MSc Behavioural and Economic Science

Governments and other organisations depend on behavioural analysis to make economic decisions. With its growing recognition, it’s a great time to develop your expertise.

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Behavioural analysis is often thought of as an area of economic psychology, but it’s actually a blend of economics, psychology, management and social sciences.

In recent years, it’s become popular with financial institutions, marketing, government departments and regional development agencies. And the area is still growing. The UK government has recently started to offer behavioural policy advice to smaller public bodies such as councils.  

With a growing demand for expertise, we’ll help you develop skills sought after by top employers.

Discover the role of behavioural economics

At Manchester Met, our research shapes economic analysis, economic development and public economic governance in Manchester, post-Brexit Britain and beyond.

We’ve designed this course for students with a background in economics, management, psychology, behavioural science or decision sciences.  

Our teaching team cover the theory and methods applied in behavioural analysis. At the same time, you’ll develop your technical skills of behavioural biases and behavioural policy design.

Throughout the course, we provide specific training for specialist roles in behavioural analysis and policy design within the commercial and government sectors. 

The course also gives you an ideal starting point for research into modern government, politics, or public policy, and the foundation of knowledge for a PhD.

Features and Benefits

  • Consultants – our Department is one of the main training providers in the area of behavioural policy and analysis for UK government departments.
  • External experts – professionals from organisations such as BIT and HMRC help us design and teach modules to make sure they’re relevant to current users of behavioural analysis. 
  • Leaders in the field – the research we produce and the knowledge we share puts Manchester Met at the heart of one Europe’s fastest growing economies.
  • Study in Manchester – the city is one of the UK’s largest financial services employers so there are plenty of opportunities when you graduate
  • Key insights – this course provides an opportunity to study with staff experienced in training and consultancy in applied behavioural analysis. 
  • Add experience to your CV – you can take an internship while you study. The Business School’s postgraduate internships team can help with your applications.
“My tutors showed enthusiasm for the course and ensured the right tools were in place. Most importantly they focused on real world applications and job preparedness.” Adedayo Alao, Economics graduate

Accreditations, Awards and Endorsements

“Employers are looking for specific skills and increasingly they want a masters degree that is connected to behavioural science or specifically in the area of behavioural science.”

Dr Vincent Fitzsimons, Senior Lecturer, Economics

Career Prospects

When you graduate, you’ll have the skills you need for real world work in behavioural analysis and policy design within the commercial and government sectors.

With the area still growing in the UK, you’ll find lots of opportunities to put your skills to use. Even small-to-medium-sized enterprises are starting to use large datasets, performing behavioural analysis to develop their businesses. 

Specific public sector employers include:

Private sector employers include:

After the course, you’ll also have the knowledge to delve deeper into the area with a research degree. There’s a whole host of areas to investigate, including modern government, politics, and public policy.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

You will hold a minimum 2.2 degree, or international equivalent, in a related subject.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.


“We teach a mainstream core curriculum in economics, international business; the impact of sports governance and the development of sport as a business.  But as a modern university, we go much beyond that…”
Listen to what Donna Lee, Head of Department, has to say about studying at Manchester Metropolitan University…

Course details

Behavioural analysis has become popular with financial institutions, marketing, government departments and development agencies in recent years. And it’s still growing, making it central to a variety of analyst roles across the globe. This course is the answer – offering knowledge of behavioural theory and the implications for public perception of policies, as well as financial markets and other areas of application.

It’s a rapidly evolving sector that offers a range career opportunities. Working with the government’s Behavioural Insights Team and HMRC, we’ve developed this course to provide the knowledge and skills to pursue those opportunities – providing a solid foundation for a career in behavioural analysis.

After a general introduction to the course, you’ll spend the first two terms studying units in six-week blocks – with a mixture of small lecture groups, seminars and workshops, coupled with coursework assessments. Over the course of these blocks, you’ll study core units including Behavioural Economics, Pluralist Economic Analysis and Quantitative Modelling, plus two option units. These allow you to delve into specialist topics like Policy Evaluation or Biases, Bubbles and the Business Cycle, to study a language, or to include a 12-week internship as part of your course.

As you progress, you’ll start developing ideas for your dissertation, creating a proposal which we’ll assess. Then, with the guidance of your tutors, you’ll tackle the project itself in your third term.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Pluralist Economic Analysis

This unit will push and support you to look at the world in a more questioning and critical manner. You will use realist and plural approaches to economic ideas to address important perennial difficult (“wicked”) problems. The unit is then the perfect vehicle in which to develop “Masters level” critical analysis and develop an understanding and application of economic language in the confrontation of principles and perspectives fundamental to their development throughout the course.  Basing our course on pluralist approaches and concepts   means it is now on the Economic Pluralism list of accredited courses.

Behavioural Economics

The Behavioural Economics Unit is taught in an intensive block to give students a learning experience comparable to those in top firms and the Civil Service, in this unit you will learn about behavioural decision making, generating behavioural economic models and behavioural fintech, including cryptocurrency and intervention design. This unit is assessed entirely by coursework where you will use live research data to plan a behavioural intervention, design an investment product or conduct a relevant consultancy type project.

Quantitative Modelling

This unit enables you to build core statistical analysis skills, from understanding distributions, through basic regressions with interactions to Panel estimators. We will not do this in the standard disembodied fashion with student datasets. We will use authentic data to replicate a published piece of work on social mobility and the influence of parents on their children’s outcomes.  For the applied assignment using real data. For example, in the past we have used data on a range of OECD nations to explore how social transfers and income taxes combine to partially offset growing market inequality but also cause redistribution paradoxes.

Crypto Currency, Banking Crisis and Human Behaviour

In this unit you will explore the 2007-09 banking crisis including the causes and consequences. The emphasis of study will be on a post crisis world including the development of behavioural finance as an alternative means to better describe (and predict) the wider economy as well as the birth of Fin-Tech, with particular emphasis on the impact and future of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Your assignment will be a 3,000 word individual assignment based on a case study that will typically be the analysis of a company, country, market or asset class pre, during and post crisis. You will then need to apply critically the theories of behavioural finance and Fin-tech.

Intervention Design and Social Media Analysis

This unit comprises two parts: The first part will equip students with a framework for analysing public policy and business problems and designing appropriate solutions, with reference to real world case studies. This will be assessed by a short report on a policy problem of the student’s choice.

The second part will examine the use of social media as a data source. You will use variety of techniques to gather and analyse publically available data sources, such as tweets, blogs, YouTube comments etc. You will use social media data to address a research problem/issue, and produce a portfolio, which will inform policy or business decision making.

Behavioural Science for Management

Building on the cutting edge Behavioural Science research in our Future Economies Research Centre, this unit will provide a general introduction to Behavioural Science and its application using several relevant research projects we have conducted with leading national and international financial services firms, national government and devolved agencies and professional bodies. The unit covers behavioural fintech design and managerial intervention research, biases, heuristics and behavioural phenomena that you will use in constructing your applied assignment.

Behavioural and Economic Science Dissertation

You produce a 15,000 word research project on a topic related to your programme, reading and interests.  You need to identify, structure, frame and investigate a complex human behaviour or the role of a social structure, context, or social processes that frame and influence decisions. You need to use data to support your objective.

Likely Optional Units

Policy Evaluation

This unit builds on your learning in Quantitative modelling and Intervention Design and Social Media Analysis in that you will now examine the evaluation of policy and plans using specific statistical methods, such as difference-in-difference, employed by leading firm and state analysists. These tools will be linked to applied examples. For the assignment, we will give you real data on a current issue to address using tools explored in the unit, but there will be space to go further than this.

Biases, Bubbles and The Business Cycle

This is a hands on, behavioural macro-economic modelling unit, taught in an intensive four day block in order to emulate a forecasting environment from top firms, banks, investment companies and the Civil Service. You will learn how to build confidence models of the national economy, a vital skill for investment analysis, forecasting risk and return and understanding and implementing economic policy. This unit also forms part of Manchester Metropolitan Economics Division’s postgraduate Masters Programme delivered to senior policy practitioners within the Civil Service. The unit supports students in gaining an innovative behavioural economics education. You will be assessed entirely by coursework.

Capstone project- Intervention for Improved Outcomes

You will examine the scope for effective policy design and the difficulty of 'Wicked' policy problems for decision makers. In this way, you develop the skills and knowledge you have acquired throughout the course in a way that enables their application in future roles. Wicked problems are (common) highly complex situations that place significant demands on decision makers as they juggle resource, information and time limitations, the need to meet the needs of diverse stakeholders and overcome entrenched oppositions. You will explore evidence and its limitations, the use of “magical thinking” and other heuristic approaches within diverse institutional frameworks. Your assessment will require a review of a 'wicked problem' and analysis of the actual and potentially superior approaches for the decision makers involved.

Department of Economics, Policy and International Business

Our Economics, Policy and International Business Department advances knowledge on the issues that matter on a contemporary global stage.

The department is committed to teaching excellence and is led by world-class professionals and academic economists. Reacting to the global needs of the digital age, its aim is to enable students to explore the vast areas influenced by economics and policy.

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Taught by experts

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UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £4,625 studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £17,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £8,500 studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

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If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.