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MSc in Economics for Development

Enquiries about the MSc in Economics for Development should be addressed to the Graduate Student Administrator, admissions@qeh.ox.ac.uk.

The MSc is a taught graduate degree in development economics with strong emphasis on bringing methods of modern economic analysis to development theory and policy. It aims to prepare students for further academic research and for work as professional economists on development issues in international agencies, governments or the private sector by providing the rigorous training in economic analysis and quantitative techniques that research and applied work in the development field now requires. The course is taken in one year and normally admits around 30 students a year.

The course is taught through a combination of lectures, classes and essay writing with individual supervisors. The tutorial system (writing essays for the supervisor) is used to build critical and analytical skills, and is particularly beneficial to students from a different background of instruction (typically these comprise over three-quarters of the MSc student population). There are weekly classes and lectures in economic theory (split between macro and microeconomics) and econometrics, and a sequence of elective development modules taught by lectures, seminars and student presentations. The quantitative methods course includes hands-on training in the use of specialist statistical software. Specific issues in development economics cover such topics as poverty, inequality, education, health, rural development, political economy institutions, risk, globalisation, corruption and macroeconomic management. Students receive further teaching from individual supervision.

A central component of the course is a 10,000 word Extended Essay written on a subject chosen by the student in consultation with the supervisor, and agreed with the Course Director. The MSc examination at the end of the summer term has three written papers (Economic Theory, Quantitative Methods and Development Economics); the Extended Essay is assigned one quarter of the weight of the final result.

A student wishing to read for the MSc in Economics for Development must be accepted first by the department (ODID with Economics) and then by a College. A bachelors degree in Economics is required, Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or to have achieved a first-class or strong upper second class undergraduate degree, a GPA of 3.8 or more, or equivalent grades. All applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Applications from people whose first degree contains little or no Economics cannot be considered for this course.  The minimum requirement is the equivalent of two years of full-time study at university level of Economics courses (please note that courses in finance, planning, business, management and other similar subjects do not count as economics courses).  Some mathematical and quantitative ability is essential for this course, and relevant experience in developing countries is desirable. People whose first degree contains too little Economics for the MSc and who wish to study development in Oxford should apply for the MPhil in Economics, if they have good mathematical skills, or for the MPhil in Development Studies (a less technical multi-disciplinary course).

The admissions committee for the MSc would like to see written material which enables it to assess the ability of applicants in (a) writing (in English) and (b) economic analysis. Ideally, the material submitted will enable both sorts of ability to be assessed simultaneously, as in an economics essay or an economics term-paper. But candidates may submit material which enables these two sorts of ability to be assessed separately. It is for candidates to judge what material will best enable the committee to assess their abilities. Applicants should submit two pieces of written work, which should each be around ten pages in length. Extracts from longer papers are welcome, but should be prefaced by a note which puts them in context.

Please refer to the course page on the University website for full information on selection criteria, application deadlines and English language requirements. Also see our How to Apply page. It is essential for applicants to apply early and respect the deadlines.

 

Graduates of the MSc are well received by the job market: for instance, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) regularly takes MSc students for overseas postings, and graduates have been employed in international institutions working on development. Significant numbers of MSc graduates now work in the Department for International Development and in the major international financial institutions (World Bank, IMF, UN organization). Two to three graduates each year are accepted to read for the DPhil in economics at Oxford, and some return after a few years of work experience to start on doctoral work.

For further information on the kinds of careers our students pursue, see the ODID Graduates page.

Introduction

The MSc is a taught graduate degree in development economics with strong emphasis on bringing methods of modern economic analysis to development theory and policy. It aims to prepare students for further academic research and for work as professional economists on development issues in international agencies, governments or the private sector by providing the rigorous training in economic analysis and quantitative techniques that research and applied work in the development field now requires. The course is taken in one year and normally admits around 30 students a year.

Structure

The course is taught through a combination of lectures, classes and essay writing with individual supervisors. The tutorial system (writing essays for the supervisor) is used to build critical and analytical skills, and is particularly beneficial to students from a different background of instruction (typically these comprise over three-quarters of the MSc student population). There are weekly classes and lectures in economic theory (split between macro and microeconomics) and econometrics, and a sequence of elective development modules taught by lectures, seminars and student presentations. The quantitative methods course includes hands-on training in the use of specialist statistical software. Specific issues in development economics cover such topics as poverty, inequality, education, health, rural development, political economy institutions, risk, globalisation, corruption and macroeconomic management. Students receive further teaching from individual supervision.

A central component of the course is a 10,000 word Extended Essay written on a subject chosen by the student in consultation with the supervisor, and agreed with the Course Director. The MSc examination at the end of the summer term has three written papers (Economic Theory, Quantitative Methods and Development Economics); the Extended Essay is assigned one quarter of the weight of the final result.

Entry Requirements

A student wishing to read for the MSc in Economics for Development must be accepted first by the department (ODID with Economics) and then by a College. A bachelors degree in Economics is required, Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or to have achieved a first-class or strong upper second class undergraduate degree, a GPA of 3.8 or more, or equivalent grades. All applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Applications from people whose first degree contains little or no Economics cannot be considered for this course.  The minimum requirement is the equivalent of two years of full-time study at university level of Economics courses (please note that courses in finance, planning, business, management and other similar subjects do not count as economics courses).  Some mathematical and quantitative ability is essential for this course, and relevant experience in developing countries is desirable. People whose first degree contains too little Economics for the MSc and who wish to study development in Oxford should apply for the MPhil in Economics, if they have good mathematical skills, or for the MPhil in Development Studies (a less technical multi-disciplinary course).

The admissions committee for the MSc would like to see written material which enables it to assess the ability of applicants in (a) writing (in English) and (b) economic analysis. Ideally, the material submitted will enable both sorts of ability to be assessed simultaneously, as in an economics essay or an economics term-paper. But candidates may submit material which enables these two sorts of ability to be assessed separately. It is for candidates to judge what material will best enable the committee to assess their abilities. Applicants should submit two pieces of written work, which should each be around ten pages in length. Extracts from longer papers are welcome, but should be prefaced by a note which puts them in context.

Please refer to the course page on the University website for full information on selection criteria, application deadlines and English language requirements. Also see our How to Apply page. It is essential for applicants to apply early and respect the deadlines.

 

Careers

Graduates of the MSc are well received by the job market: for instance, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) regularly takes MSc students for overseas postings, and graduates have been employed in international institutions working on development. Significant numbers of MSc graduates now work in the Department for International Development and in the major international financial institutions (World Bank, IMF, UN organization). Two to three graduates each year are accepted to read for the DPhil in economics at Oxford, and some return after a few years of work experience to start on doctoral work.

For further information on the kinds of careers our students pursue, see the ODID Graduates page.

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Photo: S Stein, MPhil 2010-12

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