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MScApplied Economics

Why this course?

Our MSc Applied Economics has been designed in partnership with the business, consulting and policy communities for the aspiring professional economist.

What sets this course apart from the other postgraduate taught courses in economics is that we focus on developing your technical and analytical skills alongside your practical experience of how these skills are used to solve real-world economic problems and inform decision-making in a variety of environments.


Strathclyde is home to the Fraser of Allander Institute offering students a unique opportunity to engage with staff working at the cutting edge of applied economics research, industry engagement and policymaking.

Key highlights of the course include:

  • you'll study in the Strathclyde Business School – a Times Higher Education Business School of the Year - internationally respected as one of the most innovative and largest business schools of its kind in Europe
  • you’ll gain knowledge and understanding of the core principles of economic analysis and the experience in how to apply them. You'll acquire skills in economics, data analysis and modeling techniques, as well as key transferable skills in leadership, project management, problem solving, communication and negotiating that, are sought after by employers
  • the programme is delivered by staff of the Department of Economics. The department is the home of the Fraser of Allander Institute, a leading independent economic research institute. The institute plays a crucial role in the Economics MSc, offering at least three fees bursaries, teaching several classes and hosting at least three summer internships each year. With the institute never out of the media, the MSc in Applied Economics offers students a unique opportunity to engage with staff working at the cutting edge of applied economics research, industry engagement and policymaking. There will also be opportunities to publish articles on the Fraser of Allander Institute's blog and in the quarterly Fraser of Allander Institute Economic Commentary report
  • the Practitioner seminar series within our Professional Development for Economists class provides you with opportunities to learn from senior figures in business, consultancy and government about the key economic issues of the day and their own journey to the top of their chosen career. Many of the speakers are our own graduates.  This is complemented by a variety site visits that are arranged for you and give you insights into what it is like to work as an applied economist, from a range of perspectives
  • you'll have the option to take an elective class from a wide range offered across Strathclyde Business School and across the wider University. Particularly popular choices each year include classes in Management, Finance and Strategy
  • you may also choose to join the Strathclyde Business Network, a student group that facilitates interaction with business and industry leaders – including an annual conference which brings together students with leading businesses from across the UK

On completion of the course, you'll join a long list of distinguished graduates from the Department of Economics at the University of Strathclyde, many of whom have progressed to senior positions in business, consultation and public policy.

Aims & objectives

The programme will provide you with:

  • a comprehensive understanding of key economics concepts and theories
  • core skills in economic modelling and data analysis which can be used to inform decision-making
  • understanding of, and the ability to use, techniques of economic appraisal in a variety of contexts
  • experience in the application of economic analysis to day-to-day activities of public and private sector organisations

You'll also gain important transferable skills which will greatly help in a business and policy environment including the ability to:

  • acquire and analyse information from a variety of sources
  • support decision-making in complex organisations
  • project management and strategy
  • leadership and team working
  • writing reports and communicating analysis and key results to a wide range of audiences

You’ll study

There are two semesters of core and elective modules, followed by a dissertation completed during summer.

The core modules will give you a solid grounding in the core concepts and techniques of an applied economist. The elective modules will give you experience in applying these skills to hot-topics of the day.

Finally, the dissertation allows you to develop a substantive piece of applied work on a topic of your choosing and includes opportunities to work in partnership with leading companies and public sector institutions.

Core modules

  • Fundamentals of Microeconomics
  • Fundamentals of Macroeconomics
  • Professional Development for Economists
  • Economic Appraisal and Modelling
  • Analysis of Economic Data
  • Topics in Public Economics
  • International Macroeconomics

Elective modules

You'll have the opportunity to choose four modules from the list below:

  • International Development
  • International Trade
  • Games of Strategy
  • Environmental Economics
  • Energy Economics

Alternatively, you can choose up to two classes offered elsewhere in Strathclyde Business School or across the wider University.

Summer Project

Your Summer Project topic can be chosen from any of the areas/issues covered on the programme. This is your opportunity to develop a substantive piece of applied work on a topic that is of particular interest to you, with supervision provided by an appropriate member of staff. It’s also a key opportunity to put into practice what you have learned during your MSc studies.

Each year, we offer a number of opportunities for you to undertake the Summer Project in partnership with leading companies and public sector institutions; these students will undertake a Summer Project with both academic supervision and partner input. This gives students the opportunities to engage with users of economic analysis outside of academia. We are also able to supervise those part-time or full-time students who are sponsored by their employer and wish to work on a topic of interest to both them and their employer.

Flexible study options

You can take modules towards a qualification which suits your career aspirations and is convenient to your life. There are four ways to study our Applied Economics course.

  • full-time study over 12 months
  • part-time study over 24 to 36 months - core modules run on one day a week for each term of study, so can fit around family, work or other commitments
  • taking classes towards either a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) or Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) qualification in Applied Economics
  • ‘modular’ basis – taking modules on a class-by-class basis

Course content

Compulsory classes

Fundamentals of Microeconomics

This class will introduce you to some key concepts and principles of economics, focusing particularly on consumer theory and the theory of the firm. You’ll be shown how these concepts and theories are applied to the analysis of a range of contemporary real world issues.

Fundamentals of Macroeconomics

You’ll learn about key macroeconomic variables and how changes in GDP, unemployment and inflation can impact on day-to-day policy and business decisions. You'll also study objectives and challenges in the design of macroeconomic policies by central banks and government’s finance departments and gain an understanding of how policies impact on the macroeconomic environment.

Professional Development for Economists

This class is a truly distinctive feature of our MSc, combining a practitioner seminar series with site visits and skills development sessions. You will learn about topical issues in economics from invited speakers who are working as Economists in business, consultancy or policy roles as well as developing core transferable skills that extend the applied Economist’s toolkit. These skills include writing accessible briefing notes, presenting data, team working, planning and delivering on consultancy projects, leadership skills and gaining experience in presenting findings. This class is complementary to the other classes and is fundamental to developing the skills that are sought after by employers.

Analysis of Economic Data

You’ll learn about the skills in data analysis that make up an essential part of the work of an applied economist.  This will include carefully chosen applications of methods and techniques that permit insightful analysis of data, the specification and testing of hypotheses, and estimation techniques.  

The class is taught via lectures and hands-on lab sessions, ensuring that you gain experience in both undertaking the analysis of economic data and in interpreting results.

Economic Appraisal & Economic Modelling

Economic appraisal and modelling lie at the heart of what most economists in business, consulting and government do on a day-to-day basis.

You will examine the key principles and techniques of economic appraisal and learn – through your own applications - how these are used in private and/or social analysis. Techniques covered will include cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis and multi-criteria analysis.

The economic modelling component will provide you with insights into how models designed to describe the operation of any economy can be used to help inform decision making. You’ll drawing on the practical modelling expertise gained within the Fraser of Allander Institute which has – for over forty years – developed an international reputation in the development and use of economic modelling for analysing policy-relevant issues.

Topics in Public Economics

This class builds on the knowledge acquired in Foundations of Business Economics to explore the role of government and public policy in the economy. You will learn about why governments often intervene in the economy when markets do not operate as planned, and gain an understanding of the trade-offs faced when intervening. You will also learn about how public utilities operate and why and how they are regulated.

International Macroeconomics

This course will enable you to understand global trends and to study the key drivers of international economics, including how exchange rates move; what determines flows of international investment; and why some countries grow more quickly than others.  With the global economy becoming ever more integrated, understanding of these issues is important for the applied Economist working within business, consulting and policy.

Elective classes

You'll have the opportunity to choose four classes from the following list. Alternatively, you can choose up to two of your four elective classes from those offered to postgraduate students elsewhere within Strathclyde Business School without pre-requisites or across the wider University (timetable permitting).

International Trade

In this class you will gain an understanding of the essential economic issues in international trade, market structure, and the role of international institutions in promoting trade liberalisation and disciplining international commercial interaction. You will analyse the distribution of the gains from trade, identifying the circumstances where trade liberalisation is mutually beneficial and those where there are winners and losers at the international or national level. The class will also address current issues facing the world trading system – such as Brexit – and how these might be resolved.

International Development

This class will introduce policy relevant issues and knowledge in the economics of development. Lectures will combine insights from theoretical economic models with policy-relevant empirical evidence on in low-income countries. Moreover, through the thorough analysis of empirical research, the class will assist students in developing skills required to make an effective contribution working as an applied economist.

Games of Strategy

In this class you will study decision making in strategic scenarios where the outcome of a decision depends not only on your decision but also the decisions made by others. This is a key class for those considering careers in industry where competition is crucial and effective market strategies are vital to the success of the business. You will learn how to make effective decisions in such environments and to gain an advantage over your competitors.

Environmental Economics

A growing, and increasingly important, part of the work of many applied Economists includes the economic analysis of environmental issues. Additionally, many professionals working in the fields of energy, the natural environment, or business more generally will find that their careers require some working knowledge of economic approaches to environmental problems. The main objective of this class is to provide a thorough grounding in the economics of the environment, with a particular focus on environmental protection in an international policy context, such as climate change the loss of biological diversity.

Energy Economics

In this class you will explore key economic issues at the heart of topical energy questions – building on the University’s outstanding reputation as a centre of excellence in energy technology and policy. The class covers the objectives of energy policy; private and social perspectives on energy supply and demand; the special case of regulation of energy markets; the use of economic models in energy analysis; the economics of oil and gas activity and links between energy use and the energy sector and an economy.

Learning & teaching

As well as attending lectures you’ll undertake projects, case studies and small group work.

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree, or overseas equivalent.

English language

For students whose first language is not English, get more information about the English language requirements for studying at Strathclyde.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Fees & funding


All fees quoted are per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • £10,300

Rest of UK

  • £10,300


  • £18,450

How can I fund my studies?

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


Graduating with an MSc in Applied Economics from the University of Strathclyde will open up a wealth of new career opportunities.

Experience shows that our MSc graduates have excellent employment prospects; many having gone on to senior positions in business, in consultancy and within government, while some have progressed to PhD level study and careers in academia.

Recent examples include former MSc Applied Economics students working in the following areas:

  • global economics and financial consulting firms including Analysys Mason in Edinburgh, Ernst and Young and DeVere Group in London and Function Capita in Shanghai, China
  • financial advisor/analyst roles within Investment and Asset Management companies including JP Morgan and Franklin Templeton Investments in Edinburgh, Dune Real Estate Partners in New York and Fraser Spy Financial Services Ltd in Glasgow
  • a range of Banks including Clydesdale Bank in Glasgow, China Merchants Bank and  Dongguan Rural Commercial Bank, both in Guandong, China and Pareto Bank in Oslo
  • international organisations such as the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris
  • economic development agencies including the Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • the UK Government Economics Service, within the Office of National Statistics, the National Audit Office and the Scottish Government
  • economic policy roles within the governments of Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan and the Central Bank of the Seychelles
  • public and industry bodies such as the Scottish Fiscal Commission, Scottish Renewables and the Water Industry Commission for Scotland

Our MSc programme has been designed in consultation with key employers of our graduates. This means that what you learn on the course is exactly what employers look for when recruiting new economists.

Contact us


Applied Economics

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Applied Economics

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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