EH472      Half Unit
Essay in Quantitative Economic History

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Patrick Wallis


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Quantitative Economic History. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The topic of the Essay is chosen by the students in close consultation with their supervisors. The purpose of the essay is to introduce students to the practice of historical research through the completion of a small, self-contained project that involves the use of quantitative methods in the analysis of historical change. It builds on competencies acquired in the core economic history and economics courses of the MSc. It must demonstrate the ability to formulate and motivate a research question, reflect adequate knowledge of the relevant literature in economic history and economics, make effective use of appropriate quantitative methods, and show critical capacity in the interpretation of the evidence and findings. 


Starting in the first term, students will receive advice on choosing a topic and how to tackle it, both from the Department (in the form of a document) and, individually, from their supervisors. There will be several taught sessions in Michaelmas Term for all students on the programme in addition to meetings with supervisors during the course of the year.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to complete a sequence of preparatory stages during the year. (1) The title must be approved by the student's supervisor; (2) an outline of the Essay must be submitted in Lent Term (3) a one-page project summary and an extended draft by the end of the Summer Term. Supervisors will not normally provide comments on drafts submitted after that date.


Essay (100%, 6000 words).

The essay should be no longer than 6,000 words, excluding tables, references and bibliography. Marks will be deducted for late submission or excessive length. The Essay counts for a half-unit in the four-unit MSc programme. The relevant marking criteria are set out in the Notes for Students.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2019/20: 2

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Controlled access 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills