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UCL MSc finance vs MSc Economics

Why is MSc finance at UCL £38,000 funding fees and for MSc Economics £25,000 funding fees. Is finance more sought by employers and does the difference,very high difference justify it? Is it more likely to land me a job?
Original post by Random_user45
Why is MSc finance at UCL £38,000 funding fees and for MSc Economics £25,000 funding fees. Is finance more sought by employers and does the difference,very high difference justify it? Is it more likely to land me a job?

Not at all - I believe the former is a more popular course hence why they charge higher fees as they do have a higher uptake, I would suggest you opt for a course which is more suited towards your area of interest.
Original post by ilovemath1
Not at all - I believe the former is a more popular course hence why they charge higher fees as they do have a higher uptake, I would suggest you opt for a course which is more suited towards your area of interest.

Thank you very much! :smile:
Tbh, I hate maths haha 😂😭. So I think I would be better suited to economics, the finance course is even more heavily focused on maths. Hopefully I'll apply this year for the economic masters degree.
Original post by ilovemath1
Not at all - I believe the former is a more popular course hence why they charge higher fees as they do have a higher uptake, I would suggest you opt for a course which is more suited towards your area of interest.

This actually generally isn't the reason. The actual reason is the careers that the different master's lead to.

MSc Finance courses lead to banks and hence high graduate salaries. MSc Economics courses can lead to that but generally if you want to do postgrad economics, you don't want to be an investment banker as you can do that without a master's. So MSc Economics grads tend to go into things like economic consulting, central banks, government, think tanks and some finance roles - these all pay a lot, but a fair bit less than most top tier finance roles.

Therefore UCL knows that grads from its finance course will likely earn vast grad salaries meaning they are more willing to forgo a high sum in the short-run for larger returns in the long-run. With MSc Economics general role salaries it wouldn't be worth doing a 38k MSc hence why they can't price it like that, it has to be cheaper.

There are also competitive aspects. Finance master's are priced similarly at UCL's competitors (e.g. LSE, Imperial, Cambridge, Warwick, etc). Whereas generally economics master's are cheaper as explained earlier and UCL's MSc Economics is a very similar price to the MSc Economics courses at Cambridge, Warwick for example, so it's not surprising you see the MSc Economics course price converge at a lower price than their MSc Finance.

I also would be careful when picking UCL's MSc Economics if you hate maths. UCL aren't amazing for finance but they are very good for economics so I'm sure you'd still find the course very challenging, I doubt many don't.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by BenRyan99
This actually generally isn't the reason. The actual reason is the careers that the different master's lead to.

MSc Finance courses lead to banks and hence high graduate salaries. MSc Economics courses can lead to that but generally if you want to do postgrad economics, you don't want to be an investment banker as you can do that without a master's. So MSc Economics grads tend to go into things like economic consulting, central banks, government, think tanks and some finance roles - these all pay a lot, but a fair bit less than most top tier finance roles.

Therefore UCL knows that grads from its finance course will likely earn vast grad salaries meaning they are more willing to forgo a high sum in the short-run for larger returns in the long-run. With MSc Economics general role salaries it wouldn't be worth doing a 38k MSc hence why they can't price it like that, it has to be cheaper.

There are also competitive aspects. Finance master's are priced similarly at UCL's competitors (e.g. LSE, Imperial, Cambridge, Warwick, etc). Whereas generally economics master's are cheaper as explained earlier and UCL's MSc Economics is a very similar price to the MSc Economics courses at Cambridge, Warwick for example, so it's not surprising you see the MSc Economics course price converge at a lower price than their MSc Finance.

I also would be careful when picking UCL's MSc Economics if you hate maths. UCL aren't amazing for finance but they are very good for economics so I'm sure you'd still find the course very challenging, I doubt many don't.



Thank you. I thought that. It's quite a lot haha and I'm scared I won't be able to pass the course.

Do you know much about the MSc Economics course at UCL? I dread maths, but the basic things I can do, like optimisation, integration, matrices, differentiation but my maths is very limited anything more than that I find challenging, such as the maths needed for long-term growth in macro, dynamic equations ect...

I don't know, I really want to do it but I'm scared it'll be a waste of money if I fail 😭😭😭
Original post by Random_user45
Thank you. I thought that. It's quite a lot haha and I'm scared I won't be able to pass the course.

Do you know much about the MSc Economics course at UCL? I dread maths, but the basic things I can do, like optimisation, integration, matrices, differentiation but my maths is very limited anything more than that I find challenging, such as the maths needed for long-term growth in macro, dynamic equations ect...

I don't know, I really want to do it but I'm scared it'll be a waste of money if I fail 😭😭😭

Considering at undergraduate they have a preference(?) for people with FM, I doubt that the natural progression onto Masters level would have less or easier maths. I'd wager it still be very hard!

You'd undoubtedly be doing Econometrics, which is quite hard. But I don't believe you're assumed to have done it before? I'm at York, and I do Economics & Econometrics, and one of my modules next year (3rd year) is a shared module between the undergrads and Masters Economics students.

You'll be doing Advanced Microeconomics and Advanced Macroeconomics, which both contain a lot of maths. Macroeconomics probably some harder maths, if my undergrad year 3 papers are anything to go off, so UCL would probably follow a similar/more detailed fashion, as they're a better school for Economics.
Original post by econhelp525
Considering at undergraduate they have a preference(?) for people with FM, I doubt that the natural progression onto Masters level would have less or easier maths. I'd wager it still be very hard!

You'd undoubtedly be doing Econometrics, which is quite hard. But I don't believe you're assumed to have done it before? I'm at York, and I do Economics & Econometrics, and one of my modules next year (3rd year) is a shared module between the undergrads and Masters Economics students.

You'll be doing Advanced Microeconomics and Advanced Macroeconomics, which both contain a lot of maths. Macroeconomics probably some harder maths, if my undergrad year 3 papers are anything to go off, so UCL would probably follow a similar/more detailed fashion, as they're a better school for Economics.

My university is very low ranked and entry requirements didn't even require A level maths.

I've done some econometrics in 2nd year, this was time series, panel data and cross sectional, also used STATA. I've also done some statistics but that's about it.

I don't think I'm cut out for it 😭 I don't know, maybe it's too much for me
Original post by Random_user45
My university is very low ranked and entry requirements didn't even require A level maths.

I've done some econometrics in 2nd year, this was time series, panel data and cross sectional, also used STATA. I've also done some statistics but that's about it.

I don't think I'm cut out for it 😭 I don't know, maybe it's too much for me

What did you do in Econometrics? It almost sounds like basic economic data analysis.

I covered, this term econometric theory, so: distributions, multivariate distributions, matrix algebra, MLE, mgf, consistency, limits, etc. Are these things you've covered?

I know that at my University, Macroeconomics III (which is undergrad 3rd year) contains dynamic modelling of macroeconomic models (so looking at stability, uniqueness, etc.). Have you covered this? I would only assume that it gets harder at Masters level.

A fluency in calculus and linear algebra would certainly be required, especially for UCL.
Original post by Random_user45
Thank you. I thought that. It's quite a lot haha and I'm scared I won't be able to pass the course.

Do you know much about the MSc Economics course at UCL? I dread maths, but the basic things I can do, like optimisation, integration, matrices, differentiation but my maths is very limited anything more than that I find challenging, such as the maths needed for long-term growth in macro, dynamic equations ect...

I don't know, I really want to do it but I'm scared it'll be a waste of money if I fail 😭😭😭

You guys could make your lives easier and simply look at what UCL's MSc Economics course states you should know before starting the core modules, which I've kindly provided a link to here.

It's worth noting that every proper MSc Economics course provides a few weeks of pre-sessional maths & stats classes before you core semester 1 modules start, so you don't need to know everything before starting. But most revise the topics they've covered at UG level and try to learn the ones they didn't, over the summer before starting the MSc, then the pre-sessional courses can be used as revision or to fill in small gaps. It's not intended to teach you lots of new things.

I undertook a somewhat similar master's as this one at UCL but mine was a little more quantitative in nature so I can't provide a perfect image of what it will be like.

However, I found macro to have the hardest maths, you're assumed to have working knowledge of things like differential equations, optimal control theory and dynamic programming, as well as Lagrangians but they're more basic. It sort of depends on how the macro course is taught, if it's discrete time macro then you tend to use Lagrangians, if it's continuous time like mine was then you tend to use optimal control, Hamiltonians and bellman equations. Personally the economic growth section of my course was continuous time whereas the business cycle half was discrete time so was easier. Hard to tell what UCL does. Personally I found economic growth theory the hardest bit of my master's, I've seen too many Euler equations and balanced growth paths for a lifetime at this point 😅.

The econometrics courses at good MSc Economics courses like UCL's will be taught all in matrix algebra. It sounds daunting but you get used to it after a while and now I actually find it easier. You'll cover things you've already done at UG but in much more depth and it'll be more theoretical and proof based. So you'll do things like OLS, asymptotic theory (proofs of CLT and LLN), you'll also probably cover some more advanced material on discrete choice models, GLM, GLS, IV and GMM. You'll also likely do some time-series like MA, AR and ARMA processes but UCL is more microeconomics and microeconometrics focused so I doubt you'll do a tonne of time-series in the core econometrics module, although you can take more as a semester 2 optional if you want.

In micro you'll likely do most of the the usual topics that solid solid MSc Economics micro modules teach so consumer and producer theory but at MSc level there's much more emphasis on game theory and information economics. So you'll likely do things like Bayesian games, adverse selection, moral hazard, mechanism design and auction theory. If you've covered any of these at UG level then the treatment at MSc level will be more rigorous.

So the maths is hard in a good MSc Economics course but it's definitely doable if you're willing to put the time in. It can be a bit baffling for the first few weeks and you doubt you decision to do a master's but then often it's just the same thing popping up with slightly different variants so once you crack things like differential equations, Hamiltonians etc, then the rest is fairly simple algebra in macro. And then the maths in econometrics and micro isn't very hard if you know basic differentiation and matrix algebra, it's more about logic and intuition than mathematical ability. So I think the decision of whether to do an MSc Economics should be very dependent on the career path you wish to pursue and I wouldn't recommend doing one if you don't know what you wanna do after yet. MSc Economics courses lead to fairly specific careers that are generally more concentrated than undergrad economics which is more general
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by BenRyan99
You guys could make your lives easier and simply look at what UCL's MSc Economics course states you should know before starting the core modules, which I've kindly provided a link to here.

It's worth noting that every proper MSc Economics course provides a few weeks of pre-sessional maths & stats classes before you core semester 1 modules start, so you don't need to know everything before starting. But most revise the topics they've covered at UG level and try to learn the ones they didn't, over the summer before starting the MSc, then the pre-sessional courses can be used as revision or to fill in small gaps. It's not intended to teach you lots of new things.

I undertook a somewhat similar master's as this one at UCL but mine was a little more quantitative in nature so I can't provide a perfect image of what it will be like.

However, I found macro to have the hardest maths, you're assumed to have working knowledge of things like differential equations, optimal control theory and dynamic programming, as well as Lagrangians but they're more basic. It sort of depends on how the macro course is taught, if it's discrete time macro then you tend to use Lagrangians, if it's continuous time like mine was then you tend to use optimal control, Hamiltonians and bellman equations. Personally the economic growth section of my course was continuous time whereas the business cycle half was discrete time so was easier. Hard to tell what UCL does. Personally I found economic growth theory the hardest bit of my master's, I've seen too many Euler equations and balanced growth paths for a lifetime at this point 😅.

The econometrics courses at good MSc Economics courses like UCL's will be taught all in matrix algebra. It sounds daunting but you get used to it after a while and now I actually find it easier. You'll cover things you've already done at UG but in much more depth and it'll be more theoretical and proof based. So you'll do things like OLS, asymptotic theory (proofs of CLT and LLN), you'll also probably cover some more advanced material on discrete choice models, GLM, GLS, IV and GMM. You'll also likely do some time-series like MA, AR and ARMA processes but UCL is more microeconomics and microeconometrics focused so I doubt you'll do a tonne of time-series in the core econometrics module, although you can take more as a semester 2 optional if you want.

In micro you'll likely do most of the the usual topics that solid solid MSc Economics micro modules teach so consumer and producer theory but at MSc level there's much more emphasis on game theory and information economics. So you'll likely do things like Bayesian games, adverse selection, moral hazard, mechanism design and auction theory. If you've covered any of these at UG level then the treatment at MSc level will be more rigorous.

So the maths is hard in a good MSc Economics course but it's definitely doable if you're willing to put the time in. It can be a bit baffling for the first few weeks and you doubt you decision to do a master's but then often it's just the same thing popping up with slightly different variants so once you crack things like differential equations, Hamiltonians etc, then the rest is fairly simple algebra in macro. And then the maths in econometrics and micro isn't very hard if you know basic differentiation and matrix algebra, it's more about logic and intuition than mathematical ability. So I think the decision of whether to do an MSc Economics should be very dependent on the career path you wish to pursue and I wouldn't recommend doing one if you don't know what you wanna do after yet. MSc Economics courses lead to fairly specific careers that are generally more concentrated than undergrad economics which is more general


Hey Ben, sorry to piggyback but you seem to know a lot about a lot lol. Are you familiar with MSc Economics, Finance and Management from Bristol? Thinking of coming from Australia to do it to boost my employment prospects in the UK.
Original post by AussieGang
Hey Ben, sorry to piggyback but you seem to know a lot about a lot lol. Are you familiar with MSc Economics, Finance and Management from Bristol? Thinking of coming from Australia to do it to boost my employment prospects in the UK.

No worries, I'll reply in the proper thread rather than disturb this one
Original post by Random_user45
Why is MSc finance at UCL £38,000 funding fees and for MSc Economics £25,000 funding fees. Is finance more sought by employers and does the difference,very high difference justify it? Is it more likely to land me a job?

I'm a finance major completing my undergrad at Boston University who is planning to apply to one of the UCL MSc Finance Programs for the upcoming August semester. I was told by the admissions team I can only apply to two programs for UCL at a time, and there are currently 4 programs that interest me. They are Venture Capital and Private Equity with Financial Technology MSc, Infrastructure Investment and Finance MSc, Banking and Digital Finance MSc, and a general Finance MSc. As someone who doesn't meet the minimum GPA requirements for UCL, I was wondering which programs out of these are the least competitive so that I can boost my chances of acceptance. I originally wanted to do a General Finance MSc but I think that might be too popular

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