Taught course

Political Economy

University of Essex · Department of Government

Entry requirements

A high 2.2 honours degree or equivalent in relevant subject area.

MA, MSc and MRes

Months of entry


Course content

Over the last three decades, political economy has been one of the fastest growing approaches in the social sciences. It is broadly understood as the analysis of policies and institutions based on a solid understanding of the motives of governments, voters, lobbies, corporations and so on.

Our MA/MSc Political Economy covers all aspects of modern political economy, including market failure, the political logic of policy choices, and the trade-off between different political goals. If you are interested in how institutions shape the behaviour of political actors and how political decisions influence markets and vice versa, then you will profit from our course. It is also a good choice if you wish to maintain the flexibility of pursuing a career at an international organisation, a government organisation, a private enterprise or as a political consultant.

Our Department of Government is one of the largest and most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are the only political science department to have achieved the highest rating in all five UK Research Assessment Exercises (RAE), with 45 per cent of our research was ranked as 'world-leading' in the most recent RAE (December 2008).

Our staff distinguish themselves in various ways; by acting as media commentators, by writing textbooks used by students across the world and with involvement in practical training. In addition, our students have access to academic staff and a constant flow of distinguished visiting scholars from abroad. Our research interests are wide ranging but we host the British Election Study, a major Economic and Social Research Council-sponsored survey of attitudes and opinions of the British electorate, with other significant research projects studying foreign policy attitudes, corruption, and civil wars and peacekeeping.

Information for international students

IELTS 6.5.

Fees and funding

This course has ESRC Doctoral Training Centre accreditation, meaning it can form part of a 1+3 funding opportunity worth up to £18,000 each for talented postgraduates. The University is one of only 21 ESRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. Some University of Essex studentships also available.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations37
Written coursework / continuous assessment37
Dissertation26 (10000 words)

Course contact details

Graduate Administrator
+44 (0)1206 872719