Applied Economics MSc


Fact file

MSc Applied Economics
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (upper second class honours degree or international equivalent) with significant economics content.
Other requirements
6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any element).

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


The MSc Applied Economics is ideal for students who wish to apply their advanced knowledge of economics to practical and policy issues.
Read full overview

The MSc Applied Economics course is ideal for students who wish to apply their advanced knowledge of economics to practical and policy issues. You will be introduced to relevant mathematical and statistical techniques, and learn how to apply advanced analytical methods to issues of applied economics and economic policy.

Students have access to the latest econometric software packages to support their data analysis, and will benefit from teaching and supervision from academics who have first-hand experience in applying economics to real-world problems.

Key facts

  • Nottingham was awarded the highest possible score in the latest Quality Assurance Agency teaching review
  • The latest Tilburg ranking of economics departments puts the school 6th in the UK, 13th in Europe and 36th in the world
  • We are ranked 6th among the UK's economics departments for research power in the latest Research Excellence Framework

Course details

This one year full-time programme requires students to complete 120 credits of core and optional modules before undertaking a supervised dissertation of 60 credits. This will be chosen by you to reflect your research interests.

You will receive one-to-one supervision by an academic who has a research interest in that area, providing the opportunity to study and research a topic in depth with expert guidance and support.

You will also be supported by an Economic Research Methodology module, which provides both methodological and practical guidance for your dissertation.

The core modules on this course provide a solid grounding in economic analysis, rather than theory, and a wide range of applied economics options are available in the second semester. Modules are mainly assessed by examinations at the end of the semester in which the module is taught. Some modules are also assessed by coursework.



Core modules

Economic Policy Analysis

This module addresses a series of topics in economic policy with the specific intention of providing a critical appraisal of the grounds for policy intervention and the tools for policy appraisal. For example, how can we be sure that a policy change had the expected effects? The policies considered focus around the theme of increased participation in international markets. For example, what are the effects of trade liberalisation when firms are different? What are the effects of trade openness on economic growth? What is the relationship between trade, foreign interventions and domestic conflict? This module is designed to demonstrate the applications of the knowledge developed during the Economic Data Analysis module and to develop critical-appraisal skills that you will use later as part of your ERM project and in the dissertation.

Economic Policy Analysis is taught by Professor Richard Kneller, whose research focuses on firm behaviour and the impact of that behaviour on economic growth. He has published widely in international journals including the Journal of International Economics, the Economic Journal and the European Economic Review.

Economic Data Analysis

Empirical testing and validation of economic theories is a crucial ingredient to policy-relevant research in economics. The Economic Data Analysis module provides students with the necessary tools and hands-on experience to employ econometric techniques to achieve this aim. The module includes lectures and computer labs which cover the analysis of cross-section and panel datasets (using Stata statistical software) as well as that of economic time series (using EViews), and is assessed by empirical coursework. No previous knowledge of these software packages is assumed, thus making EDA a crucial building block for students' supervised research projects on the MSc dissertation.

Economic Data Analysis is taught by Dr Markus Eberhardt, a co-author of Empirical Development Economics (Routledge 2014), and the author of a number of Stata routines for macro panel analysis. Dr Eberhardt's research focuses on productivity analysis at the macro level, including the development and application of novel empirical methods. He recently embarked on a three-year research project entitled under the ESRC's Future Research Leaders scheme.

Economic Growth in Theory and Practice

Why are some countries poor and others rich? Why have some countries, such as South Korea, managed to move from low-income to high-income status in the course of a mere 30 or 40 years? Questions such as these are not just of interest to development economists but arguably represent some of the most important questions in our world today. This module provides a unique approach to find answers to these questions. It combines both theory and empirics. Students taking this module are given the theoretical foundations to motivate their regression specifications as well as gaining insights into how to approach rigorous empirical testing of their theoretical predictions. This module thus should appeal to those students who want to pursue cross-country growth empirics or theoretical modelling of growth and development in their masters thesis projects.

Economic Growth in Theory and Practice is taught by Dr Markus Eberhardt and Dr Roberto Bonfatti. Dr Eberhardt's research focuses on productivity analysis at the macro level, including the development and application of novel empirical methods. He recently embarked on a three-year research project entitled under theESRC's Future Research Leaders scheme. Dr Bonfatti's research lies at the intersection of international trade, political economy, and economic history, and has published in the Journal of International Economics and the Canadian Journal of Economics.

Trade Analysis and Policy

The module covers:

  • inter and intra-industry models of trade
  • testing trade theories
  • empirical methods for modelling trade effects and trade volumes
  • theories and evidence on trade and development
  • instruments of trade intervention and regulation
  • political economy models of trade policy determination
  • empirics of analysing protection
  • global, regional and national trade policy

This module aims to:

  • show how the current tools of trade and trade policy analysis are used to explain trade flows and the effects of trade policy interventions and to test trade theories
Development Policy Analysis

This module considers various policy issues for development. Topics covered include education policy, conducting randomised controlled trials, the effects of aid, trade costs and export barriers, migration and the "brain-drain". The aims of the module are to familiarise students with a range of techniques for development policy analysis; provide a review of analytical methods, policy and practice in important areas of economic policy in developing countries; provide experience in presenting economic policy analysis through interactive group seminars.

Development Policy Analysis is taught by Professor Oliver Morrissey, Professor Chris Milner and Dr Simon Appleton. All three have a wealth of experience of "hands-on" analysis of developing countries, including advising governments in Africa and the Caribbean.

Development Microeconomics

Development microeconomics considers vital issues such as absolute poverty, famine and malnutrition, preventable disease and wasted lives. There have been dramatic global changes which we will consider in this module, such as the rise of China and India and the marginalisation and (perhaps) recovery of African countries. We will consider various topics relating to development economics in this module, including risk and insurance, migration, population and fertility, poverty, health and nutrition.

Development Microeconomics is taught by Dr Simon Appleton. Dr Appleton's research interests lie primarily in the areas of poverty, labour markets, health and education, with application to China and sub-Saharan Africa. He is a research associate of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford, and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of African Economies, the Journal of Development Studies and African Development Review. He has published in a range of journals including Economic Development and Cultural Change, the Journal of African Economies, the Journal of International Development, and the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics.

Economics of Household Finance

The module covers the central issues in the economics of household finance. Household finance is the study of the behaviour of individuals and households in financial markets including those for secured (eg. mortgage) and unsecured (eg. credit card) lending and related economic models of consumption smoothing, liquidity constraints and household behaviour.

The module begins with the central topic of consumption smoothing, focusing on the role of credit markets and income risk in household behaviour. Later topics include financial literacy, self-control, mortgage market design, stock market participation and the regulation of consumer credit markets. 

This module aims to:

  • give students a sound knowledge of modern economics of household finance
  • introduce students to theories of consumer behaviour in credit markets
  • help students understand the ways in which economic analysis can be used to formulate models of consumer financial decisions
  • show students how these models can be tested
  • show students how the outcomes of these tests contribute to the understanding of household behaviour and policy implications
Economics of Corporate Finance

The module offers an introduction to the economics of Corporate Finance and covers a variety of topics, with substantial time devoted for covering issues directly related to the financial needs of firms, such as capital structure, credit rationing and corporate governance. 

The module also examines the role of financial intermediaries analysing bank failures and, consequently, the scope for banking regulations. The last part of the module looks closely at the relationship between the financial sector and the real economy thus offering the background for any applied work related to the link between financial development and economic fluctuations.

This module aims to:

  • provide a guide to this new area of financial economics
Experimental Methods in Economics

Experimental economics provides tools for observing human behaviour under controlled conditions. Using these tools, we can test theory, inform policy and measure behaviour. This module will show you how and why experiments are used in economics, how to design and analyse your own experiments and allow you to develop skills for critically assessing experimental designs and results. Part of the module assessment includes a project in which you design and run your own experiment.

Experimental Methods in Economics is taught by Professor Chris Starmer and Dr Elke Renner. Professor Starmer is Professor of Experimental Economics and the Director of the Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) and Director of the ESRC Network for Integrated Behaviour Science (NIBS). His main research interests are in individual and strategic decision making, experimental economics and the methodology of economics, and has published widely in the leading economics and economic psychology journals. Dr Renner's research interests lie in the area of behavioural and experimental economics, game theory and organisation theory. Her work on the design of efficient economic organisations has focused on microfinance institutions and corruption behaviour. Current projects include cooperation problems and leadership. She has published in journals including Science, Journal of Public Economics, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

Applied Behavioural Economics

Behavioural economics considers the ways in which the behaviour of real people differs systematically from the standard economic models of human behaviour. This module focuses on various applied aspects of behavioural economics, and includes topics such as consumer behaviour, the behaviour of organizations, behavioural development economics and behavioural environmental economics.

Applied Behavioural Economics is taught by Dr Abigail Barr and Dr Elke Renner. Dr Barr's research focuses on the socially embedded decision-maker. She has designed and implemented a variety of lab and lab-type experiments involving students in several countries, villagers in Zimbabwe, Colombia, Uganda, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka, private-sector waged workers and unemployed people in the UK, Chile, Peru, Ghana, South Africa, and Spain and health workers and teachers in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Albania. Four themes have dominated her work to date: the role of other-regarding preferences in individual decision-making; how people set up and hold each other to mutually beneficial agreements; citizens' willingness and ability to hold public service providers to account; and the factors and mechanisms determining individual preferences and values.

Dr Renner's research interests lie in the area of behavioural and experimental economics, game theory and organization theory. Her work on the design of efficient economic organisations has focused on microfinance institutions and corruption behaviour. Current projects include cooperation problems and leadership. She has published in journals including Science, Journal of Public Economics, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

Microeconomic Analysis

This module provides students with the basic theoretical tools of microeconomics which form the starting point for any applied economic analysis, including the analysis of policy. The module covers topics including consumer choice, general equilibrium, game theory and asymmetric information.

Microeconomic Analysis is taught by Dr Maria Montero. Dr Montero's research interests lie in the field of Game Theory (cooperative, non-cooperative and behavioural). Recent research has focused on weighted majority voting and on theoretical models of bargaining with social preferences.

Macroeconomic Analysis

This module provides an introduction to the basic theoretical tools of macroeconomics which form the starting point for any applied macroeconomic analysis, including the analysis of macroeconomic policy. The module introduces models of growth, consumption, debt, inflation and unemployment.

Macroeconomic analysis is taught by Dr Mark Roberts. Dr Roberts' current research looks at how economic growth affects a variety of key considerations, including social security, competition in the financial sector and levels of public debt. Analysing the relationships between all of these factors is crucial to understanding how we can go forward in both the short and, more importantly, the long term. Dr Roberts has published widely in the field of macroeconomics, including publications in the European Economic Review, Journal of International Economics, and the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Economic Research Methodology

The purpose of this module is to lead you into your dissertation and to provide ideas and advice as you embark on your research. Since each MSc dissertation must be an independent project with some degree of originality you should not expect that the ERM module will define narrowly what you should do, or how you should do it. The purposes are broader ones of orientation and reflection.

ERM is designed to help you take your first steps in the direction of independent research and to help you think through the strategy for developing and completing your research. More ambitiously, it aims to help you develop a more reflective and sophisticated approach to research, both as a consumer and (soon-to-be) producer of research! The module includes lectures on how to approach your dissertation, how to undertake applied economic research, what methods to use, and asks what constitutes "good" research? The module is assessed by a written assignment, in which you will review a key paper related to your dissertation topic.

MSc Dissertation: Economics

The module comprises of a period of student research and study, designed to allow students to demonstrate familiarity with a particular area of economic theory or policy, or of applied economics or econometrics, and the ability to apply a specific analytical and/or empirical technique. All MSc students receive 'one-to-one' supervision for their dissertation. Their supervisor will be a research-active member of the academic staff who can provide genuinely expert guidance.


Optional modules

International Macroeconomics

The module will teach you the theoretical foundations of open-economy dynamic general equilibrium (DGE) models. We first discuss the key seminal contribution of Obstfeld and Rogoff (OR, 1995). In particular, we will carefully learn the roles of key features of their model such as monopolistic competition and nominal rigidities in the effects of monetary and fiscal policy in an international context. We then move on to discussing subsequent works in the literature, including Corsetti and Pesenti (2001), Betts and Devereux (BD, 2000), and Ganelli (2010), which are all closely related to the Obstfeld and Rogoff model. Even students who are not interested in open-economy aspects of macro models, will still develop strong intuition which can be applied to DGE models in general.

International Macroeconomics is taught by Dr Yoshi Morozumi, whose research interests are in macroeconomic and monetary theory. Specifically, he studies the role of credit market imperfections in business cycle dynamics. He has been an Assistant Professor in the School of Economics since 2009, and has also been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund.

International Trade Theory

The key objective of this module is to describe the nature of trade, its causes and its effects on welfare. We will discuss the gains from trade and their measurement, different causal explanations for trade (comparative advantage from technological differences, comparative advantage from endowment differences, increasing returns to scale internal and external to the firm in the presence of firm heterogeneity), determinants of the pattern of trade, trade's effect on factor rewards. The emphasis in this section of the course is on explaining why countries trade and what are the effects of trade on wages, prices, and production patterns. Particular attention will be devoted to study the effects of globalization on unemployment, inequality, and growth.

International Trade Theory is taught by Dr Giamarrio Impulliti, whose research focuses on two major sreas. The first studies the effects of globalization on growth and on labour market outcomes, such as unemployment and income inequality. The second line of research zeros in on the role of innovation policy in promoting growth and development. He has published in top international journals such as the Journal of International Economics, International Economic Review, Journal of the European Economic Association, and the Review of Economics and Statistics.

Advanced Microeconomic Theory

The aim of this module is to show you various important models taken from modern microeconomic theory. Topics covered include the economics of auctions, matching, voting, incentives and contracts. Although the treatment is theoretical, these topics have important practical applications, such as how to assign kidneys from donors to patients, how to make a decision as a group, and so on.

Advanced Microeconomic Theory is taught by Dr Mariá García-Vega. Dr García-Vega's research focuses on international economics, research and development, globalisation and the economics of innovation.

Industrial Organisation

This module covers both theoretical and experimental research on a number of Industrial Organisation topics. Rather than give a broad overview of the field the module focuses on a few topics in depth. Examples of topics covered in previous years are: dynamic oligopoly models, models of endogenous commitment, price competition with consumer inertia, anti-trust leniency policies. Lectures are organised around two or three key readings, usually recently published research papers, and cover necessary theoretical background for a detailed discussion of the key readings. As part of the module students also give group presentations on an assigned paper. Thus, the module develops an understanding of research methods and skills applied to questions in Industrial Organisation.

Industrial Organisation is taught by Professor Martin Sefton and Dr Danielle Nosenzo. Professor Sefton has research interests in the area of game theory and experimental economics. He has published in leading journals and is on the editorial board of the journal Experimental Economics. Dr Nosenzo's main research interests are in the areas of behavioural and experimental economics, and he is particularly interested in topics such as social norm compliance and the study of positive and negative incentives. He has published a range of papers including articles in the Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, and the Journal of Public Economics.

Public Economics

The aim of the module is to provide students with the tools required for the analysis of public decision making. We will consider public economic intervention both in terms of normative and positive analysis. Measurement issues underlying distributional problems will be discussed in detail. The module will treat both taxation (optimal taxes) and expenditure (public good) issues. Attention will be paid to some of the most important recent contributions. The module will concentrate on theoretical contributions to public economics. It is suitable for students without a strong theory background interested in approaching formally theoretical analysis. Also students familiar with microeconomic theory will find it useful and will have an opportunity to apply analytical tools acquired in Micro Theory as well as to familiarise with some new tools.

Public Economics is taught by Professor Gianni De Fraja. Professor De Fraja has published widely in the area of public economics and economic theory, including publications in Review of Economics and Statistics, International Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics and Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization.

Advanced Macroeconomics

This module covers the solution, calibration and simulation of dynamic stochastic models (DSGE) that are widely used in all fields of macroeconomics. It is structured in such a way that students will be exposed both to theory and the practical implementation of the methods taught. The focus is on the application of these techniques to contemporary general equilibrium macroeconomic models, designed for policy analysis. Such models have become the standard framework for the analysis of business cycle fluctuations and monetary policy in central banks and policy institutions.

We will first study these models in their simplest form and then, we will extend it to introduce nominal rigidities and financial frictions. Finally we will touch upon topics that are at the frontier of research such as financial stability and macroprudential policies, in the context of DSGE models. This course is of particular interest for those who wish to work at a central bank or an international institution, or who want to do research on applied macroeconomics. Many students taking this course have afterwards used the methods and techniques acquired to write their MSc and PhD dissertations and have gone onto jobs and internships at institutions such as the ECB and other central banks.

Advanced Macroeconomic Theory is taught by Dr Margarita Rubio, who has taught this module at a Master and PhD levels at The University of Nottingham, the University of Konstanz, as well as in Central Banks on demand. She has collaborated in the building of DSGE models in several central banks and institutions (International Monetary Fund, Bank of Spain, Central Bank of Luxembourg, Central Bank of Costa Rica, Bank of Lithuania). She has also published several articles using a DSGE framework in highly ranked journals such as the Journal of Money Credit and Banking, Journal of International Money and Finance and Journal of Banking and Finance.

Monetary Theory and Practice

The aim of this module is to address the major developments in macroeconomics with an emphasis on monetary economics. The module covers the theory and practice of central banking and monetary transmission. Topics covered include: central bank policy; reputation; solutions to the inflation bias problem; targets for monetary policy; quantitative easing and ultra-low interest rates.

Monetary Theory and Practice is taught by Paul Mizen, Professor of Monetary Economics and Director of the Centre for Finance and Credit Markets. He has relevant experience for teaching this module from the Federal Reserve, Bank of England, Deutsche Bundesbank, the European Central Bank, the Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund. He has published six books and over 100 articles on monetary economics including the Economic Journal, European Economic Review, Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, Journal of Banking and Finance, Oxford Economic Papers and Economics Letters.

Behavioural Economic Theory

This module studies ways in which economic behaviour differs from that assumed in standard economic theory. Behavioural economic theory attempts to unify psychological and economic models of behaviour. This module looks at alternatives to expected utility theory, exponential discounting, and the standard models of forward-planning. Behavioural economic theory is relevant to a wide-range of economic decisions, and is still a relatively new and emerging field.

Behavioural Economic Theory is taught by Professor Chris Starmer and Professor Robin Cubitt. Professor Starmer is Professor of Experimental Economics and the Director of the Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) and Director of the ESRC Network for Integrated Behaviour Science (NIBS). His main research interests are in individual and strategic decision making, experimental economics and the methodology of economics. Professor Cubitt is Professor of Economics and Decision Research. His research studies individual and interactive decision-making, using theoretical and experimental techniques. Both have published widely in the leading economics and economic psychology journals.



The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Up-to-date fees information can be found on our student fees and finance website.

UK/EU students

The school supports appropriate applications for external funding to ESRC, ORS and other organisations and we have details of funding opportunities on our funding webpage.

All the school's graduate programmes are recognised by the ESRC for 1+3 and +3 funding awards, with the exception of the MSc Applied Economics, the MSc Economic Development and Policy Analysis, and the MSc Applied Economics and Financial Economics.

Please also visit the University's funding webpages

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2016 entry scholarships will open in late 2015. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



The MSc Applied Economics course is of particular use to those who want to work as professional economists in the private or public sector.

With over 39,000 students from over 150 countries and two overseas campuses, Nottingham is a truly global university. We are one of the top institutions targeted by graduate employers, outperforming Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities.*

Our masters programmes provide specialist skills in theoretical and empirical economics, which will make you highly sought-after in today's competitive employment arena. You will graduate with expertise and knowledge that will equip you for a range of roles, with just some of our graduate destinations including:

  • Global Strategist for Organisational Behaviour with a leading UK marketing consultancy
  • Assistant Economist at HM Treasury
  • Analyst for KPMG's Infrastructure Strategy team

* High Fliers Research 2015

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 91.3% of postgraduates in the School of Economics who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £31,889 with the highest being £48,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU postgraduates, 2013/14.

Career prospects and employability

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service will help you to plan your career throughout your time at the University and beyond. Services available include:

  • Presentations and drop-in sessions with employers
  • One-to-one careers guidance and CV sessions with our advisers
  • Over 250 careers events
  • A specialist careers adviser for research postgraduates

All postgraduate students also become members of the Graduate School, which provides dedicated facilities and resources to significantly enhance your postgraduate experience.



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