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The Economics of Post-Graduate Degrees These days...
July 17, 2012 3:06 AM   Subscribe

London UK 2nd career: Should I do a Masters in Economics? Or is self-study with a good reading list a viable alternative?

I'm in my late 30s and unemployed after working 10 years in the financial services industry. In the last few years I've become rather interested in macroeconomics and foreign policy sort of issues and I have been thinking that perhaps that is where I should be heading as a new career goal. I want a change and want to do something more 'meaningful'.

But I"m Australian and while resident in the UK (on EEA Family visa) it seems I will have to pay the Overseas rates for a degree. So a 1 year full-time Economics Masters is around £15,000 + LSE is about£21,000. (and its kinda too late to get into most programs starting in September 2012).

Oh and I have an Undergraduate double degree in Mathematics & Philosophy so I was thinking I probably wouldn't need to do a Graduate Diploma before the Masters.

But I'm also thinking perhaps I could just spend a year doing a kind of Self-Study 'degree' if I got my hands on a good reading list and somehow found a 'community' to discuss and question things with. (ie a substitute for Tutorials). I wouldn't have accreditation but does that matter so much? what sort of jobs are available anyway?

Are there other options I'm overlooking?
posted by mary8nne to Education (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wouldn't have accreditation but does that matter so much? what sort of jobs are available anyway?

Yes it does. Most entry-level positions for economists within governments or NGOs are now requiring a Master's degree, especially in foreign policy/trade circles. Trade economists are extremely well-trained and the barrier to entry is usually pretty high. Typically, your resume is your first introduction to your future employer, so any knowledge you have that is not credentialed obviously puts you at a disadvantage to those with a Master's in Econ, which is most everyone in the field.

You could certainly work for government in an administrative/low-level police role, or in local economic development (community level) where the work is less strenuous (less modelling, more program development) with the education and experience you have, but if your aim is working in Economics relating to foreign-policy, you definitely need to level up.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:42 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


police = policy.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:43 AM on July 17, 2012


Normally I would recommend the Open University, but I can't find an MSc in economics listed. Be *very* careful with one-year taught Masters - they're often cash generators for strapped departments. Do not go for one unless you can see a) a strong track record of employment b) several recent graduates who are willing to recommend it. University profile sadly does matter and doesn't guarantee quality of the course - positively correlated but not guaranteed. You'll also probably want a 2:i or equivalent GPA in your first degree, although commercial experience can often be accomodated; talk to the academic course advisor. You might still be in with a shot for September, but you're right that it may be a bit late.
posted by cromagnon at 5:20 AM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are sure about the fees? I got my masters from Aberystwyth as a Canadian and looking at their fees it looks to half what you are quoting. I am not sure if they are exactly what you are looking for.
posted by saucysault at 5:36 AM on July 17, 2012


Another degree to consider is the Masters in Public Administration - MPA. Longer course than the masters, focused on policy, they do offer one at LSE I know. I just did one here in the states and was able to concentrate in international economic policy but also take lots of international security policy classes as well - not sure if UK universities let you mix and match so much.
posted by shothotbot at 6:42 AM on July 17, 2012


I did look into Open University but could not find an Economics MSc. They have a research degree though: OU Research Economics

On prices for 2012. I have the following notes:
London Metropolitan University £11,700,
UCL £17,500,
LSE £21,000 (admissions closed for 2012)
Kingston £10,250


OU have a Masters of Public Administration but that doesn't really look like what i'm interested in.
posted by mary8nne at 8:32 AM on July 17, 2012


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