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Behavioural Economics

Course overview

(MSc) Master of Science
Behavioural Economics
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus

A degree with an overall 2.2 in a discipline related to economics such as: Economics, Maths, Engineering, Finance, Physics or any other degree with a strong maths component.

The Degree should contain some economics components including Macroeconomics; Microeconomics or Econometrics.

IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 EC981-7-FY Dissertation Core 40 Optional
02 EC909-7-AU Behavioural Economics I: Individual Decision Making Compulsory 20 Optional Optional
03 EC914-7-SP Behavioural Economics II: Games and Markets Compulsory 20 Optional Optional
04 EC943-7-AU Game Theory and Applications Compulsory 20 Optional Optional
05 Option(s) from list Compulsory with Options 80 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To provide students with a knowledge of advanced economic principles and an awareness of their application relevant to the scheme of study.

To provide students with the necessary skills of the main research methods used in economics.

To establish a critical awareness of the integration of theory, data, and analysis.

To provide students with an advanced understanding of the nature of the economic research process.

To provide students with the advanced knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to independent, self-directed research.

To prepare students for work as professional economists and for further academic study of economics.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Knowledge of advanced principles at the forefront of contemporary applied economics
A2 Knowledge of a range of applications at the forefront of contemporary economics
A3 Understanding of the key strategies of economic research
A4 Understanding of the relationships between theory and empirical research in economics
A5 Awareness of the significance of alternative theoretical and methodological approaches to economic analysis
A6 Knowledge of the core methods used to analyse economic data.
Learning Methods: Outcomes A1-A6 are acquired through lectures, classes, and related coursework. The development of the dissertation in consultation with a supervisor provides an additional opportunity for the acquisition of outcomes A1-A6. Lectures are used to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner. Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in learning economic research methods. Classes and preparation for lectures and classes, provide an opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the courses. Preparation for optional term papers and for examinations aids students in developing this knowledge and understanding. Throughout, students are encouraged to engage in independent study. The dissertation provides an opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding further through undertaking a piece of independent, though supervised, advanced research. Students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from lectures and classes by regularly consulting library materials relating to the course.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes A1-A6 are assessed throughout the courses comprising the degree by means of written examinations with optional term papers.

Outcomes A1 and A6 are also assessed in certain courses through written tests.

The MSc dissertation (with a maximum length of 10000 words) provides a further opportunity to assess outcomes A1-A6.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Logically analyse a specified problem in economics and choose the most appropriate methods for its solution
B2 Exercise critical judgement in assessing the weights of competing theories and appraising their merits
B3 Formulate a coherent economic argument
B4 Construct reasoned, informed and concise descriptions and assessments of ideas at the forefront of contemporary applied economics
B5 Critically analyse, evaluate and interpret empirical evidence
Learning Methods: Skills B1-B5 are acquired and enhanced primarily through the work that students do for their courses, although lectures provide a means for teachers to demonstrate these skills through example.

Student preparation involves the reading, interpretation and evaluation of the economics literature, including texts and research papers, and the analysis of empirical evidence.

Teachers provide feedback on student work through comment and discussion.

In addition, teachers engage students outside the classroom through office hours, appointments, and email.

The dissertation is additionally used to develop a student's mastery of the combined application of economic principles and empirical methods, as well as their analytical ability and understanding of the complete research process.
Assessment Methods: Skills B1-B5 are assessed throughout the courses comprising the degree by means of written examinations with optional term papers.

Skills B1 and B5 are also assessed in certain courses through written tests.

The MSc dissertation provides a further opportunity to assess skills B1-B5.

C: Practical skills

C1 Identify, select and gather information using relevant sources, including the library and online searches
C2 Organise ideas in a systematic and critical fashion
C3 Present and critically assess advanced economic ideas and arguments coherently in writing
C4 Use and apply economic terminology and concepts
C5 Apply econometric techniques to the analysis of quantitative data and summarise the results
C6 Plan and undertake an independent though supervised piece of research
Learning Methods: Skills C1-C5 are acquired and enhanced primarily through the work that students do for their courses.

Lectures also provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example.

Skill C5 is acquired to a greater degree in courses that focus on econometrics.
This skill is reinforced or supplemented depending on the optional courses taken.

Skill C6 is acquired through the work that the students do for the dissertation.

The dissertation is additionally used to provide an opportunity for students to acquire skills C1-C5.
Assessment Methods: Skills C1-C5 are assessed throughout the courses comprising the degree by means of written examinations with optional term papers.

The dissertation also provides a further opportunity to assess skills C1-C5.

Skills C1 and C2 are also informally assessed by student's preparation for each course.

Skill C5 is also assessed in certain courses through written tests.

Skill C6 is assessed through the dissertation

D: Key skills

D1 Communication in writing, using appropriate terminology and technical language
D2 Production of a word-processed research dissertation. Development of web-skills.
D3 Use of mathematical techniques to construct economic models and the use of econometric methods to analyse economic data.
D4 Application of econ omic reasoning to address complex issues involving economic phenomena
D5 N/A
D6 Capacity to: (a) organise and implement a plan of independent study; (b) reflect on his or her own learning experience and adapt in response to feedback; and (c) recognise when he or she needs to learn more and appreciate the role of additional research
Learning Methods: Students are guided in acquiring skills D1, D2, D3, D4 and D6 through lectures, classes and individual advice from teachers.

These skills are further developed as students pursue the learning activities associated with their courses.

The dissertation enables students to acquire skill D2 and also assists them in acquiring skills D1, D3, D4 and D6.

Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in classes for courses, especially the applied ones.
Assessment Methods: Skills D1, D2, D3, D4 and D6 are assessed throughout the courses comprising the degree by means of examinations with optional term papers.

The dissertation also provides a further means for an overall assessment of communication (D1), using IT (D2), problem-solving skills (D4), and self-learning (D6).


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: