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Development Economics  MSc


The Development Economics MSc course at City is designed to give you an understanding of key issues in economic development and provide you with rigorous economic theory and statistical tools to be able to analyse policies and assess their impact on economic and human development.

You will be taught by faculty from City's Economics Department, all of whom are research active. The course is led by Dr Alice Mesnard, who was Senior Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies for six years before joining City. Dr Mesnard is supported by academic staff with expertise in both theoretical and applied development economics.

You will benefit from City's London location, and our proximity to the centres of decision-making in development economics. (We are six tube stops away from the Department for International Development, for example.)

Watch this video to find out more about Development Economics MSc

Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £10,000
  • Part-time EU: £5,000 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £14,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,000 per year

Start Date:

September 2016

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

You should have some mathematical background (A-level, IB, AP or any other equivalent secondary school qualification) and one of the following:

  • a 2.1 (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in economics or a related discipline (e.g. finance)
  • a 2.1 (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in business, management, politics, law, accounting, psychology, quantitative sociology or financial journalism
  • a 2.1 (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in a quantitative discipline (such as mathematics, engineering, computer science or a natural science)

Students with a good 2.2 in one of the above disciplines might be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All students must also meet the English language requirement for the programme as specified in the next section.

English Requirements

All students who join the programme must fulfil the English language requirement in one of the following ways:

  • Hold a degree taught in one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; The Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; United Kingdom; United States of America (This list of majority English-speaking countries is determined by the UKVI. Find out more).
  • Be a national of one of the above countries or Canada.
  • Hold IELTS Academic taken within 2 years of the start of the course, with a minimum of 6.5 overall and a minimum of 6.0 in each component.

Note: We do not accept any of the following as evidence of English language ability for students who require a tier 4 student visa: TOEFL; Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE); Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE); a degree taught in any country not listed above; a letter or document confirming that the student has been taught in an English-medium educational institution; nor a non-UK school certificate.

INTO English language programmes

If you need to improve your English language skills before you join this programme, INTO City University London offers a range of intensive and flexible English language courses.

Visa Requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.  

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course; there are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

Please note: If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

When and Where

Start Date:
September 2016

Full-time - one year. Part-time - two years (with an additional three months to submit dissertation, if required).

Course Content

The aim of this course is to develop your critical and analytical abilities in economics, with particular reference to development. By the time you graduate, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate that modern economic theory is relevant to development economics
  • Critically interpret current research in development economics and evaluate its relevance to development practice and policy analysis
  • Understand the enduring determinants of poverty
  • Analyse the issues of fertility, education, health, work, migration and microfinance and their contribution to economic development
  • Develop microeconomic models to explain how people make such decisions and how policy is likely to affect their choices
  • Assess policies designed towards helping the poor by taking into account how people react to policy interventions, and statistically assess the success of such policies
  • Undertake empirical investigations in development economics, using appropriate quantitative methods.

Course Structure

The teaching takes place over 2 terms from September to June. Full-time students who pass all the taught modules during the main exam sessions finish the programme at the end of September when they submit their dissertation or literature review. Full-time students who successfully complete the taught modules in the August resit exam session submit their dissertation or literature review in December.

Note: for part-time students, the modules are taught on weekdays during the daytime, alongside the students who are studying on the full-time Master’s programme. Please contact us for further details.

We are introducing a revised programme structure for students who join from September 2016.

Students take 1 of the following 2 paths:

  • Dissertation path: 120 credits from taught modules and 60 credits from a dissertation
  • Literature survey path: 150 credits from taught modules and 30 credits from a literature survey

Core modules for the dissertation path:

  • The Economics of Micro-Finance (15 credits)
  • Development Economics (15 credits)
  • Microeconomic Theory (30 credits)
  • Econometrics (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Core modules for the literature survey path:

  • The Economics of Micro-Finance (15 credits)
  • Development Economics (15 credits)
  • Microeconomic Analysis (30 credits)
  • Quantitative Methods (30 credits)
  • Literature Survey (30 credits)

Depending on the path, optional modules include:

  • International Macroeconomics (15 credits)
  • Macroeconomics (15 credits)
  • Economics of Regulation and Competition (15 credits)
  • Health Economics (15 credits)
  • Welfare Economics (15 credits)
  • History of Economic Thought (15 credits)
  • Corporate Finance (15 credits)
  • Asset Pricing (15 credits)
  • Experimental Economics and Game Theory (15 credits)
  • Development and World Politics (15 credits)*
  • Political Economy of Global Finance (15 credits)*
  • The Politics of Forced Migration (15 credits)*

* Students on the dissertation path can take only 1 of these modules, which are taught in the Department of International Politics. Students on the literature survey path can take up to 2 of these modules.

Read the current programme specification (for students starting in 2015).

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching and Learning

The Development Economics MSc course is designed to be flexible in the range of teaching methods used. You learn through a mixture of lecturing, discussions, analysis of case studies, student presentations and particularly for the quantitative elements of the course, interactive computer-based exercises. You are encouraged to participate actively in the classes.

The taught modules usually run for a term and have three hours of teaching each week. This time may include workshops and tutorials as well as lectures.

Outside your timetabled hours you have access to the university’s library and computing facilities for independent study. Your independent study will include reading recommended books and papers, and “reading around” the field to develop a deeper understanding.

In your third term we organise for experts from outside City to come in and present current research on both methodological and applied topics.

For the dissertation or literature survey, each student is allocated a supervisor, who will guide you in your research and writing for this module.

We also offer pre-sessional induction courses covering topics such as probability, microeconomics and the Stata software.

Most of the academic staff in the department are actively involved in postgraduate teaching. Find out more about us by reading our individual staff profile pages.


For each taught module in the Department of Economics, you are assessed through a combination of coursework and one final examination. For most modules the coursework contributes 30% of the overall mark and the examination contributes 70%. The nature of the coursework which the lecturer assigns varies according to the module, for example essays, presentations or computer-based data analysis and calculations. Modules taught in the Department of International Politics are usually assessed solely by coursework.

Overall assessment is based on your performance in the taught modules and a dissertation or literature survey. Students require 180 credits to pass the MSc. The weighting of each module within the overall mark is determined by the credit value assigned to that module.

Read the full current programme specification (for students starting in 2015)


  • Full-time EU: £10,000
  • Part-time EU: £5,000 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £14,000
  • Part-time Non EU: £7,000 per year


For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.


The School of Arts & Social Sciences offers a 10% discount on tuition fees for all City graduates.

Career Prospects

Upon completion of this course you will have the skills to work in:

  • consulting firms specialising in development
  • governmental bodies such as the Department for International Development (DFID)
  • major international financial and development institutions  such as World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations or the Overseas Development Institute, which regularly recruits MSc graduates for overseas postings.

This course will enable you to...

MSc graduates can pursue their academic career further by starting a PhD programme in Economics at City or another university.

Application Deadline

There is no fixed application deadline. We close applications when the course is full, so we encourage you to apply early.

To apply you will need to submit:

  • An application form
  • A personal statement explaining why you want to take this course and how your experience and academic qualifications make you a suitable applicant
  • An official copy (and certified English translation if relevant) of your undergraduate academic transcript, or a provisional transcript and translation if you have not yet completed your undergraduate degree
  • An official copy (and certified English translation if relevant) of your undergraduate degree certificate (if this is available)
  • If you have undertaken a postgraduate degree, an official copy (and certified English translation if relevant) of your postgraduate academic transcript and degree certificate
  • A copy of your passport

You can submit the following later if it is not yet available:

  • Proof of meeting the English language requirement: proof of being a national of a country on the list of majority English-speaking countries; a certificate for a degree studied in a country on the list of majority English-speaking countries; or a copy of your IELTS results

The Department of Economics does NOT require references when you submit your application. However, the Admissions Tutor might request them at a later date to help make a decision on your application.

Application Forms

We strongly encourage you to apply online and upload scanned copies of your supporting documents:

If you are unable to apply online, you can download the application form here: