Case study

Introducing MSc Economics and Data Science — The University of Manchester

Studying a degree that combines economics and data science can prepare you for a career as an economic data analyst in government, central banks, the private sector or academia. Ralf Becker, professor of economics and deputy head of department at The University of Manchester explains more

What does the MSc at The University of Manchester involve?

You'll do some further micro and macroeconomic studies following on from what you learned in your undergraduate degree. You'll also get a detailed coverage of econometric and data sciences techniques through specific units.

As well as working in pairs and groups, we will also help you individually to understand what skills you need to be successful in a career in econometrics or data science after you graduate.

We will also cover some trickier issues of data science, like whether the selective way in which data is collected will impose any bias on the results your methods will produce. So, we will also try to highlight the pitfalls of data science.

What are the course's unique selling points?

You can master an emerging field which is seeing increasing demand from the world's top employers. A unique feature of this programme is that we will have a yearlong unit, which is basically only there to support you in your coding skills.

You'll receive hands-on training in computer-programming skills and analysing statistical models to prepare for a career as an economic data analyst in government, central banks, the private sector or academia.

Our students will learn R and Python, because these are both very popular coding languages used in a variety of institutions. So, we will have a focus on students learning those languages, but we will also focus on students learning them together in a group because working as a team is an extremely important aspect of being employed as an empirical economist after your degree.

Along the way, you will also get practical pieces of knowledge such as how to develop, maintain and share code files on GitHub.

What type of student would suit this course?

Students who have a keen interest and significant experience in economics or another quantitative subject, such as mathematics, physics or computer science, would suit this programme. A solid background in a statistical programming language such as R, Python, Julia or MATLAB will also be beneficial for prospective students.

Could you tell us about the guest speakers you bring in?

We want our students to have a deep understanding of the real-life problems they will have to tackle once they graduate. For this purpose, we intend to have regular guest speakers from industry or government institutions or charities, such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS), HM Treasury, the Bank of England (BoE) and private sector companies. These speakers will present the type of problems they are facing and their use of data to answer such problems.

How does the course help students become employable?

You could find jobs in institutions such as the BoE, ONS, or international institutions. We also think that the coding and communication skills you'll develop on this programme will be very popular in private industry companies like Google and Meta.

These are companies that employ a lot of data scientists, and importantly all of these companies require the particular skills you will develop as an economist on this programme, which will differentiate you from being just a data scientist.

We will also help you to develop communication skills. While it's important to be able to communicate with your colleagues who are equally knowledgeable in economics and the technical aspects, we'll also help you to communicate with economists who don't have any special knowledge.  

What advice do you have for anyone considering the course?

I would advise you to be clear about why you want to study this programme. You should have lots of questions in your mind, which you want this programme to help you answer.

As you come to university, dive deeply into whatever we help you to learn, but never forget that bigger picture of why you are here and why you want to learn that.

When you're studying this programme, use all the resources you have, talk to your colleagues, your fellow students, your teaching staff, to help get answers to your questions.

If you are someone who wants to learn more about the econometrics and data science field, I think economics is a fantastic choice.

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page