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  • Political Economy MA

Political Economy MA

Why choose this course?

This MA highlights issues of effective demand, social conflict and financial instability as features of modern capitalism. It covers neo-classical, post-Keynesian and Marxist theories, and applies them to contemporary issues of austerity policy, neo-liberalism, financialisation and globalisation. The course aims to provide a precise and professional knowledge of the procedures used to analyse current issues in political economy at a rigorous level.

Students receive a solid core background in macroeconomic analysis and policy, economic history and the history of economic thought.

This course provides excellent preparation for a range of employment possibilities in government agencies, think-tanks, research institutes or in international agencies such as the International Labour Organization.

Lectures are supplemented by seminars, giving an opportunity for regular feedback and discussion.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Kingston is actively engaged in research and publication through the Political Economy Research Group. There are regular seminars, workshops and presentations by visiting speakers.
  • You will benefit from our staff's active involvement in research projects for think tanks and international economic organisations.
  • Through being at Kingston, you will be part of the postgraduate economics community across the London universities, with opportunities to attend seminars and present work

What you will study

You will acquire a rigorous and broad-based understanding of the discipline of political economy, as well as an ability to carry out research in this field. The course provides a comprehensive review of macroeconomics from a theoretical and policy perspective, and of capitalism from its emergence to contemporary globalisation, as well as the parallel developments in political economy.

You will explore present-day competing political economy paradigms, and pursue an advanced analysis of the processes of globalisation and financialisation of contemporary capitalism, using it as a basis for discussion of economic policy. Your dissertation will focus on an applied economic policy topic - you will work individually with a member of staff to choose a topic for your dissertation, research this topic and write up your conclusions.

Modules

Core modules

Macroeconomic Theory and Policy

30 credits

This module introduces you to macroeconomic theory and policy at an advanced level. The module first deals with the fundamental issues of demand, growth, unemployment and inflation in the context of classical and Keynesian approaches to understanding aggregate economic behaviour. The module then discusses selected issues in current economic policy and illustrates how different economic theories approach these issues, how economic models are applied to current problems and how different theories lend themselves to different policy conclusions. The topics covered will differ each semester but may well include issues such as unemployment, financial stability and the causes and effects of changes in income distribution.

Political Economy: Effective Demand, Exploitation and Crisis

30 credits

This module introduces you to political economy at an advanced level. It is a core requirement for students in the MA Political Economy courses. This module first presents the major competing paradigms of political economy, such as neo-classical, Marxist, Keynesian/post-Keynesian, Austrian and Institutionalist Political Economy. These paradigms are compared with respect to their analyses of the production process and income distribution, the labour market and unemployment, effective demand and economic growth and the financial sector. The module then discusses models in the recent academic literature of political economy that integrate theories of effective demand and class conflict (post-Keynesian theory, French Regulation Theory, Social Structures of Accumulation, the Bhaduri-Marglin model), covering issues of demand formation, unemployment, capital accumulation, and income distribution. We thus highlight differences and similarities of various political economy approaches. Finally, the module will show how these models are applied in empirical research.

Economics Dissertation

60 credits

Each student completes a separate individual research project under the supervision of a member of staff. You may propose a title of their own or choose one in agreement with a member of staff. The main purpose of the project is to enable you to demonstrate knowledge of how economic ideas can be applied in greater length and depth than is feasible in the context of a taught course. Upon completion of the individual research project you will have designed and implemented a research project in applied or theoretical economics, normally including a critical literature survey and the evaluation of evidence (as appropriate to the project title). A workshop and supervisory meetings are provided to help you in their choice of title and to ensure progression of research.

EC 7011 provides opportunities for you to develop academic and professional working skills. The module contributes to key professional working and employability skills eg. working to deadlines; originality; writing coherently and analytically.

Optional modules

Development and International Economics

30 credits

This module will approach problems of economic development in the context of the international economy. Developing countries, especially high growth emerging nations, have come to play an important part in global economy. Lower income countries also contribute to world economy as markets for industrial goods and suppliers of natural resources. The module will develop its main themes from a review of major theories of economic development, international trade and investment. It will focus on problems of economic development and the changing context of development under the influence of economic globalisation. Topics such as trade and development, the effect of foreign direct investment (FDI) on development and the significance of technology transfer will be prominent features of the module.

Applied Econometrics and Methods

30 credits

This first part of the module introduces a range of econometric methods from the perspective of their usefulness in refining and applying economic theory in the context of substantive economic problems. The module aims to develop your ability both to understand the analytical basis of these methods and to put them into practice in the context of empirical verification and economic policy decisions.

The second part of the module microeconomic analysis explores the theory of consumer and producer behaviour. It introduces game theory as an important framework for contemporary economic analysis. You will learn to manipulate theoretical models of microeconomic behaviour and apply them to the analysis of policy issues.

Economic Change and Ideas

30 credits

This module develops an historical and analytical narrative of the transformation of economic life from the rise of capitalism and the first and second industrial revolutions to the emergence of the present day globalised and financialised world; it also presents parallel developments in the history of economic ideas. It gives you an opportunity to view the history of the last half millennium through the prism of industrial revolutions and economic crises and examines how, and how well, contemporaneous thinkers such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall and John Maynard Keynes dealt with these dramatic transformations in material life.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

After you graduate

The Political Economy MA is excellent preparation for a range of employment possibilities in a governmental regulatory agency in the domestic (eg UK) economy or in an international agency dealing with issues in which the interaction of political, economic and historical considerations demand an interdisciplinary political economy approach.

The Political Economy MA gives you a wide range of opportunities to enhance your employability. On completion of the programme you will emerge with a sound understanding of the underlying analytical principles and research techniques used in the study of international economics in the context of finance, industry, trade and labour and the economics of developing countries, as well as the ability to write in a clear and coherent manner about the issues involved. The dissertation evidences the ability to produce an extended piece of research in this field, integrating and demonstrating mastery of this range of skills.

As a result, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge, and will be seen to be attractive to a range of employers involved in, or dealing with issues concerned with international financial affairs and other issues surrounding the international economy. Institutions concerned with these issues, as well as those concerned with the economics of developing countries, are in both the public and private sector, including governmental and nongovernmental research organisations, financial institutions and individual firms.

If you are already working in these research areas, the programme will provide you with a mixture of analytical insight and relevant skills that will enable you to enhance your existing career path. If you want to proceed onto further study and research, the programme lays the foundations for the continuation of study on an academic career track.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

One or more of the following will normally be regarded as appropriate admission requirements:

  • Successful completion of a certified programme of study in an area appropriate to the content of the degree (normally a good second-class honours undergraduate degree or its equivalent, including, where appropriate, quantitative methods having been studied to an appropriate standard); strong academic performance in other disciplines will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Relevant non-certificated learning.
  • An appropriate combination of certificated and non-certificated learning.


All certificated and non-certificated learning will require verification. In the case of certificated learning, this will require the presentation of relevant certificates and/or confirmation from the award giving body. In the case of non-certificated learning, verification will be established in the course of the interview to which all applicants will be invited, or, where appropriate, through the submission of supporting documentation and evidence. Where the evidence of the fulfilment of the appropriate admission requirements is inconclusive, the applicant may be asked to complete a written exercise.

International

Please note: most students from countries outside the European Union/European Economic Area and classified as overseas fee paying, are not eligible to apply for part-time courses due to UK student visa regulations. For information on exceptions please visit the UKCISA website or email our CAS and Visa Compliance team.

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

As a student at Kingston University, we will make sure you have access to appropriate advice regarding your academic development. You will also be able to use the University's support services

Your workload

12% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Guided independent study: 1592 hours
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 208 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 78%
  • Practical: 6%
  • Exam: 16%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetables

Each student receives a personalised timetable. This is usually available after you have completed your online enrolment, which is typically accessible 1 month before the start of your course.

Class sizes

You will be part of an intimate cohort of students which supports dedicated academic guidance and advice and the opportunity to build a life-long network of colleagues. Some modules are common across other postgraduate programmes therefore you will be taught alongside students who are on these courses within the School.

Who teaches this course?

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. The following group of staff members are currently involved in the delivery of different elements of this course. This pool is subject to change at any time within the academic year

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £8,190
  • MA part time £4,504

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £14,500
  • MA part time £7,975
Postgraduate study
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