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MSc Economics MSc Economics (two year programme)

MSc Economics

About the MSc programmes

The MSc Economics programme is intended to equip you with the main tools of the professional economist, whether you intend to work in government, central banking, international organisations or private sector firms such as economic consultancies. The advanced and technically rigorous nature of the programme also serves as an excellent foundation for PhD programmes and other research-focused roles.

We expect students to have very good examination results, with a first degree in economics (not business studies), with standard courses in intermediate macro and microeconomics and econometrics, and a number of advanced courses that use these as prerequisites. You should have a solid quantitative background with at least university-level mathematics courses in both advanced calculus and linear algebra, as well as courses in statistics and econometrics.

If your first degree is not in economics, you should apply to take the MSc programme over two years. 

All students who do not have an undergraduate economics degree from a UK institution must have taken the GRE General Test no more than five years before 1 October 2016, and must include full and percentile test scores for all three sections with their application. Please see lse.ac.uk/admissionsEnquiries for more information. We do not require a specific mark but the test gives us an indication of aptitude for economics. Typically we expect candidates to score at least 161/770 in the quantitative section of the test. A higher score will count in your favour, but other information, such as examination results and references will also matter in the overall evaluation. We recognise that if your first language is not English, the verbal test will be more demanding and we view your score on that basis.

An offer of a place on the MSc Economics will include a conditional offer of progression to the MRes/PhD Economics, subject to the attainment of a distinction grade in the MSc.

Programme details

The degree concentrates on the core elements of economic theory and econometrics. Although extensive use is made of mathematics, this is intended as a tool in order to facilitate analysis, with the primary objective of the programme being the provision of a formal training in, and in-depth understanding of, core economic models. (If you are interested in a more mathematically demanding programme you should apply for the MSc Econometrics and Mathematical Economics.)

To succeed on the programme you need to prove that you can work to a high standard and have excellent analytical ability; the core economics and econometrics courses assume a good knowledge of constrained optimisation, matrix algebra and probability and statistics.

Students are required to attend the Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics before the main teaching programme starts. The course includes treatment of dynamic programming, continuous time dynamic optimisation, quadratic forms, Kuhn-Tucker theorem, and marginal and conditional probability distributions, amongst other topics.

Compulsory courses

  • Macroeconomics focuses on core models of growth and business cycle fluctuations, drawing on developments at the frontiers of research.
  • Either Microeconomics focuses on classical theories of consumer and producer behaviour, the theory of competitive equilibrium, models of imperfect competition and information economics, amongst other topics or (with permission) Advanced Microeconomics which gives more emphasis to mathematical methods following a proof-based approach, and provides a firm grounding in classical microeconomic theory as well as a variety of recent developments from behavioural economics and other fields.
  • Econometrics presents modern, technical tools for empirical analysis in economics, both for cross section, time series and panel data; focusing on the properties of different estimation models, as well as illustrating the use of these techniques in practical problems.

Students will also be expected to choose one full-unit course from a range of options or field courses. Please note that not every course is available each year and that some courses may only be available with the permission of the course convenor and/or may be subject to space.

MSc Economics (two year programme)

Programme details

The two-year route for the MSc in Economics is designed for students who have a sound quantitative background but lack the necessary knowledge in economic theory and quantitative techniques to be eligible for direct admission to the MSc in Economics.

The preliminary year will give students the opportunity to:

  • acquire a solid foundation in economic theory and quantitative techniques
  • earn the Diploma in Economics
  • progress to the final year of the MSc in Economics, or to other related MSc programmes, subject to performance and programme prerequisites
  • prepare for a career as an economist.

To be eligible to apply for the two-year route, a student should have a strong academic qualification with emphasis on quantitative subjects. We give detailed attention to transcripts and look for strength in mathematics and statistics especially.

All applicants must have taken the GRE General Test no more than five years before 1 October 2016, and must include full and percentile test scores for all three sections with their application. Please see lse.ac.uk/admissionsEnquiries for more information. Typically we expect candidates to score at least 161/770 or higher in the quantitative section of the test. We recognise that if your first language is not English, the verbal test will be more demanding and we view your score on that basis. 

Students who have not previously studied economics are required first to take LSE Summer School courses in introductory macroeconomics and introductory microeconomics. Alternatively, such students may arrange to take equivalent courses elsewhere, subject to obtaining prior confirmation that the proposed courses are acceptable to us.

The preliminary year consists of examined intermediate level courses to the value of four full units.

Compulsory courses 

  • Macroeconomic Principles covers economic growth, consumption, investment, unemployment, business cycles, inflation, monetary and fiscal policy, financial markets and international macroeconomics.
  • Either  Microeconomic Principles I, which examines consumer theory, producer theory, strategic choice, general equilibrium and welfare, topics in welfare economics and uncertainty and information or Microeconomic Principles II, which is similar to Microeconomic Principles I but assumes students have a greater mathematical facility, permitting greater depth and a number of additional topics to be covered.
  • Either  Mathematical Methods, which looks at a range of basic mathematical concepts and methods in calculus of one and several variables and in linear algebra or Further Mathematical Methods, which covers calculus and linear algebra.
  • Either Introduction to Econometrics, which examines the essential elements of econometrics or Principles of Econometrics, which provides an intermediate-level and somewhat more technical introduction to the theory and practice of econometrics.

Students progressing to the final year of the MSc Economics must attend the Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics in September 2017.

Please visit lse.ac.uk/MScEcon for further information about the MSc Economics programme. 

Please viait lse.ac.uk/MScEconTwoYear for further information about the two-year route, including progression requirements and contact information.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Economics and MSc Economics (Two Year Programme) in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. You should visit the School's Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the Updated graduate course and programme information page.

Graduate destinations

Our former students are employed as economists in a wide range of national and international organisations in government, international institutions, business and finance. In recent years, our graduates have gained employment in organisations such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, NERA Economic Consulting, PwC, Deloitte, Compass Lexecon, McKinsey, IMF, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Bundesbank, Bank of England, and HM Treasury. Approximately one third of students proceed to PhD programmes at LSE or other leading universities. In recent years, our MSc Economics students have placed at MIT, Princeton, Stanford, NYU, Northwestern, Penn, Columbia, Yale, MIT Sloan, UCLA, Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell and many other top PhD programmes around the world.


Application codes: L1U1, L1U2 (2 years) (check availability)

Start date: Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics begins in late August 2016

Duration: One year – 10 months full-time (10 month master's programmes are not compliant with the Bologna process which may affect the extent to which they are 'recognised'. For more information, see Bologna process). Two year – 22 months full-time

Intake/applications in 2014: 137/1,314

Minimum entry requirement: One year – first class honours with concentration on economics and quantitative subjects and at least a year of university level mathematics (both calculus and linear algebra) and statistics. Two year – a first class honours degree with two semesters of university-level calculus or equivalent (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: One year – all students who do not have an undergraduate economics degree from a UK institution must have taken the GRE General Test. Two year – all applicants must submit a GRE score. GRE scores must be no more than five years old on 1 October 2016

Fee level: One year UK/EU £24,936; overseas £25,440; two year (preliminary year only) £19,344

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

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions

A photo of Lorenzo Moruzzi, an LSE student