Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

International Business and Economic Development - MSc


This is a multidisciplinary MSc programme that brings together the areas of international business and economic development. Taught jointly by the School of Economics and Kent Business School, the programme benefits from the expertise and strong research in both schools.



The programme provides an excellent postgraduate education in the core principles of international business and economic development and helps to develop a broad set of skills that are highly sought after by global employers. It provides a structured approach to developing the knowledge and skills required to pursue a career in international business and/or economic development. You have the chance to develop an international perspective on business and economic development issues through working with an international group of students, and build your own international network.

The MSc is particularly suited to Business students who are looking to acquire economics understanding and skills in order to pursue a career in multinational enterprises, international organisations and consultancy companies. It also offers opportunities for the development of managers who want to deepen their understanding of the international economic environment, and for those who wish to pursue further academic study at PhD level.

About the School of Economics

The School of Economics is dedicated to excellence in both teaching and research, demonstrated by results in the REF 2014 and recent 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

About Kent Business School

Kent Business School has over 25 years’ experience delivering business education. Our portfolio of postgraduate programmes demonstrates the breadth and depth of our expertise. Academic research and links with global business inform our teaching, ensuring a curriculum that is relevant and current. We are ranked as a top 30 UK business school for the standard of our teaching and student satisfaction. We also hold a number of accreditations by professional bodies.

National ratings

School of Economics

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Economics was ranked 21st in the UK for research intensity and 84% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

In the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PTES) 2016, our performance placed us in the top quarter in all seven theme areas. Overall, the School achieved an 89% student satisfaction rate.

Kent Business School

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, we were placed 25th (out of 101 institutions) in the UK for research intensity in business and management studies and 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

The School was also ranked 24th for its breadth and depth of research across the whole community of research active staff by the Association of Business Schools.

Course structure

The International Business and Economic Development MSc is divided into two stages: eight taught modules (seven of which are compulsory) and a dissertation on either International Business or Economic Development.

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 a Business or Economic Development issue. 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 Methods 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.

Modules may include Credits

The aims of the module are:

• Analyze the modern multinational enterprise and its evolution.

• Explore the various ways multinationals are expanding and organized.

• Investigate the different subsidiary mandates.

• Critically examine innovation management within the multinational enterprise.

The module content will include:

• Evolution of the Multinational Enterprise – Multinational Enterprise Theories.

• Multinationals and their Difference from Domestic Firms (Hymer’s approach to the Modern Multinational, Modes of Internationalization).

• Integrated Approaches – The Eclectic Framework and the Investment Development Path.

• Strategy and the Multinational Enterprise.

• Integration Responsiveness Framework – Multinational Structures and Roles of Subsidiaries.

• Organization of the Multinational Network – Heterarchy vs. Hierarchy, Subsidiary Mandates.

• Technological Innovation and the Multinational.

• Cultural Differences and Multinational Performance.

• Unifying Approach –Global Value Chain.

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The strategy module has two main learning components:

• Acquiring theory and concepts in strategy and strategic management.

• Application of theory and concepts to the analysis of organisations.

The aim is to critically examine and provide insights into the practice and process of strategic management within a variety of private and public sector organisations.

What actions can employees pursue in order to attain superior performance for their organisation relative to their competitors? This course is designed to allow students to develop their skills of strategic analysis and their ability to think about the selection and implementation of appropriate strategies in different industry contexts and in different types and styles of organisations, including non-profit and public sector organisations.

Indicative topics include:

• What is Strategy, and Why is it Important?

• The Context of Strategy

• Competitive Strategy and Strategic Choices

• Resource Based Strategy

• Managing Strategic Change

• Corporate Social Responsibility

• Strategy in the Food sector

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The aims of the module are to:

• Develop an appreciation of the complexity and diversity associated with doing business internationally.

• Provide an overview of the major theories and concepts which have been developed by academics and practitioners in order to understand the international business arena.

• Offer some practical solutions to the problems faced by the international business community.

• Derive insights which will enable students to effectively play part in managing resources across national boundaries within their organisation, at present or in the future.

Business in an International Perspective is an exploration of an area that is highly topical within the practice of management and scholarly research. The chances are high indeed that, at some time during their career, today’s MSc graduates will work for an international organisation, an international market research company or a multinational enterprise. The notion of purely domestic organisation is becoming more and more difficult to substantiate. The module adopts an analytical and critical perspective to the somewhat prescriptive literature which is associated with this contentious problem area.

The topics addressed in this module will include:

• International business and international trade theory

• Cultural factors and their impact on business, including human resource management

• Risk analysis, country risk and the consequences for trade and investment

• Government-business relations and market regulation

• International organisations and international business: GATT/WTO and multilateral trade issues

• The world financial environment and the multinational finance function: foreign exchange markets, business implications of exchange rate changes

• Corporate social responsibility and the impact of international business on various stakeholders

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The aim of this module is to introduce you to a range of research methods and sources available in modern economics, and enable you to gain an understanding of their application in the context of your own MSc dissertation topic. In more practical terms, this module deals with the practicalities of postgraduate level research: acquiring and reviewing basic analytical skills, choosing a dissertation topic, deriving interesting and well-focused research questions, addressing questions with data or theory, and interpreting and writing up results. It aims to ease the transition of students who merely learn about existing research to being researchers working on their MSc dissertations. The module is taught by various members of the School and as such will expose you to some topics we work on and the methodologies we use. It has two components. The first focuses on specific skills: mathematical skills, use of library resources, writing skills, and data collection and management. The second aims to prepare you for the dissertation stage by giving you some concrete help and feedback in choosing a research topic and planning your work.

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The aim of the module is to introduce and develop knowledge of widely applicable economic principles with a focus on their applications to development issues. The module is intended for students at the Masters level with an interest in the study of applied economics and international development, who have not had economics at the undergraduate level.

The module introduces you to the core principles of microeconomics, with the aim of providing you with an understanding of the general analytical framework for the work by neoclassical economists on development issues (as well as deviations from this framework). Moreover, it provides an introduction to macroeconomic topics that are central to current debates about economic development, including Growth Theory and international trade. The module provides you with the foundation to engage with research literature on development carried out by economists.

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The aim of the module is to train students who have not had enough quantitative training during their undergraduate degree in the techniques economists use to quantify economic relationships in order to test hypotheses or assess the impact of economic policy. This is approached in a practical way so that you gain experience in using spreadsheets and suitable computer software (Stata) to investigate empirical relationships, which you apply in the other modules of the MSc programme and in your research dissertation.

Lecture topics

• Nature of data, describing data and interesting datasets

• Probability distributions

• Sampling and point estimation

• Hypotheses testing

• Causality

• Simple regression

• Multiple regression

• Dummy variables

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This module builds on the material covered in EC835 Quantitative Methods for Economists. It provides an introduction to common issues and related econometric techniques relevant to the empirical evaluation and analysis of data pertinent to the fields of international business and economic development.

The module is approached in a practical way that focuses on the application and interpretation of econometric techniques to business and economic data, with less emphasis on statistical theory. This approach ensures that students gain knowledge and experience in using suitable computer software to undertake business and economic research, and to investigate and understand empirical relationships which may arise in other modules of the MSc programme and the research dissertation.

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Some of the greatest and most important books written in economics have been about the progress of nations. Some of the most distinguished economists in the world are development economists concerned with the economic progress of developing countries. Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why do some countries grow faster than others, and why have some countries got left behind? This graduate module, Growth and Development Theory, introduces you to theories of growth and development – both old and new – looking at the various influential models that have been propounded over the years from Adam Smith and other classical economists in the 18th and 19th centuries to new endogenous growth theory in the modern era. As well as aggregate models associated with the names of Smith, Ricardo, Marx, Harrod, Solow, and the 'new' growth theorists (Barro, Romer, Lucas), there are also sectorial models emphasising the role of particular factors of production or sectors of the economy, such as Arthur Lewis's famous model of economic development with unlimited supplies of labour, and Nicholas Kaldor's stress on the role of manufacturing industry based on increasing returns. We also look at centre-periphery models of growth and development associated with Gunnar Myrdal and Raul Prebisch, and constraints on growth imposed by the balance of payments and inflation.

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Business failures in the global financial sector, and the subsequent repercussions for a range of different groups, not just shareholders, have put the spotlight on the role of business and the behaviour of managers. Is business just responsible for maximising profit for its owners, or does it have responsibilities to other groups? This raises a number of difficult questions; which groups? responsible for what? And if so, how to discharge these responsibilities?

The Globalisation and Corporate Responsibility module has three main aims:

• To develop critical thought, insight and debate regarding the changing role of business in today’s society.

• To broaden your views on the role of business in society.

• To provide you with the tools, skills and knowledge to manage responsibly.

The nature of the topic is constantly changing and evolving; therefore the module will be

subject to continual refinement according to developments in industry, government and academia. Specific issues to be covered will include:

• Definitions of Corporate Responsibility

• The Role of Business and Society

• Theories of Corporate Responsibility

• Ethics Theory

• Business Ethics and Corporate Governance

• Areas of Corporate Responsibility

• Firm Level Responses

• Social Accounting

• Criticisms of Corporate Responsibility

• Social Entrepreneurship

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This research project forms a major assessed element of the course. The dissertation, which is maximum 15,000 words in length, must be on a topic relevant to the MSc in International Business, as proposed by the individual student and approved by the relevant supervisor. Students are assigned a supervisor upon submission of the dissertation proposal to topic and staff expertise. Supervision of work on the dissertation is concentrated in the second half of the academic year.

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The dissertation work is carefully structured across the whole academic year. On entry to the MSc programmes, you are made aware of the need to consider your 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. You receive guidelines on the writing of economics dissertations, and various talks and advice above the researching and writing of your dissertation. You are allocated an appropriate member of staff as dissertation supervisor.

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Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is based on a combination of coursework assignments, projects, presentations, reports and written examinations (in May). The programme is completed by a research-based dissertation of 12,000 words on an approved topic between May and September.


Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2015 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.

A postgraduate degree in the area of economics and business is a particularly valuable and flexible qualification that can open the door to exciting careers in multinational enterprises, international organisations and consultancy companies.

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.

Professional recognition

Kent Business School is a member of the European Foundation for Management Development (EMFD), CIPD, CIM and the Association of Business Schools (ABS). In addition, KBS is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA).

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The School of Economics 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.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Recent contributions include: Journal of Economics; Journal of Applied Economics; Journal of Public Economic Theory; Journal of Agricultural Economics; Journal of International Money and Finance.

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.  

Entry requirements

A good first degree (good second class honours or equivalent) in Business, Marketing, Management, or a sciences or social sciences subject, plus evidence of a good quantitative background (eg a pre-University school qualification in Maths).

This programme is not intended for students with a single or joint economics degree.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

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.

Research areas

School of Economics research areas:

  • Applied microeconomics (labour and agri-environmental)
  • Quantitative macroeconomic theory
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Economic Development

Kent Business School research areas:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Management Science
  • Marketing
  • People, Management and Organisation
  • Strategy and International Business

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the individual Schools websites:

School of Economics -

Kent Business School -


The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

International Business and Economic Development - MSc at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £10480 £18400

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

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 


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