Masters in Economics without a Bachelor in Economics? Watch

milkyway999
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Hi guys,

I'm currently an undergraduate Physics student in Imperial College London, but I am planning to pursue a Masters in Economics after I graduate.

I was wondering if it is possible to pursue a 1-year MSc Economics anywhere, instead of having to do the 2-year programme? Most websites state that "a relevant degree" is required, but I have no idea what they define as relevant. As a theoretical physicist, my course emphasizes strongly on Mathematics. I also have A level background in Economics, and intend to take a Managerial Economics module in my final year.

Many thanks.
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sj27
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(Original post by Kirboz)
My advice is highly cursory, but regardless:

Your best bet is to directly liaise with the postgraduate admissions teams of the universities to which you intend to apply. Ostensibly, it depends on the degree title, but I know of numerous examples of people progressing onto a PG in a field in which they had no direct academic experience, but was vicariously related to their UG.
Economics can be somewhat different though, for example some unis specificslly require you to have done say intermediate macro, micro and econometrics. The quantitative background will be helpful but can not replace assumed knowlegde of economics. OP, I think you will have to contact the unis, but I suspect most of them, or at least most of the top ones anyway, will point you to the two year option.
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.ACS.
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(Original post by milkyway999)
Hi guys,

I'm currently an undergraduate Physics student in Imperial College London, but I am planning to pursue a Masters in Economics after I graduate.

I was wondering if it is possible to pursue a 1-year MSc Economics anywhere, instead of having to do the 2-year programme? Most websites state that "a relevant degree" is required, but I have no idea what they define as relevant. As a theoretical physicist, my course emphasizes strongly on Mathematics. I also have A level background in Economics, and intend to take a Managerial Economics module in my final year.

Many thanks.
What grade are you expecting to achieve in your Physics degree?

There was a person exactly like you on TSR a few years back. They were accepted onto the Oxford two year programme and the UCL one year MSc Economics programme. They were expecting a good First in their Physics degree at Imperial.
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.ACS.
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Here is the relevant thread:

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...rial%20physics
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milkyway999
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Thanks for the replies!

I'm on track for a good first.

I understand that knowledge of economics is a prerequisite. However, I'm unsure as to the amount of background knowledge required. Like I said, I did Economics in A levels, which covered micro and macro economics. Also, the module on Managerial Economics I intend to take covers the following:

COURSE OBJECTIVES
(i) Knowledge
• the theory of the firm
• input choice with fixed output level
• production relations
• nature and theory of cost
• models of revenue
• profit maximisation
• market structure
• oligopolistic decision making
• capital investment
game theory

(ii) Skills
The course will facilitate the students’ development of:
• conceptual skills in an economic context
• quantitative skills in an economic context
• critical reasoning skills
I understand that A levels and one module on Economics is hardly sufficient to make up for the knowledge one can learn from a full-time degree in Economics. However, if i take the said module, and do some readings on my own perhaps, is there any chance for acceptance by a good economics school?

Much thanks.
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sj27
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I think there's no one size fits all answer, and you'll have to do it on a uni by uni basis. ACS gave you a the example of UCL where it looks like you can do it ( Oxford is two years).
Cambridge is unlikely - see "prerequisites" here http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/prospect/n...ics/entry.html
LSE would direct you to doing its two-year course.
I think most would require either a PGDip first or their own two year option, unfortunately. And especially top unis are unlikely to take reading on your own as a substitute for an examined uni course. But I also think, to be honest, to get the most out of the course you need to do it properly and a two year course in your circumstances would be the better route, in my opinion.

Alternatively, you would probably have a much better chance of getting onto a one-year MSc in Finance, if you don't completely have your heart set on economics.
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milkyway999
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Thank you sj27!

It appears that only UCL offers a 1-year MSc Economics programme to non-economists then.

Please don't mind if i sidetrack, but can i also ask about the quality of the MSc Economics programme from UCL? From what I've gathered, it has one of the strongest economics department in UK, only trailing behind LSE and Oxbridge. I also read that they are only good in Microeconomics, but almost non-existent in Macroeconomics (with Warwick being the better one in that area).

Could someone kindly enlighten me if what I've gathered is right/wrong, or provide some advice about UCL's Msc Economics?

Much thanks.
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sj27
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I have no personal experience with UCL but have heard pretty much what you describe.
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lego
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(Original post by sj27)
Alternatively, you would probably have a much better chance of getting onto a one-year MSc in Finance, if you don't completely have your heart set on economics.
This. Don't make your life harder than it is. Apply for MSc Finance instead. With a good 1st in Physics from Imperial aim for Oxford MFE, Cambridge MPhil Finance and LSE MSc Finance.
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milkyway999
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(Original post by lego)
This. Don't make your life harder than it is. Apply for MSc Finance instead. With a good 1st in Physics from Imperial aim for Oxford MFE, Cambridge MPhil Finance and LSE MSc Finance.
Thanks for the advice. I'm more inclined toward Economics. Besides, Cambridge's MPhil Finance and Economics require an undergraduate degree in Economics as well.
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sj27
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(Original post by milkyway999)
Thanks for the advice. I'm more inclined toward Economics. Besides, Cambridge's MPhil Finance and Economics require an undergraduate degree in Economics as well.
He mentioned MPhil Finance, not F&E - they are different courses.

If you're that interested in economics, why the rush? An extra year in the big scheme of things is not a long time if it results you in you doing something you really want to do. If finances are an issue that's a bit more understandable. But you'll be hanging your hat on the chance one uni will actually accept you if you decide to apply for UCL and no others.
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mohamed17
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What is your career goal? I think you should do finance msc if you plan to go into banking/IB etc. If you truly want to be an economist or something very related to economics ie phd/academics then do economics. You must remember economics is harder than finance however its better to do finance if you want to go into banking. But I can understand you doing economics if you have a very pacific career route which really needs economics. If its purely interest then remember its going to be very hard nothing like A level which is a piece of cake.

Secondly I think you shouldn't rush things in the sense a 1st from imperial followed by oxbridge education is one hell of a cv that would get you into any job and any phd. Also I pretty sure oxford for economics was pretty cheap so it is affordable. Think longterm not short term you will be glad if you choose the oxbridge education in the long term. Also a MSC in econ over year with no econometric/macro background will be challenging.
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milkyway999
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I am still unsure of my career goal as of now. I chose to study Physics because I am genuinely passionate in Physics. However, I am still unsure if I will eventually enter the private industry. I prefer Economics because I thought studying Finance will limit me to the banking industry, whereas a MSc in Economics opens up more doors.

As for the length of the course, I aim to keep my financial expenses to the minimum. Also, 5 years of consecutive studies seem a bit long.

A MSc from Oxbridge will look impressive on the CV, but will one from a non-Oxbridge/LSE school such as UCL set me back much?

Your replies and advice are much appreciated!
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lego
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Well, UCL or any other top 10 university won't set you back for sure. You will still have your BSc. A 1st in Physics from Imperial is as good of a 'this guy is smart' sign as it gets. But I still don't see how any respectable straight MSc Economics course would admit you, because in MSc Economics you study advanced Micro/Macro/Econometrics and with a degree in Physics you don't know the fundamentals. The gap between A-levels and MSc is just too big.
A masters in finance will not limit your options if you are looking for a non-physics related job . People from the programs I mentioned before go on to join consultancy firms, investment banks, asset managers, big4, corporate jobs, academia, etc. If you are trying to limit your expenses definitely look into the MPhil in Finance at Cambridge. They really like people with science degrees and the course is relatively cheap. If you really want to study economics and you are unsure if you want to join the private sector then, in my opinion, the way to do it is to go for a PhD in Economics. But for that I think most universities would want a MSc (not necessirily in Economics, any quantitative subject). Go for a MSc in Physics in Oxbridge/Imperial (at least they are cheaper), PhD in Economics at an Ivy and the world is yours
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milkyway999
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(Original post by lego)
Well, UCL or any other top 10 university won't set you back for sure. You will still have your BSc. A 1st in Physics from Imperial is as good of a 'this guy is smart' sign as it gets. But I still don't see how any respectable straight MSc Economics course would admit you, because in MSc Economics you study advanced Micro/Macro/Econometrics and with a degree in Physics you don't know the fundamentals. The gap between A-levels and MSc is just too big.
A masters in finance will not limit your options if you are looking for a non-physics related job . People from the programs I mentioned before go on to join consultancy firms, investment banks, asset managers, big4, corporate jobs, academia, etc. If you are trying to limit your expenses definitely look into the MPhil in Finance at Cambridge. They really like people with science degrees and the course is relatively cheap. If you really want to study economics and you are unsure if you want to join the private sector then, in my opinion, the way to do it is to go for a PhD in Economics. But for that I think most universities would want a MSc (not necessirily in Economics, any quantitative subject). Go for a MSc in Physics in Oxbridge/Imperial (at least they are cheaper), PhD in Economics at an Ivy and the world is yours
Hmm MPhil in Finance indeed sounds like a better option. (Although a PhD in Economics at an Ivy is probably gonna cost a bomb )
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lego
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Nah. You get paid to do a PhD. Less than investment bankers but still a liveable wage. Here at LSE they get about 20-23k from various sources within the university (teaching classes, faculty funding, etc) and some get outside funding too. Some do internships during the PhD, which pay too. For example, one of my seminars leaders did an internship at the IMF, which I suppose pays very well. If you get accepted into a good PhD program money will not be a big issue. You won't be rich, but you will do all right.
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sj27
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(Original post by milkyway999)
Hmm MPhil in Finance indeed sounds like a better option. (Although a PhD in Economics at an Ivy is probably gonna cost a bomb )
A PhD at an Ivy will cost you airfare, blood sweat and tears. The rest they will pay. If you're willing to spend 5 years doing it (and you can apply straight from undergrad, they are effectively the same as a UK masters and PhD rolled into one) it may be worth investigating. Competition for places is intense, but if you get in to a PhD at a top US uni you're almost certain to be fully funded. I think some will take quantitative undergrads without economics.

MPhil Finance is (I think) the most competitive course to get into at Cam, but you sound like you have a competitive background.... Certainly with a shot if you ask me.
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mohamed17
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1) I know it may seem msc finance would pigeon hole you more than msc economics but i think its the opposite. Finance you can do research and anything in financial sector +government stuff. Econ you can probably do all of above but its not as directly relevant better for academia.

2) Also I think mphil finance at cambridge is they best course in country in that subject and before I get haters disagreeing this is why. The name + cheap price(under 8k) +quality of candidates (as their not only the rich applying) makes it pound for pound the best course. It could easily charge 28k like lse and warwick and still fill the course. The fact that they don't means that the quality of people is pretty amazing.

3) Also you would have a good chance to get in as you come from a well respected discipline and a top uni.
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judas11
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Id say that as long as you come from a strong background of mathematics and statistics you would be able to complete an MSc program at any of the top places. A strong physics degree from Imperial would probably be given serious consideration. There are a few people on my program who have come from either a mathematics and statistics background or an Engineering background who have coped very well with the economic content. MSc Economics core modules are highly mathematical/logical and although they move quickly through the content they are pretty comprehensive (for example Microeconomics courses start at the beginning and allow those who are unfamiliar with economics to see all the content students on undergrad courses would already be familiar with).

As far as im aware UCL are very strong in Micro and Econometrics. They have some prominent macro guys but not too many- they are actively recruiting more macro economists in the department.

Best thing to do is to email and ask the departments directly
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milkyway999
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(Original post by judas11)
Id say that as long as you come from a strong background of mathematics and statistics you would be able to complete an MSc program at any of the top places. A strong physics degree from Imperial would probably be given serious consideration. There are a few people on my program who have come from either a mathematics and statistics background or an Engineering background who have coped very well with the economic content. MSc Economics core modules are highly mathematical/logical and although they move quickly through the content they are pretty comprehensive (for example Microeconomics courses start at the beginning and allow those who are unfamiliar with economics to see all the content students on undergrad courses would already be familiar with).

As far as im aware UCL are very strong in Micro and Econometrics. They have some prominent macro guys but not too many- they are actively recruiting more macro economists in the department.

Best thing to do is to email and ask the departments directly
Hi, may i know which program and from which school are you currently on?
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