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MSc Local Economic Development

About the MSc programme

This programme draws upon the expertise of a group of LSE researchers who are key contributors to research and practice on regional and local economic development. We also invite regular contributions from external academics and practitioners.

In addition to gaining the MSc you will also have access to the Institution of Economic Development, the leading UK organisation for economic development practitioners.

As an interdisciplinary programme, applications from any field in the social sciences are welcome. In the past, the bulk of the student body has been made up by graduates in economics, development, sociology, geography, international relations and political science. In any case, we will expect applicants to have excellent grades in their first degrees.

In recent years, rapid changes in technology and information, industrial restructuring and integration have been radically realigning production structures. There has also been a drive towards the globalisation of the world economy. World trade has expanded at twice the rate of output and national governments have been rethinking their protectionist policies to participate in the new global markets. In this context, local and regional economies increasingly need new responses and demand specialist skills to work with the change, and exploit the opportunities it offers.

Programme details

This programme focuses on the variety of ways in which local and regional agencies can work with the private sector in order to stimulate local economies. You will also develop an understanding of the local, national and international trends in business organisation, and a knowledge of the variety of local agents involved. The course emphasises management issues of local capacity building, attracting investment, network building, infrastructure, human resources, and focuses as well on the rationale and impact of regional and local development policies and on the role of institutions. In general minimum teaching contact for a full unit course is usually 40 hours, and 20 hours for a half unit.

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)

  • Topics in Local Economic Development* is concerned with both the theoretical underpinnings and practical implementation of specific local economic development policies.
  • Either Globalisation, Regional Development and Policy analyses the theory and practice of economic development focusing on response to change, stimulation of development, and methods of local or regional delivery or Local Economic Development and Policy deals with the analysis of theoretical and institutional issues, empirical evidence, development pre-requisites and economic development policies in the context of actions to stimulate the economic development of local and regional economies.
  • Dissertation.

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of one and a half units from a range of options. If you are planning to apply for a PhD within the Department, please be advised that you need to take some methods training as part of the MSc. Contact your MSc programme director and the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss this requirement.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Local Economic Development 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

Previous graduates are mainly working in international organisations (UN system [including ILO, UNDP, FAO], World Bank, OECD, European Union, World Trade Conference), national and regional governments, international consultancy, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), research centres and top universities. Further information about what previous students are doing can be found on our website.


Application code: L1S2 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: 12 months full-time

Intake/applications in 2014: 46/230

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in social science (in the past mostly economics, development, sociology geography, international relations and political science) (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: No requirement, but good GRE/GMAT a strong asset

Fee level: UK/EU £12,504; overseas £19,344

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

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions

Note: This programme gives access to the Institute of Economic Development