Development Economics - MSc
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Master economic theory and use data analysis to address key problems faced by contemporary developing economies. Use your inquisition to explore global poverty, inequality, malnutrition, civil strife and institution failure. Build skills in quantitative research methods and critically analyse the policies aimed to overcome economic underdevelopment.
Pursue careers in national and international organisations, business and the financial sector, and overseas governments by capitalizing on the School’s unique decades-long research expertise in this area.
Reasons to study Development Economics at Kent
- Study in our new Kennedy building, home to our economics community, with excellent facilities, ideal for teaching analytic tools.
- Be part of one of a few courses in the UK to offer specialist training in advanced econometric methods and their application.
- Study in a multicultural environment and build yourself an international professional network for the future.
- Develop your ability to apply economic knowledge, analytical tools and skills to a range of national and international problems in the areas of finance, development, agriculture and the environment.
- Collaborate with inspiring lecturers who advise UK, European and international organisations.
- Engage with the Development Economics Research Centre at Kent (DeReCK) - a large contingent of expert economists and internationally renowned researchers.
- Access the excellent research facilities in The Templeman Library.
What you'll learn
Build on your existing knowledge, abilities and skills by developing a deeper understanding of development economics, sustainable economic growth and environmental valuation, whilst choosing modules and areas of interest to specialise in. You’ll develop the skills necessary for independent research and application in the area of development economics.
Students on this course have the opportunity to undertake a research placement at Brac University (BracU), Dhaka, Bangladesh or North South University, Bangladesh, as part of their degree. The placement takes place in the Summer term. It includes co-supervision of the MSc dissertation by academics from Kent and BracU or North South University and gives students exceptional access to primary data and academic experts in the field of development economics in Bangladesh.
BracU and North South University are widely considered to be among the top private universities in Bangladesh in terms of academic excellence and prestige. They both have extensive connections with NGOs in Bangladesh.
BracU is linked to the BRAC organisation, an international development organisation based in Bangladesh. BRAC is now one of the largest NGOs in the world, operating not only in Bangladesh but also in ten other countries in Africa and Asia.
Building on BRAC’s experience of seeking solutions to challenges posed by extreme poverty, BracU is committed to instilling in its students a commitment to working towards national development and progress.
About the School of Economics
The School of Economics is dedicated to excellence in both teaching and research, as demonstrated by our results in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 and recent national student surveys. Our academic staff are active in research, and teaching and learning are informed by the School’s thriving research culture and strong cosmopolitan academic community.
We currently have 35 academic staff, with about 35-40 MSc and PhD students, which has the benefit of a good community for interaction between students but also means that each student receives a good deal of individual attention in classes and workshops. It also means that we are able to offer excellent facilities for research.
Our postgraduate student community is global with many of the students originating from outside the UK and Europe. There are also a number of different nationalities represented within the academic staff. You will be able to integrate into this multicultural environment and build yourself an international professional network for the future.
A first or second class honours degree from the UK or an equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a sciences or social sciences subject. Applicants must also have a good level of quantitative skills (eg a pre-university school qualification in mathematics).
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
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Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
The Development Economics MSc is studied over one year full-time or two years part-time and is divided into two stages: eight taught modules (six of which are compulsory) and a dissertation.
There are compulsory modules in Advanced Macroeconomics, Advanced Microeconomics of Consumers, Markets and Welfare, Econometric Methods and Research Skills. There are a further three core economics modules: Development Economics, Advanced Topics in Development Economics, Sustainable Economic Growth and Environmental Valuation. The core modules build upon students’ existing knowledge, understanding and skills. Students develop a deeper understanding of economic and econometric theory, quantitative and research methods, and policy applications. The teaching and learning of skills are carefully integrated into the structure of the modules and degree programme. The final two modules are chosen from a range of options based upon the research interests of members of staff.
All of our MSc programmes require some mathematical analysis, and we recognise that students have widely differing backgrounds in mathematics. The first week of all our MSc programmes includes compulsory intensive teaching in mathematics, refreshing and improving your skills in order to equip you with the techniques you will need for the rest of the programme.
Students who successfully pass the taught element of the programme, proceed to the dissertation stage, where you undertake a supervised project of your choice on an Economics/Econometrics topic. Advice on choice of dissertation topic and management is given during the taught stage of the programme. The dissertation stage develops students’ research skills and follows on from the Research Skills module. Student dissertations are supervised by academic staff.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
As well as the compulsory modules, you also choose two from a list of optional modules. Once you have successfully completed the taught elements of the programme, you will progress to the Economics Dissertation.
This module examines the workings of the economic system from a disaggregated viewpoint. It is a standard module on advanced microeconomic theory and contains the basics of general equilibrium, including Walrasian equilibrium. It provides students with the toolbox essential for understanding further advanced modules in their programme of choice. Fundamental topics dealt with encompass utility theory and welfare. Special attention is given to risk and uncertainty. All these topics are presented in an advanced manner and all are developed in mathematical frameworks. The notion of the understanding of a number of mathematical proofs of economic ideas is central to the curriculum.
This module is designed for students with interests in both international economics and development economics. It aims to discuss some of the fundamental models (and their extensions) in international economics and link them to the growth and development process of regions and countries. Throughout this module we provide you with the analytical tools and theoretical knowledge necessary to understand these links. We also focus on both the theoretical foundations and extensions of trade theory and the empirical evidence available to the current theoretical debates. The first part of the module is devoted to the foundations of trade theory and it is the basic building block of the module. The rest of the module deals with trade policy, trade liberalisation and long run growth, factor movements as well as economic geography and regional trade agreements and their implication for global free trade.
The main aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge of core macroeconomic theory at the graduate level. The focus is on learning theoretical concepts and analytical techniques as an aid to understanding complex contemporary macroeconomic problems. In addition, the module will develop the toolbox essential for understanding all other macro-related modules in the programmes of students' further choice. The module is organized in three key parts. The first part deals with microeconomic foundations of macroeconomics and introduces rational expectations. The second part analyses short-term fluctuations in macroeconomic performance and how macroeconomic policy may be used to address these. Specifically, it provides rigorous treatment of the Real Business Cycle theory and monetary/fiscal policy as regulatory instruments. The third part deals with economic growth as a fundamental determinant of long-term macroeconomic performance.
This module studies basic econometric techniques. An intuitive and practical learning style will be used in order to develop participants understanding and ability to apply these econometric methods. Participants will develop an understanding of the conventional linear regression model in cross section, time series and panel data. The module focuses on the application of econometric methods, with little emphasis on the mathematical aspects of the subject. A computer software package will be used for practical work throughout this module, both as a means to provide applications of the theory developed in lectures as well as to give experience in the use of such software for participants own empirical research. No previous knowledge of computing or econometrics is required.
Empirical evaluation of microeconomic models is crucial to the study and application of economics. The empirical evaluation of economic models based on the analysis of individual behaviour at the micro level often requires special econometric techniques either due to the nature of the explanatory variables or the non-randomness of the sample design. The module introduces students to the main empirical strategies for causal inference. The module will cover identification based on observables, randomized control trials, difference-in-differences, instrumental variables and regression discontinuity design. The students will use an econometric software in the analysis of data and estimations.
Developing economies are confronted with severe environmental problems. This module starts with presenting economic growth models with environmental elements and discusses their properties and implications for long-run sustainable development. It then proceeds by illustrating environmental valuation techniques and showing how these can be incorporated into economic decision-making processes in order to contribute to sustainable economic growth and development. The main emphasis in the module is on the application of environmental economics to help design, implement and evaluate environmental policies in developed and developing economies.
As a field of study, Development Economics has both a long history and a rapidly expanding set of issues that is considered to be within its domain today. The Foundation of Development Economics will provide a long-term perspective to the field, covering topics such as the meaning of development, the measurement of poverty and inequality, economic growth, structural transformation, industrialisation, institutions and trade. Students will be exposed to classical texts to gain an understanding of how the economic approach to these topics have evolved over time; as well as rigorous mathematical models and modern economic approaches to empirical analysis for an introduction to current methods and practices in the study of Development Economics.
The module consists of topics related to common causes and consequences of institutional failure in developing countries, such as market failures and failures in political, legal and social institutions. Topics will cover ways in which individuals, social groups and governments deal with these failures, including the use of informal institutions, social networks and policy interventions. Students will be exposed to both theory and empirics, with a focus on theoretical and empirical tools appropriate for studying the behaviour and constraints of individuals, households and firms in developing country settings. Emphasis will be placed in particular on studying strategic interaction between agents in the absence of markets and identifying causal effects.
The module consists of preparation of the 1-page dissertation proposal to be submitted by the end of Week 13. Upon review of the proposal by the Director of Graduate Studies the student is allocated to the supervisor. For the rest of the term the student and the supervisor meet and discuss in details the proposal to identify the relevant literature research methods and actions. By the end of Week 24 the student submits an additional 1-page outline of the dissertation with the exact research question, relevant methodological toolbox to address the question and reference to the relevant data (if applicable). The outline is further supported by the condensed list of the core literature.
This module helps prepare students to acquire and develop the employability and transferable skills necessary to search and successfully apply for work experience and graduate opportunities in the commercial and public sector and for PhD programmes.
The curriculum will include guidance and practical exercises in application writing, CVs, careers advice, interview and assessment centre techniques, numeracy and competency tests, and psychometric evaluation.
The dissertation work is carefully structured across the whole academic year. On entry to the MSc programmes, students are made aware of the need to consider their dissertation during the taught part of the programme and to do some preparatory work in terms of selection of research topic and investigation of the availability of data before the beginning of the dissertation working period. They receive guidelines on the writing of economics dissertations and they receive various talks and advice above the researching and writing of their dissertation. Students are allocated an appropriate member of staff as dissertation supervisor.
Students of MSc Development Economics may opt for a co-delivery arrangement with Brac University, Bangladesh, or North South University, Bangladesh, in which they are hosted by Brac / North South and jointly supervised by academic staff members from Kent and Brac / North South University (one supervisor from each institution).
Teaching and assessment
Assessment is through a wide variety of methods including seminar presentations, extended essays, short projects, in-course tests, examinations, and the dissertation.
The programme aims to:
- To provide a stimulating education in the principles of Development Economics and their application, in which high quality teaching motivates students to achieve their full potential. The teaching is informed by the research and scholarship of teaching staff.
- To build on the existing knowledge, abilities and skills of all students, and to develop a deeper understanding of economic theory, empirical analysis and policy applications in their relation to Development Economics.
- To provide options to enable students to study selected areas of Development Economics in depth.
- To develop in students the ability to apply economic knowledge, analytical tools and skills in a range of theoretical, applied and policy problems.
- To develop the skills necessary for independent research and to prepare students for work as professional economists in the area of Development Economics.
- To provide information and advice on future employment and further postgraduate study.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain a knowledge and inderstanding of the following:
- The concepts, principles, theories, models and methods of the advanced Development Economics.
- The econometric, mathematical, statistical and computing methods used in Development Economics.
- Sources of data from the developing world and methods used to analyse such data, and ability to make use of sources and methods.
- Model building in Development Economics and critical analysis of such models.
- Application of core economic theory and reasoning to applied topics.
- Research methods and management.
- Specialist supervised dissertation topic and quantitative methods project.
- Economic analysis of policy.
- Chosen specialist areas in Development Economics selected from a range of options.
- Critical evaluation of major debates and articles in advanced development literature
You gain the following intellectual skills:
- Ability to abstract the essential features of a complex system.
- Ability to think about what are the important variables and fixed parameters in analysing a problem.
- Ability to analyse complex issues using deductive and inductive reasoning.
- Ability to organise and use information to analyse complex issues and construct and test different hypotheses.
- Ability to review literature critically and appreciate alternative explanations and analyses of a problem.
- Ability to effectively work under supervision for the dissertation and manage supervised dissertation and quantitative projects.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- Analytical skills in Development Economics.
- Ability to develop and understand models of behaviour at international markets.
- Ability to apply economic principles and analysis to a range of issues, problems and policies.
- Ability to abstract the essential features of an economic issue, problem or system.
- Knowledge of the principal sources of the data on developing economies and information and ability to use and present this information.
- Be able to carry out econometric analysis of the data on developing economies.
- Ability to synthesize and compare critically different economic analyses of an economic issue.
- Ability to research the literature on a development economics issue.
- Research management skills.
- Ability to apply economic skills to investigate supervised dissertation and quantitative methods projects.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- Effective communication of analysis and ideas both orally and in written form.
- Ability to assemble, analyse, use and present data.
- Understanding and ability to use economic, mathematical and quantitative methods to analyse issues and problems.
- Development of Information Technology skills through using statistical and econometric packages, bibliographic searches and word processing coursework.
- Independence in initiating and executing work.
- Ability to analyse and solve problems.
- Ability to think critically about proposed analyses and solutions to a problem or issue.
- Ability to define and test hypotheses.
- Become responsible for managing own learning and academic performance.
- Research management skills acquired through managing supervised dissertation and quantitative methods projects.
The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:
- Home full-time £9500
- EU full-time £14500
- International full-time £19300
- Home part-time £4750
- EU part-time £7250
- International part-time £9650
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your fee status
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
- University and external funds
- Scholarships specific to the academic school delivering this programme.
We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.Search scholarships
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, over 87% of our Economics research was classified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for publications and environment.
The School of Economics has a strong research culture and an international reputation in several fields, particularly applied microeconomics (labour and agri-environmental), quantitative macroeconomic theory, macro and microeconometrics and economic development.
The School is home to two research centres and one research group:
Centre for Agri-Environmental Studies (CEAS)
CEAS has a long history of participating in agri-environmental research and policy debate. Founded in 1974 to conduct research into the implications of the UK's entry to the European Economic Community, CEAS has developed into a centre of research excellence, focusing on food and agri-environmental policy in the UK and Europe.
Macroeconomics, Growth and History Centre (MaGHiC)
MaGHiC brings together a large number of researchers at the School whose main interests lie in the wide area of macroeconomics. MaGHiC is the focal point for macroeconomic research, impact and training at the University of Kent. The centre's main focus is on the analysis of macroeconomic issues, including productivity and growth, labour markets, income distribution, business cycles and macroeconomic phenomena from a historical perspective. The group also has technical strength in computational economics, macroeconometric modelling and forecasting, and expertise in building long-run macroeconomic time series and reconstructing historical national accounts.
Microeconomics Research Group
In addition to the two research centres, the School has an active microeconomics research group, whose members' research spans applied and theoretical microeconomics, and microeconometrics. The group's research covers a wide range of areas with the main focus being on development economics, labour and education economics, microeconometrics, games and behavioural economics, the economics of food, economic geography, industrial organisation, political economy, networks and the economics of taxation.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 92% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2017 and responded to a national survey were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
A postgraduate degree in the area of economics is a particularly valuable and flexible qualification that can open the door to exciting careers in many professions. Our graduates have gone on to work as economists in international organisations, the financial sector, business, UK and overseas governments, and to further postgraduate training and academic careers at Kent, UK and overseas universities. Recent MSc graduates have gone on to work for companies in the UK such as BNP Paribas, AXA, FactSet and PwC.
The School's employability officers and the University's Careers and Employability Service are available throughout the year to offer one-to-one advice and help on all aspects of employability at any stage in your postgraduate studies. We also offer online advice on employability skills, career choices, applications and interview skills.
The School provides rooms specifically for use by MSc students, with computer facilities and open space for discussion and group work.
All MSc students are assigned an academic adviser to be their point of reference for advice, support and guidance during their studies. They are also allocated a supervisor for the MSc dissertation, who can advise on data and provide comments on methodologies and the written material.
The School has an active and inclusive research culture involving all postgraduate students, with a regular seminar programme during the year mixing internal workshops with events to which we invite outside speakers. There is also a student Economics Society, which invites its own speakers for discussion of economics topics, and Kent Invest Society which manages a virtual portfolio.
An international school
Our postgraduate student community is global with about half the students originating from outside the UK and Europe, including Africa, China, India, the Middle East, Pakistan, Russia and the USA. We have strong links with universities in Australia, Bulgaria, China, France, Germany, Japan and the USA, among others. Economics staff teach on the postgraduate courses provided by the University of Kent at Brussels. You will be able to integrate into this multicultural environment and build the foundations for an international professional network.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Learn more about the application process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
You will be able to choose your preferred year of entry once you have started your application. You can also save and return to your application at any time.
Apply for entry to:
United Kingdom/EU enquiries
MSc at Canterbury
T: +44 (0)1227 768896
International student enquiries
T: +44 (0)1227 823254