Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics



Panoramic View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill



The Scottish Graduate Programme combines the research and teaching expertise of the eight established Scottish Universities (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Herriot-Watt, St. Andrews, Stirling, Dundee, Aberdeen and Strathclyde) to provide graduate students with a high quality and thorough training in economics and to furnish them with all the skills of the modern professional economist. The Scottish Graduate Programme comprises a MSc (Masters) course taken at the University of Edinburgh and optionally three years further study towards a PhD (Doctorate) at any of the participating universities.

The Masters course, which lasts for one year if taken full-time but two years if taken part time, leads to the award of MSc in Economics or MSc in Economics (Finance). Physically located within the beautiful and historic city of Edinburgh, the course provides students with a thorough grounding in modern economic analysis. At the end of this first year, students sit nine examinations and write a long essay in order to obtain the MSc degree. The Masters course also forms the compulsory year of coursework and research training for the doctoral component. All students intending to study for the PhD are required to take the Masters course in their first year, and be examined on the same basis as those studying for the MSc. In order to proceed to doctoral component, students must obtain a good pass in the MSc examinations.


The Benefits of the Scottish Graduate Programme

As a cohesive group, with common lectures and seminars, students on the MSc year of the Programme develop together and make lasting friendships, enhancing effective social and life skills and learning to work with and help each other. The MSc year at Edinburgh University also introduces the students to the Scottish economic community, encouraging attendance at academic seminars, industry presentations, (by the Royal Economic Society, Scottish Economic Society and Royal Bank of Scotland) and the Weekend Methodology Conference. This opportunity to meet and talk with professional economists and academics provides the students with lasting links, enables them to develop a feel for the profession and helps them form their likely career preferences. By drawing on teaching expertise from eight Universities, students are guaranteed to be lectured by experts in each respective field. An additional advantage of such a large pool of teaching talent is the broad range of electives that MSc students are able to choose from. The programme is also enriched via its close associations with Scotecon, a SHEFC funded Scottish economic policy research unit, the Scottish Economic Society which provides three scholarships for Scottish based PhD students and with Bicocca University, Milan whose Department of Economics provides both teaching inputs in the form of visiting lecturers and students to the MSc Programme. (See People and Partners).

Students continuing to the PhD phase of the Programme may select a supervisor (and study location) from any one of the participating Departments. The pooling of resources across all of the participating Scottish Universities in this way, means that a wide range of doctoral research interests can be accommodated.

Life on the MSc at the University of Edinburgh

For the duration of the MSc course, students are registered at the University of Edinburgh and so become members of the Scottish academic community. The University of Edinburgh, which was founded in 1583 and is now one of the largest academic institutions in Britain has some 700 students on taught post-graduate courses in Social Sciences, and about 270 studying for research degrees.

As well as being Scotland's capital, Edinburgh is also its greatest tourist attraction (2nd in the UK after London). Edinburgh has easy access to the rest of Scotland, including the spectacular scenery of the Highlands to the north. It is an extremely lively and stimulating city and has the world's largest annual arts festival and most spectacular New Year celebrations. The main campus is situated on the south side of the city centre, in the Old Town, surrounded by parks and superb cafes and restaurants. The liberal Scottish licensing laws make it possible to unwind, relax and socialise with people from across the world. The many historical sites, museums and Edinburgh Castle are within easy walking distance. The city centre is compact, offering theatres, great cinemas and galleries close by.

The Masters degree is a demanding and challenging course, yet with close interactions among students and staff, support is close at hand. The workload is continuous but manageable. The mathematics component is thorough and supported by a weekly help-desk, which has been well utilised by past students and is seen as a valuable resource. An exciting new development has been the recent establishing of a "virtual learning environment" for the MSc course using the new WebCT software. Now, students and teaching staff may log on to the WebCT site from anywhere in the world and download lecture notes and read news posted by lecturers about their courses. Very soon the facility will be extended to allow students to post FAQ and join a lecturer hosted chat room. Current students find the WebCT site of enormous benefit to their course study.

Nearly all the teaching is physically located in Old College, a historic building which provides an excellent modern learning and study environment. MSc students also have 24-hour access to a dedicated graduate computing laboratory within the nearby William Robertson Building. There are a number of other computing and study facilities on campus and a comprehensive library of economics texts that serves the Programme's specific requirements is readily available.

The course structure provides students with approximately 12 contact hours per week consisting of a mix of lectures and tutorials. Students are also invited and encouraged to attend the weekly departmental workshops where members of the Programme present their current research. This provides a valuable forum for students to develop an overview of the various strands of economics and to approach the researchers. A further weekly seminar programme of external academics from across Britain and Europe is held also, with similar aims.

International Students

Edinburgh attracts thousands of international students every year; in 2000/1 there were 3,600 overseas students drawn from 120 countries. The Programme's MSc year is similarly cosmopolitan. For example in 2002/3 30% of the students came from Asia (mainly, but not exclusively, China), 30% from the UK, 30% from the EU and 10% from North America. This leads to a lively and diverse student mix, and meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures is a major advantage of studying at Edinburgh that will last far beyond the time spent at University. Anyone who is considering applying to the programme from outside the UK but is unsure if they have the appropriate qualifications is invited to contact the Programme Director, Andy Snell who will be pleased to discuss their application.

Disabled Students

The University and the Programme warmly encourage enquiries from prospective students who are disabled, and aim to create an environment which enables disabled students to participate fully in the mainstream of University life. The Disability Office will be happy to provide more detailed information, answer questions about facilities in individual departments, and arrange for potential students to visit the University and see the available facilities. For more information and contact details visit

Accommodation in Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh offers a central accommodation serviceoffice to all students, situated at Pollock Halls. They provide post-graduate halls of residence at Richmond Place, 2 minutes walk from the university main campus, as well as Mylnes Court on the Royal Mile, 10 minutes to the main campus. This historic court houses roughly 200 post-graduates and offers excellent social excursions and events throughout Scotland, as well as free weekly cultural food and drinks evenings. There are TV/Video common rooms and 24 hour computing facilities. In addition, a number of university-owned flats are offered, as well as advice and advertisements on finding privately rented properties and letting agencies. (See accomodation)

Quotes from former students

"Since finishing the MSc in Economics, 2001, I have started working as a research fellow with the Scottish Economic Policy Network, based at the University of Stirling. The most valuable aspect of the course for me was being taught by different academics from across Scotland, each specialising in a particular field, giving me many contacts within the economics profession."

Gregor Jack

"For me, the Masters Degree was an essential step in order to obtain the necessary tools and skills with which to commence my PhD. I was able to gain expertise in my chosen field by selecting the Health Economics option course, taught by lecturers from three of the partner universities. Although a rigorous year, the Masters was a great challenge and source of growth and through it, I have made both close friends and valuable contacts within the economics profession."

S. Claire Wainwright