Students in the foyer of the Faculty of Business and Law building

MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate

Global Political Economy

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Bristol Business School
Frenchay Campus
One year full-time; two years part-time
Full-time; part-time
Programme leader:
Dr Susan Newman
Key fact:
If you have a relevant degree or experience, you can hone your skills in economic development and research on this masters degree. Learning from practising professionals and experienced tutors, you'll develop a broad-based understanding of global issues and apply this to real-world challenges.

Page last updated 3 November 2017


Why study MSc Global Political Economy?

Why are some countries rich and others poor? What determines the structure of the global economy? Who are the most powerful players? What is the future of globalisation?

The global economy is changing rapidly. Understanding these changes requires knowledge and insight from a range of disciplines including economics, politics and law.

Why study our course?

If you have relevant professional or voluntary experience, or a degree in international relations, politics, economics, business, sociology or law, this course will equip you with a unique interdisciplinary and applied approach to answering these crucial questions and more.

Starting from the origins of globalisation, you will examine the evolution of global production, distribution and trade. You will study the changing nature of global interaction between nations, businesses, labour and other interest groups. You will also learn about the role and influence of emerging economies, and gain an understanding of the different patterns and levels of economic development.

Real-world experience

Learning draws on the extensive experience of our cross-departmental teaching staff as well as guest speakers who come in to talk about current issues. You will apply this through examining case studies on the challenges and opportunities of the global economy. You can also access support finding relevant placements and internships that draw on the contacts and experience of our tutors.

Where it can take you

On graduation, you will have a solid understanding of the issues facing businesses, workers and nations in the global economy. You will have skills in policy analysis and development, preparing you for a wide range of rewarding careers in international organisations, government and non-government organisations (NGOs). These skills are also sought after by multinational enterprises, research organisations, charities, and industry associations.

You will also be prepared to continue studying to PhD level in fields such as economics, development economics, politics, the political economy, development studies and international relations.



The Postgraduate Certificate is made up of 60 credits from the core and optional modules.

The Postgraduate Diploma is made up of 120 credits from the core and optional modules.

Core modules (15 credits each)

  • The Rise of the Global Economy - explores the origins of, and developments in, the global economy. Looking at the rise and impact of the great powers; the structure and pattern of wealth and poverty across the globe; and the economy's institutional structure, you will be equipped to critically engage with issues and trends in the global economy today.
  • The World Trade Organisation and the Global Trading System - explores the changing nature of the global trade system since WWII and the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its evolution. In particular, we will assess the role and influence of emerging economies in the WTO and analyse the future of the WTO and the global trading system.
  • Emerging Markets
  • The Politics of Trade Negotiation - considers the complex multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations that have taken place since WWII.

Optional modules

The following are 15 credits each:

  • Contemporary Policy Analysis
  • Globalisation and the Law
  • International Financial Crime
  • Econometrics
  • Political Economy.

The following are 30 credits each:

  • Economic Theory and Policy
  • Politics of Latin-American Underdevelopment
  • Europe in the World
  • Global Governance.


To achieve a Masters, as well as 120 credits from the modules above, you must also complete a dissertation. This gives you the chance to research an area of the global political economy, in depth, which is of particular interest to you or of relevance to your career or company.

Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The course takes an interdisciplinary approach, so you will be taught by tutors from different departments across the university. Our economics department is world-renowned for its pluralist research and teaching. Many of our tutors are leading scholars in their respective fields, with experience advising governments and conducting research for major institutions including The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

You will learn through a variety of activities, which include lectures, tutor-led and student-led group discussions, seminars, projects, case studies, and field trips to conferences.

For more details, see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

Studying full-time, this course takes one year to complete. If you study part-time, you will complete the same modules over two or three years.

Taught modules are delivered over the first two semesters with the dissertation forming the main element in the final term. If necessary, additional time will be given to complete the dissertation.


You will be assessed through a range of techniques including tutor assessment, peer review and feedback. We will test your knowledge, and intellectual, subject-specific and transferable skills through a combination of exams, essays, case studies, presentations, projects and simulation games. And we will test your skills informally through class interaction during work on academic research, case studies, practical exercises and experiential exercises.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.



You can access help finding internships or work placements relating to your areas of interest. These may be in organisations such as the Overseas Development Institute, the Office for National Statistics or an international development organisation in the United Nations.


If you want to do field work or collect original data for your studies, your dissertation supervisor will assist you to do this.

Study facilities

Located in our new £55 million Faculty of Business and Law building, you will have everything you need to do well in your studies.

  • Access a wealth of resources in our 24/7 library, which includes books, print and electronic journals, magazines, government publications, newspapers, market reports and videos.
  • Study in a choice of flexible learning spaces with wireless Internet access and areas for group working.

Find out more about our industry leading facilities and resources.

Network and learn

This course is open to students from a variety of backgrounds including social sciences, english, and journalism as well as physical sciences and engineering. The course is relevant to students with either qualitative or quantitative research interests.

Learn about the latest issues and network with industry at our programme of guest speakers and events in the faculty and university.


Careers / Further study

On graduation, you will have advanced skills in policy development and negotiation, preparing you for a wide range of rewarding careers in international organisations, government and NGOs.

You can also choose to continue your studies to PhD level in fields such as economics, development economics, politics, the political economy, development studies, and international studies.

Creating employable students

UWE places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and UWE initiatives which nurture talent and encourage innovation, students gain valuable real world experience and graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.


Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee7000
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583
International-Full Time-Award Fee13250
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1104

Part time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583

Supplementary fee information

Further information about fees and funding.


Entry requirements

You will need:

  • an honours degree of 2:2 or above in any subject or an equivalent professional qualification; or
  • an HND or an equivalent business professional award at Level 4 plus two years' relevant work experience; or
  • substantial relevant professional experience.

English Language Requirement

If English is not your first language, you will be required to meet the UK Border Agency and Universities minimum English Language requirements such as the International English Language Test (IELTS) overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.

For further details please see our English Language requirements pages.

How to apply

Please apply online. Applications for the course may be submitted at any time of year and the deadline for applications is 1 September for study that same academic year.

Continuing support with English proficiency is available during the course free of charge. If English is not your first language, a pre-sessional course in English can help you to get the most from this course.

For further information

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