particular area of personal or professional interest via a range of option modules. You will be assigned an academic MRes supervisor from the onset.

After specialist training in research skills, you will undertake a piece of independent research, supervised by one of our academics and culminating in a dissertation. If you are interested in pursuing further research, we offer an associated MPhil/PhD Economics. 

Birkbeck's postgraduate economics courses are built around our long-running experience in research-led evening teaching. Many of our students work in government, finance, economic consultancies, think tanks and the digital economy, which generates a lively atmosphere in class and ensures that you'll be studying alongside, and networking with, committed, enthusiastic students with a wealth of experience. You will be taught by active researchers, working at the cutting edge in their respective fields, who are also experienced professional practitioners, giving specialist advice and in-house training to government departments and banks and firms in the City of London.

Discover the career opportunities available by taking Economics (MSc, MRes).

Find another course:

Highlights

  • We offer you a high quality virtual learning environment with online resources that complement our teaching, including video recordings of lectures. Some modules may also offer opportunities to study online, although this may only be available for home students.
  • Since we started teaching this course, we have taught generations of economists, who have gone on to work at the Bank of England, the Treasury, the Civil Service, consultancy and in academia.
  • Birkbeck graduates are well respected by employers, who value the dedication and ability required to balance evening study with daytime occupations.
  • This course is recognised as a research training programme by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). For UK and EU applicants intending to pursue research, ESRC studentships (one year for the Master’s course followed by three years of funding for research) may be available for candidates with a strong academic background.
  • 84% of our Economics and Econometrics research outputs were ranked world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, placing us among the top economics departments in the UK.
  • Watch our academics discuss some of their recent research projects.

Course Structure

Birkbeck makes all reasonable efforts to deliver educational services, modules and programmes of study as described on our website. In the event that there are material changes to our offering (for example, due to matters beyond our control), we will update applicant and student facing information as quickly as possible and offer alternatives to applicants, offer-holders and current students.

  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    MSc: At least a second-class honours degree (2:2), or its equivalent, in either a directly relevant or a highly quantitative subject, or the Birkbeck Graduate Diploma in Economics.

    Non-EU students are encouraged to submit GRE or GMAT results. In some cases, the admissions tutor may request these results in order to make a decision on your application. In that case, you should upload your score report to the online application system as if it were an additional transcript page.

    Demonstrable qualities, such as good time management and the ability to cope under pressure, are vital.

    MRes: A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in economics, or from a quantitative-oriented discipline such as engineering, mathematics or statistics. We may also ask for GRE scores.

    MSc and MRes: Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

    On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

    Apply now to secure your place. The earlier you apply, the sooner your application can be considered and you can enrol. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

    English Language Requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for the MSc course is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6 in each of the sub-tests. For the MRes, the requirement is a score of 7.0 overall, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests. 

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and accredited prior learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution.

  • Fees Fees

    Fees

    Economics MSc: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time, on campus, Starting in academic year 2023–24

    Academic year 2023–24, starting September 2023

    Part-time home students: £7395 per year
    Full-time home students: £14790 per year
    Part-time international students: £10905 per year
    Full-time international students: £21810 per year

    Economics MRes: 1 year full-time, on campus, Starting in academic year 2023–24

    Academic year 2023–24, starting September 2023

    Full-time home students: £14790 per year
    Full-time international students: £21810 per year

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International Scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Teaching and Assessment Teaching and Assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government's system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    MSc: Lectures and problem-solving classes. You will also be able to access video recordings of lectures and high quality online resources via our virtual learning environment, Moodle. For the applied project and the independent dissertation, you will receive tutorial guidance from a staff member.

    MRes: Lectures and a considerable amount of self-study, with one-to-one dissertation supervisions and intensive training in academic writing.

    Teaching hours

    Our evening hours are normally between 6pm and 9pm (6-7.30pm and 7.30-9pm). Some programmes also offer teaching during the day and this will be clearly signposted to you where it is available.

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Scheduled teaching sessions may include lectures, seminars, workshops or laboratory work. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and field trips. On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project (if applicable).

    Alongside your contact hours, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. The amount of time you need to allocate to study both for taught sessions (this might include online sessions and/or in-person sessions) and personal study will depend on how much you are studying during the year and whether you are studying full time or part time.

    Birkbeck’s courses are made up of modules and allocated ‘credit’. One credit is equivalent to ten hours of learning time. Modules are usually in 15, 30 or 60 credit units. A 15-credit module will mean around 150 hours of learning, including taught sessions and independent study or group work. This is spread out over the whole period of that module and includes the time you spend on any assessments, including in examinations, preparing and writing assessments or engaged in practical work as well as any study support sessions to help you in your learning.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students is encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    MSc: A June examination and coursework, including an econometrics project and a dissertation.

    MRes: Examination and coursework, including a dissertation of 10,000 to 12,000 words.

  • Careers and employability Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue career paths in banking and finance, the public sector, industry, and research and analysis. Possible professions include:

    • economist
    • financial risk analyst
    • statistician
    • management consultant
    • actuary
    • Civil Service fast-streamer
    • local government officer.

    The MRes will enable you to conduct research at MPhil/PhD level. It may also help you develop a career in:

    • economics and finance
    • the Civil Service
    • journalism
    • politics and international development
    • research for organisations including banks, think tanks and consultancy firms.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers Service - Birkbeck Futures - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section at the top of this page.