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MSc Economics and Public Policy

Gain a thorough foundation in the tools required to analyse aspects of public policy

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

York enjoys a prominent international reputation in public economics and in the use of economics in the design of social policy.

If you already work in the public sector, the NHS or for an international agency, the MSc in Economics and Public Policy will help you upgrade your existing skills. You'll gain more exposure to up-to-date techniques and knowledge relevant to policy analysis in social and other public policy areas, and to public sector administration and financial management.

If you have completed a degree in economics, the Masters will allow you to build on this by gaining further knowledge and expertise in more specialised areas, such as health economics, social policy analysis and public finance.

The programme is also suitable for those with a background in disciplines such as government, sociology, mathematics or natural sciences, who wish to develop their abilities in economics and related areas, particularly economic and social policy, administration and management. If you don't have a strong background in economics, but have other relevant qualifications or experience, you can take a Summer Session course in Economics and Quantitative Methods.

Five-star learning

York is one of only three UK institutions to receive five stars from the Centre of Higher Education Development for postgraduate economics.

Course content

The MSc in Economics and Public Policy will offer you a thorough training in core areas of economics used in the evaluation of public policy. Taught by leading experts, you'll complete modules to the value of 180 credits. This includes 100 credits of taught modules - some core and some optional - and an 80 credit dissertation.


For the Masters you will take 100 credits of taught modules. There are five core modules which make up 80 of your 100 taught credits:

  1. Applied Microeconomics 1  and  Applied Microeconomics 2 or Advanced Microeconomics (20 credits)
  2. Public Policy Analysis (20 credits)
  3. Econometrics 1 & 2 or Statistics and Econometrics or Econometric Methods for Research orEconometrics 1 and Applied Microeconometrics (20 credits)
  4. Public Finance (10 credits)
  5. Public Sector Economics (10 credits)

In addition you can choose 20 credits from:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


You'll complete a piece of independent research carried out over three months of the summer, guided by a supervisor. The dissertation, of up to 10,000 words, is worth 80 credits and offers you the chance to examine a topic in depth and to develop your academic research skills.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Understand the main economic techniques adopted for the analysis of public policy and explain to policy makers how these techniques can improve policy decisions. 
  • Locate, compile and present economic data on public policy matters, employing relevant software applications, and interpret such data critically.
  • Use econometrics and other quantitative methods in analysing complex data and undertaking formal empirical tests of economic models addressed to public policy questions.
  • Comprehend and utilise academic literature on the economics of public policy, with an ability to work independently, explain key ideas, and compare, contrast and synthesise different sources. 
  • Apply the general principles of economic policy analysis to real policy issues, exercising independent judgement in the choice of appropriate techniques and using particular examples and case studies of policy decisions as a guide. 
  • Carry out rigorous, theoretically informed critical appraisal of current economic policies and policy proposals, with a capacity to assess alternative views and take account of the wider social, political and ethical context. 
  • Plan and manage a project with minimal guidance informed by relevant and current knowledge, identifying an appropriate methodology that applies well-developed economic analysis skills to policy-related topics, and effectively communicate results. 

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

This Masters combines a variety of different teaching methods, including:

  • Formal lectures
  • Seminars
  • Problem-solving classes
  • Practical computer-based sessions.

A member of the teaching staff will act as your supervisor throughout the degree, to help guide your studies and monitor progress. The department also has a vibrant research community. You’ll be able to attend the seminars and research workshops in which staff and invited speakers discuss their research.

Teaching location

You'll be based in the Department of Economics and Related Studies on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place in Alcuin College and elsewhere on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Formal types of assessment in this course include:

  • Dissertation
  • Exams
  • Group project
  • Seminar presentation
  • Essays

As you study modules you’ll take part in assessments that do not contribute to your final mark, instead giving useful feedback on your progress and understanding.

Careers and skills

The MSc in Economics and Public Policy will open up a broad range of career options in government, the public sector, health or public administration. It is an ideal basis for progression to a PhD.

Career opportunities

You'll gain the skills that will allow you to work in a variety of organisations. These include:

  • Health or public administration
  • Universities
  • Research and policy centres
  • Consultancy firms
  • International organisations.

Transferable skills

You'll develop a range of transferable skills during the course, including:

  • Independent working
  • Time management and people skills
  • Communicating research
  • Performing statistical analysis
  • Analytical and technical research skills.

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

You should have at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent qualification from outside the UK), primarily in Economics, Finance or a related subject with evidence on your degree transcript of strong grades in economics, mathematics and statistics modules at an intermediate (2nd year level).

If your first degree was awarded by an institution outside the UK, see our country-specific information.

Other qualifications

If you have been out of study for a while, or do not have a strong background in economics or mathematics and statistics but have other relevant qualifications or experience, you may be required to take the Summer Session in Economics and Quantitative Methods as a condition of your offer. Alternatively, the Session can also be taken as a stand-alone course.

English language

If your native language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language ability:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with no less than 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements for further information.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of Economics and Related Studies

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