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MSc Political Economy

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Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Application deadline: August
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

Study with us

The MSc in Political Economy teaches a systematic understanding of how political-economic systems interact. It encourages students to think of politics and economics as integrated systems in which governments, firms and citizens interact.


  • study the interaction of politics and the economy at both the national and international level
  • gain a thorough, Masters-level understanding of the relationship between political systems, institutions and economic markets
  • analyse pressing issues such as social inequality, political polarisation, the functioning of domestic and international institutions, climate change and globalisation
  • gain skills in big data visualisation and analysis, quantitative econometric and qualitative analytical skills
  • become equipped with the necessary training to work in a variety of analytical and research roles across public and private sectors
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Why this course?

Countries and governments face increasingly complex, multifaceted problems – from the cost-of-living crisis and rampant inflation to the climate emergency and the erosion of democratic institutions.

Political economy, in analysing the relationship between political systems, institutions and markets, is an invaluable discipline in understanding these complex problems, the multifaceted nature of their causes and routes to potential solutions.

Our Political Economy Masters will equip you with a systematic understanding of how political and economic systems interact. It encourages students to think of politics and economics as interdependent spheres in which governments, firms and citizens influence each other.

The programme brings together domestic and international analyses of economic policy processes, allowing you to develop a thorough understanding of the political dynamics involved in the making of economic policy.

If you're interested in public policy or consultancy you'll also have the opportunity to develop the methodological skills required for conducting statistical analysis with economic and political data.

Students studying in library.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Interested in postgraduate study?

At the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde. Register for upcoming events below:

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Course content

You'll study a range of compulsory and elective classes which will give you an advanced understanding of the study of political economy. You'll learn about the design and implementation of advanced research projects in political science and about social sciences more generally.

Comparative Political Economy

This class looks at how the interplay between economic and politics shapes societies. It familiarises students with models of capitalism and the diversity of political economy traditions amongst states. It also explores the interface between domestic and supranational political economies - the competitive struggle between member states to shape EU economic policy, and the constraints that EU policy places on the governance of the domestic economy.

International Political Economy

This module focuses the role of international institutions and the international economic order in conflict and cooperation. It explores the politics of international trade, money, and finance both in developing and developed economies.

Quantitative Analysis

Learn how to address important questions in political science, and social science more generally, with the help of quantitative data. Analysing data using statistical methods allows us to test whether relationships and causal effects exist that we cannot determine by looking at a few cases alone.

The module introduces students to the fundamental theories and principles of probability, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, and analysis techniques such as linear regression. Furthermore, it equips students with the practical skills and techniques required to conduct their own statistical analyses.

Quantitative Analysis 2

Go beyond the basic tools used in quantitative analysis including descriptive statistics, probability, and measurement.

The module covers Generalized Linear Models, a statistical modelling which enable modelling dependent variables that are not normally distributed including, non-negative continuous variables, count variables and binary variables and multinomial categorical variables.

Further, panel and time-series modelling framework will be introduced, which is widely used to analyse specific trends over time within and between individual units of observation. Last, an introduction to text-as-data analysis will give insight on novel developments of data analysis within the field of political science.

International Institutions & Regimes

The purpose of this class is to provide students with a comprehensive overview of the concepts and theoretical approaches central to understanding and analysing the role of international institutions and regimes in the contemporary world.

This class will survey a variety of international institutions and regimes, exploring how they shape global interactions in a number of cross-cutting issue areas such as security, trade, human rights and the environment. The overall analysis will contribute to the understanding of the theories, practices and processes through which global politics are organised and to an assessment of the future of international institutions and regimes in global governance. 

Contemporary International Relations

This class introduces students to the literature and research agendas related to conflict and cooperation in international relations studies.

We will cover a wide array of approaches that relate to interstate and intrastate (civil) conflict, cooperation and other contemporary security topics such as post-conflict peace, peacekeeping operations, terrorism, and human rights violations.

Comparative Political Institutions

Institutions structure conflicts in democratic regimes by determining the choices and strategies available to voters and elites and set the rules of the game. This class covers multiple theoretical perspectives, institutional structures and the long-term implications of institutions through historical and international comparison.

Comparative Public Policy

This class revolves around the different aims for conducting comparative policy analysis such as explaining the variation of policy output and outcome across different institutional, economic, social and cultural settings, generalising a given theory of policy process in different geographical contexts and by taking time into consideration, as well as capturing the interdependence of countries. Units of analysis include countries, states/regions, local governments, and international organisations.

Students will be introduced to concepts, research design, and methods.

Principles of Research Design

This class covers key research design issues and enables you to evaluate alternative research designs and create appropriate research proposals. The class is designed to help you decide a research topic and a design that you will use for your dissertation. Topics covered include formulating research questions, developing concepts, and how to select cases to study.

Policy Analysis

This class investigates theories of the policy making process. After taking this class you will be able to describe, and perhaps even influence, real-world policy making.

European Governance

This class seeks to examine the EU system of governance through the lenses of democracy, legitimacy and efficiency. Examining key processes, policy areas and proposals for reform, participants will be encouraged to consider the role of the EU and the nature of its relationship with its public.

Learning & teaching

All classes are taught in seminars, which combine theoretical discussion and a strong empirical or policy focus, as appropriate. Seminars consist of a variety of teaching techniques including small-group work, structured debates, presentations and background lectures.


Student assessments are variable targeting a number of important skills such as:

  • presentations
  • oral assessments
  • critical essay
  • written policy memos
  • team projects
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

First or upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in social science.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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International students

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

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarships

  • EU Engagement Scholarships are available to EU applicants who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status
View all our scholarships
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MSc Political Economy graduates can pursue a career in the public and private sectors as policy advisors, researchers and data analysts.

Your training in quantitative methods will equip you with the necessary tools to undertake data work and econometric/statistical analysis. A substantive knowledge of domestic and international economy will equip you with the foundational knowledge to work in international organisations, public administration, local government and think tanks.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

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Start date: Sep 2024

Political Economy

Start date: Sep 2024

Start date: Sep 2024

Political Economy

Start date: Sep 2024

Back to course

Contact us

Prospective student enquiries

Contact a member of our team on LiveChat between 10am and 4pm (GMT)

Telephone: +44 (0) 141 444 8600

Have you considered?

We've a range of postgraduate taught and Masters courses similar to this one which may also be of interest.