MSc Transport Economics

University of Leeds, Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Program Description

MSc Transport Economics

University of Leeds, Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

This programme, designed for students with a background in economics, will enable you to use economics to first understand and then address transport issues.

You’ll deepen your understanding of economic methodologies and explore how they can be applied to the transport sector. Using methodologies from welfare economics and cost-benefit analysis to regulatory economics and econometric analysis, you’ll examine key policy questions such as:

  • How does the level of taxation affect people’s choice of transport?
  • Which forms of transport regulation have been successful?
  • What role should the state play in owning and operating public transport?
  • Should users pay directly for their personal contribution to environmental damage?

The only course of its type in the UK, this programme allows you to work with leading researchers in world-class facilities to develop a unique skill set.

Research environment

The Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) was established as the UK’s first multi-disciplinary transport department, and we continue to lead the field with our research.

Our reputation allows us to invest in world-class facilities, such as the University of Leeds Driving Simulator – one of the most sophisticated in any university in the world, allowing us to research driver behaviour in controlled lab conditions. We also have access to a variety of specialist software tools including those we’ve developed in-house such as SATURN, PLUTO, DRACULA, MARS and KonSULT.

Part-time study at ITS

This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months, though the programme is flexible and we advise you to allow for taking between 24 and 36 months.

You can also study this programme as a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) qualification full or part-time – this means you’ll study the same content as the MSc but you won’t complete a dissertation.


This programme is recognised by the major professional bodies in the transport sector. It fulfils the educational requirements for membership of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT UK) and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), and provides a pathway towards the Transport Planning Professional (TPP) qualification.

Course content

The academic year begins with an induction week. For the rest of Semester 1, you’ll study core modules that lay the foundations of the programme and develop your knowledge of key principles and topics in transport economics, as well as transport modelling, econometrics and cost-benefit analyses.

This will prepare you to expand your understanding and gain specialist knowledge in Semester 2. You’ll have the chance to focus on a variety of topics such as public transport planning, funding of infrastructure projects, investment appraisal and transport in the context of development.

You’ll gain a range of specialist knowledge and advanced research skills throughout the programme. In your dissertation, you’ll apply these to a project chosen from a wide range of topics. Some topics are suggested and supported by industry, giving you the chance to address a real-world problem and gain experience of working with industry. Your supervisor will support you throughout the process of developing your dissertation topic.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year. The part-time programme is flexible – the quickest route takes 24 months, but you can take up to 36 months if you choose to spend longer working on your dissertation.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time.

You’ll take six compulsory modules including your dissertation, and you’ll also choose three optional modules. PGDip students don’t have to complete the dissertation.

Compulsory modules Optional modules
  • Principles of Transport Economics
  • Welfare Economics and Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Transport Econometrics
  • Shaping Future Transport Systems
  • Economics of Regulation
  • Economic Appraisal and Economic Performance
  • Transport Integrated Project
  • Transport Dissertation
  • Funding for Projects
  • Green Logistics
  • Public Transport Planning and Management
  • Choice Modelling and Stated Preference Survey Design
  • Preference Survey Design
  • System Dynamics: Modelling Policy
  • Transport in Development

Learning and teaching

Postgraduate study involves a range of teaching methods, supported by independent learning. In addition to the traditional lecture and seminar formats, you’ll experience a blend of workshops, computer exercises, practical sessions, directed reading, reflective journal, student-led discussions, fieldwork and tutorials. Modules are arranged so that part-time students can attend one day per week, but this may limit the optional modules available to you. Some modules are taught intensively over 3-5 consecutive days.


Assessment is equally varied and can include coursework essays, case-study reports, group assignments, posters, presentations and exams.

Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in economics (single or joint honours). Graduates from other disciplines with professional qualifications and experience in the sector will also be considered. We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the ITS admissions team. English language requirements IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications. International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. Application deadlines We don’t have a specific application deadline, but we recommend you apply as early as possible, especially if you are hoping to apply for a scholarship. If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help. Documents and information you’ll need
  • Two references
  • Your degree certificate and transcript, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying
  • Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English is not your first language.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa. Fees UK/EU: £6,500 International: £17,000 Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

Students wishing to attend the optional European Field Trip are advised to allow a minimum of £500 for accommodation and travel during the week-long trip. Scholarships and financial support The Institute, the University of Leeds and other organisations administer a number of scholarships each year for UK, EU and international students. Read more about specific funding available for Institute for Transport Studies students. Find out more about help in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government by visiting Postgraduate funding.

Career opportunities

Links with industry ITS has close working relationships with a number of organisations and many employers visit ITS each year to interview our students for graduate schemes and other vacancies. ITS also regularly circulates specific job vacancies to students. Our students are highly sought after and have a good reputation with transport consultants, and may receive a job offer before or shortly after graduation. The organisations that have advertised and/or recruited directly from ITS include Arup, Mott MacDonald, AECOM, Capita, Transpennine Express, Transport for London, Pell Frischmann, Leigh Fisher, JMP, Amey and Hyder among many others. Graduate destinations A degree from ITS opens up a range of opportunities to develop a challenging and rewarding career. Transport consultancies are the largest employers of ITS graduates, but other common careers include those in government, academia, regulatory bodies, transport operators, logistics companies, not-for-profit and international agencies. ITS graduates work across the private and public sectors. Many work abroad, whether for UK companies with overseas offices, for international organisations or for national governments.

Careers support

You’ll be provided with a wide range of support geared towards helping you secure the right employment after graduation. Each year there are a number of events provided both by ITS and the University’s Careers Centre. We have a dedicated Careers Consultant from the Careers Centre who works with ITS students, delivering bespoke presentations and one-to-one consultations with students on their career plans. We also invite former students back to ITS to share their experiences of developing a career in the transport sector.

Field trips

Transport at ITS is an applied subject. We offer plenty of opportunities for students to experience transport systems in action, both within the UK and Europe, allowing you to meet and hear directly from transport professionals and see what you’ve learned in practice. For many of our students, the highlight of their year is the European Field Trip. This week-long trip which takes place after the summer exams and has been a fixture in the ITS calendar since 1987. The itinerary varies from year to year, but has often included Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. Stops en-route have included Pedestrian Centres and Docklands Transport in Rotterdam; Cycle and Traffic Calming Facilities in Delft; the Motorway Traffic Control Centre in Amsterdam; the Guided Bus System in Essen; the Wuppertal Monorail; Town Planning features in Duisburg and Dusseldorf; research talks at the University of Hasselt, and visit to the Brussels Metro.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 28, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
6,500 GBP
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
UK/EU £6,500 ; International £17,000