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MSc Economics and Philosophy

About the MSc programme

This interdisciplinary programme is based at the Department of Economics| and the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method|. The latter department provides additional programme information on its degree webpage|. The programme offers the following benefits:

  • Taught jointly by two departments at LSE which are internationally recognised as among the best in their respective disciplines.
  • It is unique in offering a rigorous programme in core graduate-level economics courses whilst offering students the opportunity to engage with moral, methodological and foundational issues.
  • The philosophy offerings are resolutely interdisciplinary. We take philosophical analysis to be continuous with scientific approaches to political, social and economic problems, and all philosophy staff have a strong background in interdisciplinary work and in areas of social or natural science.
  • It is taught at an institution which is a major centre for national and international public policy debates.
  • Students have access to a wealth of courses and resources within the Philosophy and Economics Departments and at LSE that are relevant for their studies - for example:
    • Research seminars on topics in economics, rational and social choice, scientific evidence and policy-making.
    • The LSE Internships programme in Public Policy, Social Issues and Public Affairs;
    • The many colloquia at LSE

Some of the questions concerning philosophy of economics that we study are:

  • What are the moral advantages and disadvantages of market institutions?
  • Can we make interpersonal comparisons of well-being, and if so, how should we do so?
  • How do models of economic phenomena relate to the actual social world?
  • What are the assumptions underlying the rational choice model in economics? Can they be normatively justified? Are they descriptively accurate?

To succeed on the programme you need to have excellent quantitative skills and general analytical abilities. The economics courses assume knowledge of constrained optimisation, matrix algebra and basic statistics.

We expect students to have very good grades, with a substantial component of economics in their first degree including standard courses in intermediate macro and microeconomics and econometrics.

All graduates of non-UK institutions must have taken the GRE General Test no more than five years before applying, and must include the test scores with their application. Please see Admission enquiries system| for further information. We typically expect candidates to score at least in the 85th percentile in the quantitative section of the test. Good scores on the analytical and verbal are also important. When an applicant's first language is not English, we take this into account in assessing the verbal score.

Programme details

This is a highly selective, small programme, and students typically have a good deal of contact with their programme co-ordinator and form a close social group. The Department organises social occasions through the year. 

Students will be able to apply to the LSE Internships programme in Public Policy, Social Issues & Public Affairs. This initiative, led by the Careers Service and the LSE Public Policy Group, offers internships to LSE graduate students in key organisations working across the field of public policy, social issues and public affairs.

Students are required to take the Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics| before the main teaching programme starts in September.

Compulsory courses

Economics courses

Two from:

  • Microeconomics develops the basic tools for analysing problems of resource allocation used by economists working in research, government and business.
  • Macroeconomics provides a wide-ranging survey of modern macroeconomics.
  • Econometrics aims to present and illustrate the techniques of empirical investigation in economics.

Philosophy courses

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two units from the large range of philosophy options on offer.

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Compulsory seminars

Dissertation Seminar: Economics and Philosophy| this non-assessed course covers topics in the philosophy and methodology of economics.

This seminar will prepare you to write a Dissertation| of not more than 7,000 words.

Graduate destinations

The degree offers a good preparation for doctoral research in both economics and philosophy. It also prepares students for careers in financial institutions, and intergovernmental, governmental, and non-governmental organisations, and for employment in such fields as financial and economic journalism and consulting.

If you have any further questions about the programme or the department, please email us at philosophy-dept@lse.ac.uk|

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Application code: L1I1 (check availability|)

Start date: Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics begins early September 2015

Duration: 13 months full-time, 25 months part-time

Intake/applications in 2013: 6/116

Minimum entry requirement: First class honours with concentration on economics and quantitative subjects. Core economics courses assume knowledge of constrained optimisation, matrix algebra and basic statistics (see entry requirements|)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements|)

GRE/GMAT requirement:  All graduates of non UK institutions must submit a GRE score

Fee level: £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support|)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions

Note: If your first language is not English, you must submit a writing sample of 5-10 typewritten pages


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