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How much maths in MSc Economics

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    Hi everyone,

    At the moment I am really thinking hard about whether to do an MSc in Economics or not. I currently have a BA in International Business and have had done a few Economics modules during those three years. The main reasons why I want to pursue and Msc in Economics, is because I really enjoy Economics and I want to challenge myself, although it is important be realistic. I have also come across some people and read about people who have done non-economic/math related bachelors (psychology, history) and gone on to do an MSc in Economics.

    I have a few questions regarding this situation:

    • How much maths is there involved in an MSc Economics and how hard is it? I am not a super Mathematical person (got a B in GCSE with hard work.) Also if you can please express to me as % percentage how much maths in involved, it would be very appreciated.

    • I found the modules, which the University teaches: Does anyone know which ones maths related and which modules are the least difficult? (Not saying that any are easy)

    Compulsory modules are:
    1 Advanced methods for applied Economic research
    2 Microeconomics for Policy
    3 Advanced Macroeconomics

    Student will choose 3 courses out of a range of different electives.
    By choosing a certain fixed combinations of electives the student can opt for 4 areas of specialisation:

    Specialisation 1: Development Economics
    Elective Courses:
    - Microeconomics for Development
    - Globalization, Growth and Development
    - Human Development

    Specialisation 2 Economic and Social Policy
    Elective Courses:
    - The Welfare State and Health Economics
    - Labour Economics
    - Firm Behaviour and Market Structures

    Specialisation 3 International and Macroeconomic Policy
    Elective Courses:
    - Policy Coordination and Decision-making in the EU
    - Globalization, Growth and Development
    - Firm Behaviour and Market Structures

    Specialisation 4 Spatial Economics
    Elective Courses:
    - Regional and Urban Economics
    - International Environmental Economics
    - Transport Economics

    • Finally is it true that the difference between an MA and MSc is that with an Msc there is more Maths involved?

    Many many thanks!
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    It's difficult to tell which modules are easier simply from the looking at the titles - try and find a facebook group for your target uni and ask some of the members a few questions?

    It is impossible to avoid maths in economics - economics is based on models and models are founded in mathematics. There was only one module in my bachelors which didn't have maths but that was because it was on the history of economics. Most undergraduate economics courses now require maths a-level which goes to show how mathematical it is. Fortunately you only really need to know calculus and statistics though which don't take long to learn.

    MA/MSc (or even MPhil from Cambridge) is the same as BA/BSc - if there is a difference it is marginal. Sheffield used to run (may still) Economics BA for people who hadn't done a-level maths or BSc for those who had, but all took the same modules...

    Basically - don't let the maths put you off - you can do it!
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    Massive amounts of math in any Econ courses.
    You are expected to know integral and differential single and multivariate calculus, maximization, and linear algebra at a very minimum.
    You will be dealing with differential equations, real analysis and write proofs for practically everything.

    All MSc Econ modules involve advanced micro and macro, they are very mathematical and extremely difficult. I would suggest if you are "not a super Mathematical person" to stay away from any of Econ courses, except maybe the ones for people with no econ background, such as University of Bristol's MSc Economics, Management and Finance.
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    I kind of agree with janjanmm on this one. Micro, in particular, I find to basically just be applied maths! Macro also has a lot and the methods for applied economics will most probably be an econometrics course, which requires statistics as well (and I'm sure most/all students will have done econometrics at undergrad). Given that those are the compulsory courses you will definitely need maths no matter what electives you take.

    I'm surprised you say you know people with no math or eco background getting into MSc's. Did they do the 2 year courses where the first year is essentially a catch-up of the undergrad stuff?
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    It depends on the department. At top departments the courses will be rigorous and present detailed mathematical constructions of models and this requires a good understanding of mathematics, at say, the introductory real analysis level. Advanced PhD courses in econometrics may even require as far as a strong foundation is measure theory, functional analysis and advanced probability. But your average MSc courses at average universities are far from requiring this kind of sophistication. Models will be given as such and their use does not require much more than basic differentiation and integration techniques. Perhaps the only course at the masters level requiring really advanced math knowledge is mathematical economics at LSE or the Cambridge MPhil.
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    I Models will be given as such and their use does not require much more than basic differentiation and integration techniques.
    I'm not familiar with the UK high school system, but I suspect even this is well beyond what OP did in maths (assuming the GCSE maths is the highest completed so far, which it seems to be from the first post?)
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    I hold a first in Economics [BSc], but am not great at math.

    Truth be told, you need the basics of math, more specifically basics of calculus math. You will not be made to solve overly complicated mathematical equations. You need to possess analytical thinking and acute logic.

    Significant amount of statistics is involved. I struggled for a but when I started my degree, but very quickly adapted to the requirements and it has been interesting and not excruciatingly overwhelming.

    Just make sure you're applying for the right reasons be prepared to work really, really hard.
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    (Original post by Timetravelport)
    Hi everyone,

    At the moment I am really thinking hard about whether to do an MSc in Economics or not. I currently have a BA in International Business and have had done a few Economics modules during those three years. The main reasons why I want to pursue and Msc in Economics, is because I really enjoy Economics and I want to challenge myself, although it is important be realistic. I have also come across some people and read about people who have done non-economic/math related bachelors (psychology, history) and gone on to do an MSc in Economics.

    I have a few questions regarding this situation:

    • How much maths is there involved in an MSc Economics and how hard is it? I am not a super Mathematical person (got a B in GCSE with hard work.) Also if you can please express to me as % percentage how much maths in involved, it would be very appreciated.

    • I found the modules, which the University teaches: Does anyone know which ones maths related and which modules are the least difficult? (Not saying that any are easy)

    Compulsory modules are:
    1 Advanced methods for applied Economic research
    2 Microeconomics for Policy
    3 Advanced Macroeconomics

    Student will choose 3 courses out of a range of different electives.
    By choosing a certain fixed combinations of electives the student can opt for 4 areas of specialisation:

    Specialisation 1: Development Economics
    Elective Courses:
    - Microeconomics for Development
    - Globalization, Growth and Development
    - Human Development

    Specialisation 2 Economic and Social Policy
    Elective Courses:
    - The Welfare State and Health Economics
    - Labour Economics
    - Firm Behaviour and Market Structures

    Specialisation 3 International and Macroeconomic Policy
    Elective Courses:
    - Policy Coordination and Decision-making in the EU
    - Globalization, Growth and Development
    - Firm Behaviour and Market Structures

    Specialisation 4 Spatial Economics
    Elective Courses:
    - Regional and Urban Economics
    - International Environmental Economics
    - Transport Economics

    • Finally is it true that the difference between an MA and MSc is that with an Msc there is more Maths involved?

    Many many thanks!
    Consider sitting at least AS level Mathematics and you'll learn perhaps 80% of the mathematics involved for a standard economics course.

    If you take AS Maths you'll learn differentiation, integration, optimisation, maxima and minima - Basically some very important methods for determining trends on graphs which Economists do quite a bit
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    Depending on where you wanna do your MSc Economics. For university like SOAS, you only need very basic knowledge of maths and stats (GCSE level may well be sufficient).

    If you wanna do a MSc Economics at UCL, LSE, Oxbridg, you need much more than all the posters mentioned here, partiuclarly for the UCL MSc Economics, LSE Econmetric and Mathematical Economics, Cam MPhil Economic Research, and the second year of Ox MPhil.

    From the modules you gave us above, I don't think you can develop a the sufficient maths and stats background for a high calibre MSc Economics.
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    @ _Student_
    Thanks for your answer reply.
    Calculus and statistics can you perhaps give me an example or a link in which this is shown.
    Interesting that Sheffield ran or runs two undergrad Economics courses, clearly indicates one is more mathematical.

    @Janjanmmm
    Thanks for your reply.
    So it really depends on the University. I am not planning to go to a top University (top 30) but also not the lower ranked ones kind of lower mid/mid Universities.

    @ Sj27
    thanks for replying.
    I am not 100% sure I think it’s both, It also surprised me to be honest.
    I have done statistics(in the first year basic level) during my BA, also some maths in International Finance.

    @Ghost6
    thanks you for reply.
    Ok as Janjanmmm kind of pointed out it really dependents on the university.

    @Warlock
    thanks for replying.
    I will look into the basics of calculus math.

    @kidoo
    thanks for your reply.
    I will get some AS-Maths Papers and practise.

    @LalafellI
    thanks for replying.
    I am planning to go to a lower mid/mid ranked university, not the very top ones.
    Sorry but what do you mean with this
    From the modules you gave us above, I don't think you can develop a the sufficient maths and stats background for a high calibre MSc Economics.
    Does anyone have some kind of practise paper or a past paper?
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    I meant the modules you have taken/about to take will not help you in developing the maths, stats and econ capabilities in doing a high calibre MSc Economics.
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    I've just had a look at the prerequisites that Cambridge has set out for their MPhil (http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/prospect/n...ics/entry.html), and I must say judging from that there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of complicated maths involved, I fulfill all their requirements as a business student. It's addmittedly difficult to catch up in econometrics if you haven't studied any econometrics whatsoever before, but I reckon everything else is doable with a few weeks of preparation.
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    (Original post by Hank_Moody)
    I've just had a look at the prerequisites that Cambridge has set out for their MPhil (http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/prospect/n...ics/entry.html), and I must say judging from that there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of complicated maths involved, I fulfill all their requirements as a business student. It's addmittedly difficult to catch up in econometrics if you haven't studied any econometrics whatsoever before, but I reckon everything else is doable with a few weeks of preparation.
    You did multivariate calculus, Lagrange multipliers and integration as a business student? What course is that?
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    Just study from Simon & Blume "Mathematics for Economists" (the entire book)..........the thing is how can you signal to your target programmes that you have the minimum quantitative background.
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    Simon and Blume is one of the most popular texts but it is a bit outdated. In partiuclar, it does not cover topics such as dynamic programming and optimal control theory which you will encounter in the Macro of high calibre graduate economic course right from lecture 1. I would recommend "Further Mathematics for Economic Analysis" by Peter Hammond. It covers all the topics in Simon and Blume plus other essentil advanced topics.

    You will need to master vector/matrix calculus and other useful linear aglebra techniques for the metric in a high calibre graduate economic course. Thus, you should pick up a book called "Matrix analysis for statistics". Or the following book

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-...istics&f=false

    They will look at your grades and the content of the maths course you take. In the infomation era, it is very very easy to find out whether you have the right maths background (e.g. just google the title of maths units you have taken and the name of your uni).
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    (Original post by Hank_Moody)
    I've just had a look at the prerequisites that Cambridge has set out for their MPhil (http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/prospect/n...ics/entry.html), and I must say judging from that there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of complicated maths involved, I fulfill all their requirements as a business student. It's addmittedly difficult to catch up in econometrics if you haven't studied any econometrics whatsoever before, but I reckon everything else is doable with a few weeks of preparation.
    Have you covered the linear algebra to the level of "Matrix analysis of statistics" or the following book?

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-...istics&f=false
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    (Original post by Lalafell)
    Simon and Blume is one of the most popular texts but it is a bit outdated. In partiuclar, it does not cover topics such as dynamic programming and optimal control theory which you will encounter in the Macro of high calibre graduate economic course right from lecture 1. I would recommend "Further Mathematics for Economic Analysis" by Peter Hammond. It covers all the topics in Simon and Blume plus other essentil advanced topics.

    You will need to master vector/matrix calculus and other useful linear aglebra techniques for the metric in a high calibre graduate economic course. Thus, you should pick up a book called "Matrix analysis for statistics". Or the following book

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-...istics&f=false

    They will look at your grades and the content of the maths course you take. In the infomation era, it is very very easy to find out whether you have the right maths background (e.g. just google the title of maths units you have taken and the name of your uni).
    UCL website suggests to prepare with the following book:

    For the mathematics, the required textbook is Mathematics for Economists: An Introductory Textbook, 2nd edition. Malcolm Pemberton and Nick Rau.

    You may leave aside chapters 22, 23, 24, 28, 29 and 30.

    You must work through the rest of the book, solving at least the exercises for which solutions are given at the end of the book.
    Chapters 1 to 10 will most probably be familiar material.
    Chapters 11, 12, 13 and 25 cover matrix algebra and systems of linear equations, which you will need in econometrics as well as in microeconomics and macroeconomics.
    Chapters 14 and 15, on functions of several variables and implicit relations, you will need both in macroeconomics and microeconomics.
    Chapters 16, 17 and 18 deal with optimisation, which is essential again in macro and micro.
    Chapters 19 and 20 deal with integration and its role in economics.
    Chapters 21, 26 and 27 deal with dynamic optimisation, which is essential in macro. For some of you, dynamic optimisation will be new, it is particularly important that you familiarise yourselves with the concepts of these chapters.

    For the statistics, you may use the textbook Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach, 4th edition. Jeffrey Wooldridge. You should work through the appendices and then through as much of the book as you can. It is intuitive, engaging, and accessible.

    If you have a textbook that you particularly like, you may of course use it instead or in addition to the above. Make sure, however, that you cover all the relevant material prior to the start of the course.

    Former students have found this material very useful: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/economics/gradu...-list/econg100
    One can also sign in as a guest to their Moodle and see the syllabi for models and model content content:

    https://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/login/index.php
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    I think the OP needs a book "easy" to swallow first since he says he is not a mathematical man.
    Simon is easy to read, an perhaps Matrix Algebra by Abadir and Magnus (recommended by a Phd frm Chicago).
    For Optimal Control Theory read "Robustness", excellent book.
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    Many thanks to everyone who has contributed so far really has been a big help, I have made notes of the book titles adviced.

    @ Econla
    Exactly I really would like an easy book, which really starts from the basics and builds up.
    The plus side is that I have a lot of time until till the start date, and will start preparing after 3/4 weeks when I have made a finally decision.
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    (Original post by Timetravelport)
    Many thanks to everyone who has contributed so far really has been a big help, I have made notes of the book titles adviced.

    @ Econla
    Exactly I really would like an easy book, which really starts from the basics and builds up.
    The plus side is that I have a lot of time until till the start date, and will start preparing after 3/4 weeks when I have made a finally decision.
    Pemberton and Rau is an easy enough book, it starts from pre-calculus. If this is still too challenging for you, I really do not think you should go into Economics.

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