Skip to Content

Economics (MSc)

MSc|Postgraduate Taught


Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
Places available
Open (Full Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    Do you have an interest in the world economy and in how economics can help us understand the world around us? Well trained economists are highly sought after in the labour market and are employed by consultancy firms, the government economic service, financial institutions, and other international organisations and businesses (even the tech giants). Do you want to combine an advanced understanding of core economics and the latest developments in economics with the opportunity to specialise in economic theory, applied economics, or economic history?

    Economics is about how people make choices in conditions of resource scarcity and the results of these choices for society. It’s about understanding the world around us and our place in it.

    If you are interested in advanced study in economics that is ‘post-crisis’ in both structure and content, delivered at one of the UK’s leading universities, then this degree is for you. The core modules develop your understanding of key economic concepts, ideas, tools and techniques, including the latest developments in micro, macro, applied econometric's, behavioural economics, the economics of labour markets and social policy and economic history. You can then specialise further in economic theory, applied economics (policy and institutions), or economic history. You will spend the summer combining your knowledge and skills to write a dissertation on a topic of your choice under personal supervision of a member of the Queen’s faculty. On successful completion of this Masters you will have a deep understanding of the world economy past and present and the advanced analytical and quantitative skills that are so highly sought after by employers.

    Economics highlights

    Economics is ranked 7th in the UK for teaching satisfaction (Guardian University Guide 2020)

    World Class Facilities

    • Weekly training sessions in our state of the art computer lab will help you to develop your data analytical skills using market-leading econometrics software such as STATA and R.

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • In addition to working with Queen’s own expert faculty, students have the opportunity to learn from external international experts in their fields who come to Queen’s to give seminars and master classes. You will also hear guest lectures from industry professionals, with opportunities to network afterwards.

    Student Experience

    • Economics, and the way economics is taught, is changing. This new programme, with its emphasis on using cutting-edge economic analysis to understand the world today and our behaviour within it, places you at the forefront of this advance.
    • You will cover all the core elements (compulsory modules) you need for an advanced understanding of economics and to develop you analytical and quantitative skill set, but you will also have the flexibility to tailor the course to your personal interests and career aspirations.
    The MSc Economics at Queen’s University Belfast is an intensive postgraduate course offering students the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of economic theory, its application to a wide range of critical real-world issues, and the practical skills needed to excel as a professional economist or in PhD level study in economics.

    Prof Duncan McVicar
  • Course content

    Course Structure


    Semester 1*Economic Decision Making and Behaviour

    Economic Decision Making and Behaviour serves to make students familiar with microeconomic thinking, terminology, and methodology. The course provides a rigorous treatment of some of the basic tools of economic modelling and reasoning, mainly decision and game theoretical tools. Microeconomic theory provides a coherent and internally consistent body of theory that offers rigorous, parsimonious, and falsifiable models of economic behaviour. Augmented with auxiliary assumptions, it is flexible enough to analyse economic behaviour in a wide range of contexts such as auctions, asset and labour markets, consumption, and savings decision situations. Students will therefore acquire the analytical and logical skills necessary to understand and conduct advanced economic analysis.

    *History and Philosophy of Economics

    Part I: The methodology of economics
    Understanding economic theorising from the Popperian, Kuhnian and Lakatosian perspectives.
    Part II: Classical political economy
    The emergence of the industrial economy and the formation of the concept of an economy; The idea of “progress” — the social division of labour; The concept of capital; The economy’s adjustment processes — natural versus market prices; The distribution of income; The causes of economic crises; Critiques of Marx, historical and institutionalist schools.
    Part III: The marginal revolution
    Focus on the allocation of resources; Marshallian and Walrasian concepts of equilibrium; The critiques of Sraffa, Schumpeter and the Austrian school.

    *Applied Econometrics

    The aim of this module is to provide a practical introduction to econometric techniques used in economics and policy evaluation. It offers a hands-on and in-depth analysis of the linear regression model, panel data and other policy evaluation methods. Emphasis will be given to the empirical implementation of econometric methods to address real-world questions using real data and leading statistical software such as STATA.

    The first part of the module discusses the linear regression model including the classical violations of this model and methods for their correction. Particular attention will be paid to the issue of endogenous explanatory variables and what economists can do about them.
    The second part of the module introduces panel data, natural experiments and some of the most important estimators/techniques used to identify the causal effect of social policies and other interventions.

    *Global Economic History

    Worldwide economic development and globalisation follow almost identical paths. The advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century was mirrored by a period of sustained globalisation, as the economic conditions in various nation states became inextricably linked. This link both weakened and strengthened over the course of the 20th century, typically mirroring economic fluctuations. Thus, the story of worldwide economic development in the 19th and 20th centuries is one of globalisation.

    In the aftermath of the recent economic crisis, it may seem that continued globalisation is inevitable. However, history also offers clues to the challenges that globalisation may face in years to come. This second semester module introduces students to this story. The module follows a flexible chronological path, but always considers the lessons that globalisation in prior epochs has for contemporary economic conditions. It blends theories from both the trade and macroeconomics literature's to illustrate how key economic concepts underpin historical patterns in globalisation.

    The students will be exposed to material that stimulates further development of existing quantitative skills alongside a more qualitative approach of interdisciplinary critical reasoning.

    *All regular modules are taught for 3 lecture hours per week for 10 weeks.
    Semester 2*Economics of Markets and Networks

    This module covers recent developments in the theory of commodity markets and socio-economic networks. These theories will be taken from the frontline economic research on markets and networks. Topics covered include:
    1. Introduction to network science: Basic network properties
    2. The theory of weak and strong ties
    3. Social properties of networks
    4. Matching markets
    5. Network models of markets with intermediaries
    6. General equilibrium in production network economies
    7. Cascading and contagion in networks

    *Labour Economics and Social Policy

    This module provides students with an understanding of labour economics theory, its application to labour market and social policy issues, and the empirical evidence and methods that make up the contemporary labour economist’s toolkit. The approach takes as its starting point the view that labour markets are often imperfect and pays particular attention to the role of labour market institutions such as minimum wages, welfare benefits, and education and migration policy. We will also analyse other contemporary social policy issues that are inextricably linked with the labour market such as inter-generational mobility and inequality. The course will end with an assessment of how to use evidence in the field of labour economics to inform public policy.

    *Contemporary Macroeconomics

    This module provides students with an analytical framework with which to understand a wide range of macroeconomic behaviour and policy issues. It focuses on both economic growth (the long-run analysis) and short-run fluctuations of the economy (business cycles). It discusses the impact of different policies, including monetary and fiscal policies, on aggregate economic outcomes. It also covers selected topics in international macroeconomics. Equal emphasis will be placed on macroeconomic theory and macroeconomic problems in the real world. Particular attention will be paid to the 2007/08 financial crisis, the resulting recession across much of the developed world, and subsequent policy responses

    Components that are covered in this module consist of:
    - Keynesian macroeconomics
    o The General Theory; The IS/LM model; The neoclassical synthesis; Monetarism
    - DSGE macroeconomics:
    o Lucas; New Keynesianism; Real Business Cycle modelling; The Romer Critique
    - Debt and Minskyan economics
    o Minsky’s perspective on debt, money and banking and macroeconomic growth
    - Secular Stagnation in the global economy
    o The Secular Stagnation hypothesis; Information technology and the global division of labour; The future of capitalism; Post-capitalism

    *Topics in Economics

    This module is designed to expose students to cutting-edge research in economic theory, economic history and the applied economics of economic and social policy and institutions. This module is considered key preparation for any student wishing to write an MSc dissertation and for those intending to go on to pursue PhD research in these areas. Co-taught by different members of economics faculty at Queen’s, in addition to leading external experts visiting the school, the module introduces students to various topics in economic theory, economic history and the applied economics of economic and social policy and institutions with a view to demonstrating the academic research process from inception to publication. Understanding the details of the different empirical methods used in the research projects presented will form a central focus of teaching and learning. Topics may vary from year to year to reflect the research boundary, but may include:
    1. Game theoretic models of economic behaviour
    2. Experimental and behavioural economics
    3. Economic market and value theory
    4. The history of methodology in economic history and historical economics
    5. Natural resource explanations for the Industrial Revolution
    6. The political economy of electoral reform in history
    7. The corporate governance of the financial crises in the interwar period
    8. Social policy impact evaluation;
    9. Industrial policy for development;
    10. Soft budget constraints;
    11. Natural resources, economic policy and growth;
    12. The history and economics of organised crime.

    *All regular modules are taught for 3 lecture hours per week for 10 weeks.
    Semester 3 (Summer period)The summer project can either be an academic research project, resulting in a written academic dissertation, or a consultancy project at a business, non-governmental organisation or a governmental agency, resulting in a consultancy report on a predefined problem or challenge.

    Modules are subject to change.

    People teaching you

    Senior Lecturer in Economics


    Career Prospects

    Well-trained economists are highly sought after in the labour market and are employed by consultancy firms, financial institutions and other international businesses, as well as in the public sector and by international NGOs. Economists work as consultants, public policy analysts, financial analysts, financial managers, investment bankers, government and policy officers, civil service fast streamers, health insurance analysts and much more. Some students will wish to go on to PhD study in Economics in preparation for a career as an academic or research economist.

    Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.

    Employment after the Course
    Graduates of the course have been employed as economic researcher at the Office of National Statistics, consultant at RSM UK, economic analyst at NERA Economic Consulting, assistant economist at Ulster University Economic Policy, assistant economist at Oxford Economics, middle office analyst at Citi, transaction capture analyst at Citi, etc. Graduates have also progressed into research.

    Learning and Teaching

    Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm

    About your classes:

    1) You’ll be part of a small, informal and chatty class and you’ll get to know your classmates and your lecturers well.
    2) You will be presented with a range of complex issues, ideas and theories.
    3) Class time will be devoted to discussing these ideas from a variety of different perspectives.
    4) There will be many opportunities for you to work in conjunction with the lecturer, to evaluate a range of potential solutions to economics questions.
    5) You will have various opportunities, both within and beyond the classroom, to work in a range of different learning environments.
    6) You are expected to become an integral part of the Economic group and participate in weekly seminars.


    Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

    Two thirds by written examination and continuous assessment. One third by either a dissertation or a consultancy project (14,000-17,000 words or equivalent).

    Prizes and Awards

    • The RSM McClure Watters Prize for the Best MSc Economics Dissertation in Queen’s University Management School.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.1 Honours degree or above, or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in Economics or a closely related subject (e.g. Business Economics, Finance, Mathematics, joint degrees with substantial economics component). Performance in relevant modules must be of the required standard.

    Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and ideally no later than 12th August 2022 for courses which commence in late September. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

    International Students

    Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,470
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,470
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,470
    EU Other 3 £19,300
    International £19,300

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

    2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Economics costs

    There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus