Postgraduate taught 

Educational Studies MSc

Economics for Education and Public Policy EDUC5959

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Education
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course introduces fundamental reasoning as to why education is important to the economy, why the state has such an interest in education and why it is useful to analyse education from the point of view of economics. This is achieved by exploring four separate but interrelated questions: 1. What is the economy? 2. How does education influence the economy? 3. Why does the state take interest in education policy? 4. How does the state influence education? Through exploring these fundamental issues we shall encounter more specific practical issues, such as: when is a state's funding sustainable?; how should we delimit private and public funding of education?; how can we distribute resources equitably within education systems.



Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Summative assessment is based on an oral presentation (30%) and a written essay (70%).

Course Aims

■ To introduce formal definitions of the economy, their strengths and limitations

■ To critically analyse how economic discourse on education is influenced by the dominant paradigm of neoclassical economics and its assumptions

■ To analyse how education policy affects the economy

■ To critically analyse the reasons why education is part of public policy and explore the implications of different delimitations between the public and private spheres in education

■ To introduce the principles that shape the funding of public policy

■ Explore the implications of different funding models in education

■ Critically reflect on distribution of resources within education with respect to formal principles of equity

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Distinguish between market based and others spheres of economic activity. Define GDP as a measure of economic activity and critically reflect on its strengths and weaknesses

■ Identify the different channels through which education can impact the economy and critically engage with the underlying evidence base.

■ Understand the principles of fiscal sustainability and critically analyse how binding is the budget constraint of national, regional and local governments.

■ Understand the economic principles, which justify state intervention and critically discuss when and how they are appropriate in the context of education.

■ Understand formal definitions of equity in resource allocation and critically analyse how they can be applied to education.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.