MA (Hons) Economics

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

Economics at Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh Business School is underpinned by globally active researchers. Our flexible degree focuses on making a difference in the real world. Ranked in the top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction 2023.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


Economics is the study of how individuals, firms and governments make choices, and how these choices determine the way in which resources are distributed across society. It helps us understand and improve decision-making for ourselves, organisations and societies, and it throws light on issues as diverse as the environment, unemployment, inflation, poverty, globalisation and trade.

During the economics programme, you'll receive a practice-oriented business education that delivers real-world results. Your learning will be underpinned by the knowledge of highly respected economists who design and teach our courses with a global outlook, stemming directly from their research into global economic issues.

This fascinating undergraduate degree begins at an introductory level so you do not need to have previous knowledge of economics in order to study the programme.

BA (Hons) Economics was ranked in the top 10 in the UK for overall student satisfaction by the Complete University Guide 2023.

One reason for our exceptional ranking is our ‘value-added’ score which has been the best in the UK for 6 of the past 7 years. 'Value-Added' is a rating given to all universities in the UK which measures the first and upper-second class degrees achieved by students against their entry qualifications.

Many graduates have continued their studies in economics and related subjects and gone on to complete Master's degrees and PhDs at institutions such as Edinburgh University, Harvard and Cambridge.

You can read a break-down of the degree structure below and find out further details about the destinations of our graduates.

Global College foundation pathway for Economics

If you do not meet the entry requirements for MA (Hons) Economics, you might consider Heriot-Watt Global College, where you can follow an accelerated pathway which will get you onto the second year of this degree.


Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner

Heriot-Watt University is accredited as a Bloomberg Experiential Learning Partner, recognising us as a leader in experiential learning in the area of finance. 

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I loved that lectures are up-to-date with current economic affairs which makes for exciting, relevant classes. The content of the course includes a variety of diverse topics providing stimulating learning material which challenges you to think. The academics are all very passionate and knowledgeable about Economics. They are also considerate and supportive with any problems or queries you may have.

Orla O'Kane , MA (Hons) Economics

Course content

A flexible structure lets you tailor your studies and follow your own particular interest. MA (Hons) Economics allows you to study the subject in a pure degree or you can choose to pair the subject with an additional discipline through these specialist pathways:

These degrees will equip you with a wide range of quantitative, analytical and communication skills to prepare you for career paths business, management, marketing, banking, finance, policy analysis, and civil service.

Year 1

Semester 1 

  • Management in Global 
  • The Economy 
  • Introduction to Accountancy and Finance
  • Introduction to Marketing

Semester 2 

  • Academic Skills
  • Becoming a Professional
  • Discovering Business

Year 2

Semester 1 

  • Intermediate Economics 1: Theory and Techniques 
  • Quantitative Methods 1
  • Elective 

Semester 2 

  • Intermediate Economics 2
  • Contemporary Economic Policy and Institutions
  • Statistical Techniques
  • Elective

Year 3

Semester 1 

  • Introductory Econometrics
  • Advanced Economics 1
  • Elective 
  • Elective

Semester 2

  • Econometrics Project
  • Advanced Economics 2
  • Elective 
  • Elective

Year 4

Semester 1 

  • Dissertation 1
  • Advanced Economic Policy 1
  • Economics option
  • Edinburgh Business School option

Options for Semester 1 are: 

  • The Contemporary Workforce
  • Employment Relations
  • Global Business Analysis 2: Global Trends and Risks
  • Management Dissertation 1
  • International Law of Human Resource Management
  • Global Business Analysis 1
  • Leisure Marketing
  • Managing Business Performance
  • Retail Marketing
  • International Trade
  • Labour Economics
  • Economics Dissertation 1 
  • Topics in World Economic History
  • Financial Intermediation
  • Accounting History 
  • Agency Theory and Corporate Governance
  • Accounting and Finance Dissertation 1
  • Accounting Theory
  • Managerial Accounting: Decision Making
  • Public Sector Accounting
  • Risk Management and Derivatives

Semester 2 

  • Dissertation 2
  • Advanced Economic Policy 2
  • Economics option
  • Edinburgh Business School option

Options for Semester 2 are: 

  • Diversity Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Management Dissertation 2
  • International Entrepreneurship
  • International Business Law
  • Changing Trends in Employment 
  • Marketing Sustainability
  • Marketing and Management of SMEs
  • Team Performance Dynamics
  • Strategy and Information Economics
  • Economics Dissertation 2
  • Development Economics 2
  • Macro Analysis and Policy
  • A short history of economic thought over 2,500 years
  • Economics of the European Union
  • Econometric Methods
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
  • Professional and Critical Theory
  • Banking
  • Contemporary Issues in Finance
  • Accounting and Finance Dissertation 2
  • Corporate Reporting
  • International Accounting
  • Equity Markets and Fund Management

Discover Uni course data

Discover Uni provides data on each university's degree courses across a range of measures including student satisfaction, graduate jobs and salaries.


Work and study

This is what our MA (Hons) Economics students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 85% are working
  • 5% are studying
  • 5% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £30000
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £30000

Potential career paths

  • Business, Research and Administrative Professionals
  • Business and public service associate professionals

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB (over two sittings)
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points
  • BTEC DDM (Accountancy, Business, Economics, Finance preferred)
  • HNC B in graded unit (Accounting or Business preferred)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers BB (AAAB at Higher to include Maths or AAAB plus Maths Higher C)
  • A-Levels ABB (at least one of the following preferred: Accounting, Business or Economics and AS Level Maths C)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 34 points (including Maths or Economics at Higher Level 5)
  • HND BB in graded units (Accounting or Business required)
  • Global College Successful completion of our Business with Accelerator Programme

Additional information

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £19,744

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.