MSc Psychology of Economic Life

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science
  • Application code C8UC
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Closed
  • Overseas full-time: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

The MSc Psychology of Economic Life teaches you to understand and shape economic behaviour - beyond homo economicus (economic man).

The programme’s content is organised along two themes: understanding economic behaviour and shaping economic behaviour. Firstly, understanding economic behaviour. In this theme, students will be exposed to key thinkers, theories and recent research in social sciences and economic psychology. Topics in this theme are for instance mental accounts, psychological contracts, decision-heuristics, and social norms for consumption. Secondly, shaping economic behaviour. In this theme, students are introduced to new approaches in behavioural design. Topics here include nudging and installations. Putting both themes together, this MSc seeks to integrate theory with practical application.

The aspiration of the MSc programme is to apply the knowledge learned towards making the world a better place. As such, we seek to apply realistic psychological knowledge to enable more sustainable business models, products, and organisations. We intend to explore new pathways for the economic life of society, beyond the status quo.

The contents of this master's is best represented by former students’ essays. Two notes regarding the orientation of the programme. Firstly, it's grounded in psychological and behavioural science. Hence, although it makes use of statistics, it does not cover formal mathematical modelling of economic phenomena, and is also open to qualitative investigations.  Secondly, it draws inspiration from social science theorists. As such, the MSc may have a more broader scope than other conventional programmes in psychology.

Teaching and learning in Michaelmas Term 2020 
Information on how LSE will deliver teaching and learning in Michaelmas term can be found here.

Programme details

Key facts

Start date 28 September 2020
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time only
Applications 2018 198
Intake 2018 34
Tuition fee UK/EU: £16,656
Overseas: £22,608
Financial support Graduate Support Scheme (deadline 27 April 2020)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline, with a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (see 'Assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements for MSc Psychology of Economic Life

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in any discipline, with a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- statement of academic purpose
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details.

Programme structure and courses

Curriculum Overview

This programme consists of courses worth 4.0 credit units. In the first term, you will take the core course in Psychology of Economic Life and an overview course in Psychological and Behavioural Science (1.0 credit). In the second term, you will take two electives of your choice (each worth 0.5 credits). In the last term, you will complete an empirical research dissertation (1.0 credit). Over all three terms, you will receive training in Methods for Social Psychological Research (1.0 credits).

In addition to these courses, all students are free to audit lectures at LSE upon the approval of the respective course conveyer.

All courses at LSE consist of lectures, which teach the theory, and seminars, which are conducted in smaller groups and are more applied.

Compulsory core courses (3.0 credits)

Psychology of Economic Life (PB403)
This course teaches key social science and social psychological theories; you will learn how to use them to address economic life in a novel and powerful manner.

Psychological and Behavioural Science (PB400) (Non-credit Bearing)
An overview course in Psychological and Behavioural Science that introduces current research conducted in the Department. Contents are applied to Psychology of Economic Life in the seminars. This course is a compulsory component of PB403 and its assessment will form 20% of the overall mark.

Methods for Social Psychological Research (PB411)

A module of 3 courses, providing method training in quantitative research methods (MY465), qualitative research methods (MY421M), and research design. More advanced courses can be selected or audited if relevant to dissertation.

Dissertation (PB410)
An independent research project of up to 10,000 words on a topic of your choice, involving empirical research and supervised by a member of faculty.

Elective courses (two at 0.5 credits each)

The following electives are aligned towards the core themes of this Master. For other possible electives, please refer to the Programme Regulations below.

Social Psychology of Economic Life: Advanced Topics (PB431)

PB431 presents how social psychology (broadly interpreted to include micro-sociology, cultural anthropology and social neuroscience) is the key to understanding real-world economic life by taking into account cognitive, affective and social processes, and also to contributing to better solutions to societal problems.

Consumer Psychology (PB417)

The course will address the psychology of consumption at different levels of analysis: individual, group and societal.  It will try to ground this psychology in fundamental theories that will allow students to develop a mental model of human behaviour as it relates to consumption.

Courses to the value of one unit from a range of options

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that 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 events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. 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.


Teaching and assessment

Psychology of Economic Life Teaching Excellence

Faculty involved in this programme have received awards for excellent teaching for the last three consecutive years.

Contact hours and independent study

Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect 40-60 contact hours in total. This includes lectures, classes, seminars and workshops. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar  within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.


All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes and mock exams.

You will be summatively assessed according to various elements of teaching including a required dissertation. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

You will be allocated a dissertation supervisor who will provide formative feedback on the following coursework:

-  a Dissertation Plan

-  a Dissertation Progress Report.

You will also be assigned an academic mentor who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Preliminary reading

Barkow, J., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (1992). The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture. Oxford University Press

Boltanski, L., & Thévenot, L. (2006). On justification : Economies of Worth. Princeton University Press

Diamond, J. (2005). Collapse. How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed. New York: Penguin Books

Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New-York: Doubleday Anchor Books

Himmelweit, H. T., & Gaskell, G. D. (1990). Societal psychology: Implications and scope. London: Sage

Hutchins, E. L. (1995). Cognition in the Wild. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Kahneman, D. A. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Lahlou, S. (2017). Installation Theory. The societal construction and regulation of behaviour. Cambridge University Press

Lewis, A. (2008). The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour. Cambridge University Press

Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C. R. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Vol. New intern). Yale University Press

Uexküll, J. von. (2010). A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans. With a Theory of Meaning  University of Minnesota Press.


Career development - MSc Psychology of Economic Life

The content of the Master's programme is broadly relevant to all situations in which an understanding of economic phenomena can be of advantage.

Roles for which the contents are of particular interests include (but are not limited to): consultancy roles (eg management consultant), market interface roles (e.g., product manager, project manager, marketing manager), behavioural insights roles (eg market researcher, policy analyst), and business psychology roles (eg organisational designer).

The contents are applicable in both the private sector (e.g. consultancy, big corporations, social businesses, start-ups) and public sector (e.g., governments, NGOs, charities). This programme provides skills to the fast-growing demand for innovative and more sustainable ways of doing business. You may also choose to continue to obtain a PhD and pursue an academic career.

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2020/21 for MSc Psychology of Economic Life

UK/EU students: £16,656
Overseas students: £22,608

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £13 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 
Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 27 April 2020.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

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