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Maths or Economics MSc

I currently do Maths, and I did Economics at A-Level, it was okay but I didn't really enjoy it anywhere near as much as I enjoyed Maths. I did my first year of Maths at University, and then COVID hit. I got really into Politics and much more interested in Economics. I realised that when I studied Economics at A-Level, we were taught it in a very apolitical way, completely devoid from real-world application.
Anyway, I got much more into this so I ended up neglecting my degree during second year and I got a very poor grade in second year. I am now on my final year, and I think I will probably end up with a high 2:2 or a low 2:1. Essentially, here is my dilemma. I want to do a MSc, because I think if I can get a first in that I'll be able to sell it well if I do end up going into the job market. But I'm also considering going into a PhD. My dilemma is this: I am considering whether to do a Maths MSc or an Economics MSc. A Maths MSc I know I will enjoy, but I enjoy learning Economics much more. From my perspective, however, there are issues with taking an Economics MSc. Firstly, what if I enjoy it as a hobby but in a more formal setting I hate it? Secondly, if I take it I won't be able to drop out and take the Maths MSc. Thirdly, I think my options will be super limited because I don't have an Economics BSc. Fourthly, given the areas of economics I'm interested in; if I took an economics degree that was presented in a similar way to my A-Level, i.e. apolitical in nature; I think I would hate it. Having spoken to some economics professors, it seems that this is the case in a lot of universities. There are courses that I would really enjoy, such as SOAS Economics MSc; but again I don't know whether I'll enjoy it if it is in a more formal setting, and less hobby-like.

I don't really know what to do, I may want to go into academia one day and if I want to do that in Economics it'll be super hard unless I have an Economics MSc (or impossible). Whereas, if I do a Maths MSc that will make me more attractive in the job market, and give me an avenue if I want to do a PhD in Maths, but then I won't be able to study Economics, which I'm more passionate about.
What are your reasons for taking a masters degree at all? It would seem to be a wiser use of time and money not to take one until you are confident about what you want to study, why you want to study it and what careers it would lead to.
Original post by ajj2000
What are your reasons for taking a masters degree at all? It would seem to be a wiser use of time and money not to take one until you are confident about what you want to study, why you want to study it and what careers it would lead to.

Probably going to get a 2:2 BSc and I'll be more attractive in the job market with a first in MSc
Original post by Keynesian123
Probably going to get a 2:2 BSc and I'll be more attractive in the job market with a first in MSc


ok - sorry to hear. For now I would focus all my energies on scraping a 2.1 if at all possible. Consider masters courses when you have your results as it could make a big difference to which universities you are attractive to.
Original post by Keynesian123
Probably going to get a 2:2 BSc and I'll be more attractive in the job market with a first in MSc


Whilst the job market do look at grades for graduate schemes, they look at your bachelor's as opposed to your master's. Your master's only really come in if you want to apply for a PhD or a master's level role e.g. economist.

To answer your question regarding the economics degree, yes it's more or less apolitical. Most of the economics material will be focused on economic theory and whether the economic models work. It's theoretical and requires a lot of theoretical reasoning. I can't say it's like A Level economics, because I firstly haven't done the A Level, but more so you use quite a bit of maths in economics.

Degrees in principle should be apolitical, because you are looking at theories and validity of theories (the reason why research is considered valid and not meaningless drivel) as opposed to going into the politics. If you want something that allows you to explore politics more, consider Political Economics or Politics with Economics. However, there is a likelihood that these degrees will require a background in economics. These variations of economics degrees won't likely have a lot of maths and will involve a lot more writing.

If the postgrad degree requires an economics background, you would likely be asked to do a 1 year postgrad diploma/conversion course in economics (see the following: https://www.postgraduatesearch.com/pgs/search?course=economics&qualification=pgdip). To play things safe, this should be straight economics and not the alternatives. The postgrad diploma would be reflective of what would be in the economics MSc.

Personally, if I have a degree in maths, I would consider doing a postgrad in mathematical economics, which often ask for a background in maths. There are currently 2 universities that offer this: Edinburgh and LSE.
Original post by MindMax2000
Whilst the job market do look at grades for graduate schemes, they look at your bachelor's as opposed to your master's. Your master's only really come in if you want to apply for a PhD or a master's level role e.g. economist.

To answer your question regarding the economics degree, yes it's more or less apolitical. Most of the economics material will be focused on economic theory and whether the economic models work. It's theoretical and requires a lot of theoretical reasoning. I can't say it's like A Level economics, because I firstly haven't done the A Level, but more so you use quite a bit of maths in economics.

Degrees in principle should be apolitical, because you are looking at theories and validity of theories (the reason why research is considered valid and not meaningless drivel) as opposed to going into the politics. If you want something that allows you to explore politics more, consider Political Economics or Politics with Economics. However, there is a likelihood that these degrees will require a background in economics. These variations of economics degrees won't likely have a lot of maths and will involve a lot more writing.

If the postgrad degree requires an economics background, you would likely be asked to do a 1 year postgrad diploma/conversion course in economics (see the following: https://www.postgraduatesearch.com/pgs/search?course=economics&qualification=pgdip). To play things safe, this should be straight economics and not the alternatives. The postgrad diploma would be reflective of what would be in the economics MSc.

Personally, if I have a degree in maths, I would consider doing a postgrad in mathematical economics, which often ask for a background in maths. There are currently 2 universities that offer this: Edinburgh and LSE.

Just to be clear, when I mean apolitical I'm not necessarily talking about using models and economic theory etc. but by means of pluralist methods, there's been quite a big movement among economics students that ask for a more pluralist teaching: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-autistic_economics
There are universities which offer pluralist courses, e.g. Leeds, SOAS etc. So that would be my main priority I suppose; Leeds has a module of macroeconomic policy so that would seem good.
Original post by Keynesian123
Just to be clear, when I mean apolitical I'm not necessarily talking about using models and economic theory etc. but by means of pluralist methods, there's been quite a big movement among economics students that ask for a more pluralist teaching: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-autistic_economics
There are universities which offer pluralist courses, e.g. Leeds, SOAS etc. So that would be my main priority I suppose; Leeds has a module of macroeconomic policy so that would seem good.

I still don't really understand what you're looking for from an economics master's. There really hasn't been a big movement among students for 'pluralist teaching', especially not in the UK. Having gone through the whole BSc, MSc and PhD economics process, UK economics departments are generally very neutral when it comes to politics with economics. Only exceptions really is SOAS which is seen as quite left wing - it's more of a distinction in the US where you get some quite right wing departments (e.g. Chicago) and some quite left wing ones like Brown.

Anyhow, most good MSc Economics courses are mostly mathematical anyway, a lot of statistics and calculus. Most good macro courses will teach you a variety of growth models, definitely not just neoclassical ones, it generally just provides you with good problem solving skills and a lens to look at equilibriums through. This is why economics grads tend to get decent salaries, not because of whether there's politics in it or not - regardless of whether that politics is left wing or right wing.
Original post by BenRyan99
I still don't really understand what you're looking for from an economics master's. There really hasn't been a big movement among students for 'pluralist teaching', especially not in the UK. Having gone through the whole BSc, MSc and PhD economics process, UK economics departments are generally very neutral when it comes to politics with economics. Only exceptions really is SOAS which is seen as quite left wing - it's more of a distinction in the US where you get some quite right wing departments (e.g. Chicago) and some quite left wing ones like Brown.

Anyhow, most good MSc Economics courses are mostly mathematical anyway, a lot of statistics and calculus. Most good macro courses will teach you a variety of growth models, definitely not just neoclassical ones, it generally just provides you with good problem solving skills and a lens to look at equilibriums through. This is why economics grads tend to get decent salaries, not because of whether there's politics in it or not - regardless of whether that politics is left wing or right wing.


I would disagree, it was a very big movement post-crash with coverage in newspapers like the Guardian; quite a lot of signatures, it was bigger during austerity and post-crash days but the number of pluralist courses are more than they used to be. Movement's been pretty big in the UK, but it's been bigger in countries like France for instance. With regards to economics departments being neutral it really depends on the uni; it's not necessarily the neutrality that matters to me, but the pluralist aspect. KCL, Greenwich, Edinburgh, Winchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Sussex, Bath, UWE, Manchester Met all offer pluralist courses and UCL has aspects of pluralism in its course.
It depends what you mean by "good," idrk if I'll want to even go into the job market, I don't care about trying to find work in the government, or in finance; if I did I just would take the maths degree. I'm looking to work for a think tank or in academia one day.
Original post by Keynesian123
I would disagree, it was a very big movement post-crash with coverage in newspapers like the Guardian; quite a lot of signatures, it was bigger during austerity and post-crash days but the number of pluralist courses are more than they used to be. Movement's been pretty big in the UK, but it's been bigger in countries like France for instance. With regards to economics departments being neutral it really depends on the uni; it's not necessarily the neutrality that matters to me, but the pluralist aspect. KCL, Greenwich, Edinburgh, Winchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Sussex, Bath, UWE, Manchester Met all offer pluralist courses and UCL has aspects of pluralism in its course.
It depends what you mean by "good," idrk if I'll want to even go into the job market, I don't care about trying to find work in the government, or in finance; if I did I just would take the maths degree. I'm looking to work for a think tank or in academia one day.

Out of the unis you've listed, some are decent, some are really terrible for postgrad economics (MSc & PhD). Economics tends to be a pretty common path into Think Tanks and you'll definitely have the quantitative edge over all the Arts & Social Science grads.

If I was in your position I'd just do the maths postgrad. Assistant Professor (i.e. entry-level position after your PhD) roles are super competitive and the pay is terrible. Some friends who are AP's at UK top10 econ departments earn less in their first year than a fair proportion of Econ undergrads do in their first year, so same or less pay despite an extra 6yrs education (tho there are some perks with AP roles ofc). I would just do maths if the only Econ postgraduate education you're interested in is a pluralist one.

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