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8: Skills development and careers support

Key skills

We have summarised skills, experiences and knowledge we believe you will acquire from your Warwick Masters degree. Reflecting on what you have learned and planning further personal development will help you to:

  • Achieve your academic and career goals
  • Recognise what professional attributes you have developed
  • Be prepared for searching questions from employers on applications and at interview
  • Become more independent learners and critical thinkers
  • Be more self-directed, self-reliant and proactive.

MSc Economics/EIFE Cognitive Skills

  • Analytical thinking, reasoning and communication. Verbal, graphical and mathematical analysis at an advanced level; understanding dynamic processes; understanding concepts of equilibria, including equilibria in strategic contexts; the ceteris paribus method and counterfactual analysis; the ability to understand formal analysis and to communicate understanding through engagement and contributions in compulsory classes, completion of exercise sheets, problem sets, essays, and through tests and formal examinations
  • Critical thinking. Promoting the critical evaluation of received ideas through exposure to recent research developments; ability to synthesize and evaluate a theoretical and empirical literature
  • Strategic thinking. A familiarity with models of multi-agent decision making, where pay-offs depend on the actions of others - particularly asymmetric information games, repeated games and evolutionary models
  • Solvability and problem solving. Finding whether a solution to a problem exists; and developing new applications of existing models
  • Abstraction. Balancing simplification (for tractability) against literalness (for relevance)
  • Social awareness. Private versus social costs and benefits and their distribution; rationale for government and international policy
  • Policy evaluation. Being aware of the policy context and also of methodological issues involved in evaluation — such as with the identification of causal effects of policy interventions
  • Understanding institutions. What institutions exist and why, and how incentives work in them
  • Analysis of incentives. Understanding economic motivations of individuals and the limits of economic explanations
  • Understanding simultaneity and endogeneity
  • Understanding optimisation. Concepts of an optimum and efficiency
  • Understanding uncertainty. Concepts of expectations and surprises; probability and its applications.

MSc Economics/EIFE Professional Skills

  • Research skills. Use of library and internet as data sources; locating, evaluating, and extracting information; organising, surveying, summarising, interpreting material; ability to conduct and disseminate research in a way that is consistent with professional and ethical practice; understand and apply a range of research methods and tools; understand basic principles of research design and strategy, including how to formulate researchable problems
  • Numeracy and quantitative skills. Use of mathematics and diagrams, understanding data, and statistical analysis;
  • Information Technology skills. Use of IT including word processing and spreadsheet packages; specialist econometric, statistical, and other software; the internet
  • Written communication skills. Submission of essays, problem sets, class work, tests, examination scripts and a research dissertation
  • Oral communication skills. Participation in classes and group work
  • Teamwork. Working with others through group work
  • Time management. Attending compulsory classes and a regular timetable of strict submission deadlines; working well under pressure of deadlines; conscientiousness.

MSc Economics/EIFE Subject Knowledge and Understanding

  • Economic principles. Knowledge and understanding of advanced core concepts and methods of analysis in microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • Applied economics. Knowledge and understanding of how advanced economic models and quantitative techniques are applied to problems arising in public policy and in the private sector
  • Economic data. Knowledge of economic trends and patterns; survey data; and an understanding of problems and solutions in economic measurement including evaluation methods
  • Research and debate. Detailed knowledge of contemporary theoretical and empirical debates and research outcomes in core economics and in some more specialised areas of Economics and International Financial Economics.

MSc Behavioural and Economic Science Cognitive Skills

  • Be able to analyse data and draw conclusions.
  • Ability to synthesise and evaluate theoretical and empirical literature.
  • Be able to conduct reproducible statistical analysis using the general and generalised linear model.
  • Be familiar with the new estimation approach to statistics as well as the traditional null-hypothesis significance test.
  • Demonstrate competence at formulating a valid research question and designing an empirical investigation.

MSc Behavioural and Economic Science Professional Skills

  • Be able to design and run simple experiments in the areas of memory, perception, judgment and decision-making.
  • Ability to conduct research.
  • Manage research and conduct and disseminate research in a way that is consistent with professional and ethical practice.
  • Demonstrate competence at conducting an empirical investigation.
  • Be able to write statistical analysis in the style required by the American Psychological Association.
  • Be able to write up experimental reports in the style required by the American Psychological Association.
  • Research introductory level with the R and Matlab programming languages.
  • Understand and apply a range of research methods and tools.

MSc Behavioural and Economics Science Subject Knowledge and Understanding

  • Knowledge and understanding of advanced core concepts and methods of analysis in microeconomics.
  • Knowledge of economic trends and patterns; survey data; and an understanding of problems and solutions in economic measurement, including evaluation methods; an understanding of fundamental concepts in mathematics and statistics relevant to the other core modules.
  • Detailed knowledge of contemporary theoretical and empirical debates and research outcomes in specialised areas of behavioural and economic science.
  • Knowledge and understanding of how advanced economic models and methods are applied to problems.
  • An understanding of the key concepts in experimental design, and the difference between experimental approaches in economics and psychology.
  • An understanding of core concepts in memory, attention, perception, social and neuropsychology and their importance for human judgment and decision making.
  • An understanding of the difference between experimental approaches in economics and psychology.
  • An understanding of how to turn mathematical models into computer simulations.
  • An understanding of the basic principles of research design and strategy, including an understanding of how to formulate researchable problems and an appreciation of alternative approaches to research.

Language Skills

If English is not your first language, you may wish to take one of the free in-sessional English Language classes organised by the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL). This will help your written work, reading and understanding during lectures and classes. It can also help improve your job prospects as employers will value language skills.

The Department recognises the importance of developing language skills and we offer a bespoke weekly class in the Autumn and Spring Terms for MSc students.

Research Skills

During your MSc degree you will have the opportunity to develop your research skills and complete independent research work. You will learn to initiate your own exploration of economic questions, which is a key skill for career paths in research, analysis and working as a professional economist.

Quantitative Methods: Econometrics

In the Econometrics module you will produce high quality empirical econometrics, develop the critical insight to appraise econometric results obtained by others, and come to a balanced view concerning the weight of the empirical evidence presented. Developing your knowledge of econometrics is an important foundation for the dissertation or research project later in the year. Those completing the 50 CAT module have the opportunity to complete a group econometrics project on a topic of their choosing. This will provide experience of working in a team and help strengthen you communication skills through a group presentation to your tutor and peers.

Research Methods

You will develop further your research skills through research methods lectures in the spring and summer term. These explain the dissertation process, including issues such as the selection of a topic, allocation of the supervisor and how you will be supervised. Past dissertations are reviewed, explaining why they received high marks and where there might be weaknesses. We continue to build skills in econometrics packages for economists and provide guidance on economic data sets and how they can be used. You will also receive bespoke academic writing and library dissertation training sessions and can book helpdesk appointments with tutors to discuss technical and software-related issues throughout the summer term and vacation.


MSc Economics and MSc Economics and International Financial Economics students complete a dissertation over four months in the summer. The main aim of the dissertation is to encourage independent study and to provide a foundation for future original research. In terms of learning, the dissertation should provide students with a number of research skills, including the ability to define a feasible project allowing for time and resource constraints, develop an adequate methodology, make optimal use of library resources, access databases, understand their uses and limitations and extract relevant data, and work without the need for continuous supervision. You can read more information about the dissertation, and watch a video of recent students talking about their research experiences, on the EC959 website.

Research Project

MSc BES students will complete a research project in the summer months. The project will provide you with key research skills including the ability to formulate a research question or hypothesis and frame this question in the light of literature. You will design and carry out an investigation, extract relevant data and interpret your findings.

Destination: Dissertation

Destination: Dissertation is a summer programme of writing workshops organised by Student Careers and Skills. These sessions are designed for MSc students writing a dissertation or project, and will help you to develop important skills such as writing concisely, and explain how to edit your writing and structure a dissertation.

On Track workshops

On Track is the Postgraduate Hub’s programme of workshops, designed to help you maintain your work-life balance and provide practical information and support for your academic development and research. The workshops focus on academic skills, self-development and wellbeing - perfect if you're working on your dissertations, though all postgraduates are welcome to attend.

Masters Skills Programme

The University’s Masters Skills Programme is designed to complement and build on the key skills gained during your academic studies. Workshop topics include working in a team, delivering effective presentations, and organising yourself and your time.

IT Skills

The ITS Training Service provides in-house training in Microsoft applications and academic software including:

  • Stata
  • SPSS
  • Mathtype
  • Mathematica
  • Matlab
  • Qualtrics

We also offer you the opportunity to study for Microsoft Office Specialist Qualifications. These qualifications are free of charge while you are studying here, so take advantage of the opportunity to develop your IT skills. Dates for specific courses can be found on the Training Service website.

Please note that if you fail to attend a course or provide adequate notice of cancellation, on two occasions, you will have any existing bookings to other courses cancelled and the right to book on further courses withdrawn.

Careers & personal development

To help you think about your future career, and plan the steps you will need to take over the coming year, we have arranged dedicated careers workshops for MSc Economics students. They cover some of the popular career options and the skills required for these, how to make effective job applications, and other aspects of career choice and development. These sessions will be added to your timetable in Tabula.

Online resources for job hunting can be found in the Economics Careers and Skills website.

Student Careers & Skills

Student Careers &Skills can help you explore your options, develop your skills and get the career you want. Making the decisions about what to do next can be tricky. A range of online resources, one to one advice and guidance, workshops, and events are available to ensure you make informed decisions and leave Warwick equipped with the necessary skills and experience which employers are looking for.

Ready to find out more?

Visit our Help Desk in the Oculus Building (term time only)

E-mail or Call 024 7652 4748

The Department's Careers Consultant for Economics runs 30 minute ‘careers guidance’ appointments in the Faculty of Social Sciences Careers Office throughout the year and these can be booked via the ‘View Available Appointments’ section on myAdvantage.

For Careers Drop-In times and online resources see

For details of skills workshops


When you apply for jobs you will usually need at least one academic referee who has some general familiarity with your work and progress over a period of time. Your Personal Tutor is one person who will normally do this. You can also ask other members of academic staff (i.e. lecturers and professors) to act as referees as well as or instead of your Personal Tutor, however, graduate teaching assistants and tutors will refer you to a member of academic staff.

Before citing anyone as a referee you should seek their advice and permission. This is both a matter of courtesy and also to give your referee the permission to divulge information about you to third-parties seeking a reference. Please note that if your Personal Tutor or other nominated referee receives a reference request from, say, a potential employer, the nominated referee will be able to report only if they have previously received your explicit permission to produce a reference for that employer.

In order that references can be as accurate and supportive as possible, please supply your referees with copies of your curriculum vitae (CV) and let them know why you are applying. If you believe that you have some quality or experience that is especially relevant to a particular application, please make a point of telling your referees.


Internships exist in a wide variety of industries and settings. An internship may be paid, unpaid, or partially paid (in the form of a stipend). An internship can be used to determine if you have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, and some may find permanent, paid employment with the organisations for which they worked.

It is important to note that Tier 4 students are only entitled to work part time (up to 20 hours per week) until the course end date and may not accept full-time internships during the summer vacation. Guidance on working during your studies can be provided by the Immigration Service.