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 and has the 3rd highest level of Student Satisfaction in the UK (NSS2019).


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.

This degree will give you the skills to investigate, analyse and answer such questions. Your learning will be underpinned by the knowledge of highly respected economists who design and teach our courses with a global outlook and real-world focus, 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.

Heriot-Watt University was ranked as the Number 1 place in Scotland, and 3rd in the United Kingdom, to study Economics in the Guardian University League Tables 2018, behind only Oxford and Cambridge. It also achieved the highest level of overall student satisfaction in Scotland, and 3rd highest in the UK, in the National Student Survey 2019

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.

 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.

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. 


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

Student profile

Gerald McQuade in his graduation gown

I enjoyed the freedom offered by engaged lecturers and manageable class sizes. They allowed us room to explore the topics we were most interested in through class projects and provided ample opportunity for lively debate amongst students and staff. The staff were always approachable and fully invested in our success.

Gerald McQuade, MA (Hons) Economics

Course content

Year 1

Year 1 - Semester 1 (All Year 1 students at the School take the same subjects) Year 1 - Semester 2 (All Year 1 students at the School take the same subjects)
Management in a Global Context Academic Skills
Introductory Economics Becoming a Professional
Introduction to Accountancy and Finance Discovering Business
Introduction to Marketing  

Year 2

Semester 1 Semester 2
Intermediate Economics 1 (30 credits) Intermediate Economics 2
Intermediate Economics 1 (30 credits) Contemporary Economic Policy and Institutions
Quantitative Methods Statistical Techniques
Elective Elective

Year 3

Semester 1 Semester 2
Introductory Econometrics Econometrics Project
Advanced Economics 1 Advanced Economics 2
Elective or Economics Option Elective or Economics Option
Elective Elective

Year 3, Semester 1 Options

  • Topics in World Economic History 1
  • Financial Intermediation

Year 3, Semester 2 Options

  • Advanced Macroeconomics
  • Development Economics 2
  • Economics of the European Union
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Year 4

Semester 1 Semester 2
Dissertation 1 Dissertation 2
Advanced Economic Policy 1 Advanced Economic Policy 2
Economics Option Economics Option
Edinburgh Business School Option Edinburgh Business School Option

Year 4, Semester 1 Options

  • Business Project 1
  • International Law of Human Resource Management
  • Retail Marketing
  • International Trade
  • Economics Dissertation 1
  • Topics in World Economic History 1
  • Financial Intermediation
  • Introduction to Public Sector and Welfare Economics
  • Agency Theory and Corporate Governance
  • Accounting Theory
  • Managerial Accounting: Decision Making
  • Risk Management and Derivatives

Year 4, Semester 2 Options

  • Business Project 2
  • International Company Law and Law of Corporate Governance
  • Diversity Management
  • Global Trends and Ethics
  • International Business Law
  • Marketing and Management of SMEs
  • Advanced Macroeconomics
  • Development Economics 2
  • Economics of the European Union
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
  • Professional and Critical Theory
  • Contemporary Issues in Finance
  • Corporate Reporting
  • International Accounting


In highly skilled work

  • 80% of those are in highly skilled work 15 months after graduating.


Employers include:

  • Procurement Specialist | BP Oil & Gas
  • Economics Analyst | Mediacom
  • Graduate Economist | PwC Consulting
  • Junior Consultant | Ernst & Young
  • Trainee Medical Underwriter | Royal London Group
  • Management Consultant | PA Consulting
  • Graduate Retail Banker | Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Business Consultant | Ernst & Young

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)

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 2022 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep Ireland** International***
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £TBC

* 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.

** 'Rest of the UK' (RUK) and Republic of Ireland students entering at Level 1 receive a fee waiver of one year's tuition fee. Normally this will be the final year, or a year during which students study abroad (either at a partnership institution, or at one of Heriot-Watt's overseas campuses).

*** '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 fee information

Students with Scotland fee status pay £910 for the placement year instead of the standard fees. Students with England, Northern Ireland, Wales or Overseas fee status pay £1300 for the placement year instead of the standard fees.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales starting undergraduate degree courses in 2021

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 students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

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

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.