Transport Economics

Study mode:On campus Study type:Part-time Languages: English
Local:$ 7.63 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 20 k / Year(s)  
160 place StudyQA ranking:7632 Duration:12 months

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This programme is designed for students with a background in economics - it deepens their existing understanding of economic methodologies and applies these to the transport sector. Students learn to use economics to first understand and then address transport issues.

The emphasis is on enabling students to apply techniques to formulate and critically analyse key policy questions, which include:

  • What are the true costs of transport and how can they be measured effectively?
  • Should users pay directly for their personal contribution to environmental damage?
  • How does the level of taxation influence people's choice of transport?
  • Has road congestion charging been a success?
  • What role should the state play in owning and operating public transport?
  • Which forms of transport regulation are most effective?

A set of core methodologies underpins the programme:

  • Welfare economics, appraisal and cost-benefit analysis(social welfare functions; public goods and externalities; private and social discount rates)
  • Economics of production and efficiency measurement(economies of scale, density and scope; measures of productivity and efficiency)
  • Pricing of transport and network industries(first and second best pricing; pricing for congestion and environment effects
  • Regulatory economics (forms of regulation; regulatory price reviews; public versus private ownership; approaches to de-regulation)
  • Econometric analysis: theory and applied(efficiency frontier methods; demand forecasting; discrete choice models of travel behaviour).

It is the only course of its type in the UK and provides a unique skills set. Graduates are in high demand and destinations include central and local government, consultancies, regulators, international agencies and transport operators.

Compulsory modules

  • Principles of Transport Economics
  • Welfare Economics & Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Transport Econometrics
  • Principles of Transport Modelling
  • Economics of Transport Regulation
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

  • Analysing Transport & Society
  • Funding for Projects
  • Global Issues in Transport
  • Green Logistics
  • Public Transport Planning and Management
  • Choice Modelling and Stated Preference Survey Design
  • Transport in Development
  • Transport Investment Appraisal

Students study compulsory modules plus two optional modules. All optional modules are offered subject to a minimum level of demand and thus not all modules may run in any given year. Please contact us for further details.
The programme is offered on a full-time study basis (12 months) or as part-time study (24-36 months).

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Postgraduate study involves a range of teaching methods, supported by independent learning. In addition to the traditional lecture and seminar formats, students experience a blend encompassing workshops, computer exercises, practical sessions, directed reading, reflective journal, student-led discussions and tutorials. Assessment is equally varied and can include coursework essays, case-study reports, group assignments, posters, presentations and exams. Fieldwork also forms an important part of the learning experience and ranges from half-day local site visits to a week-long European field trip.


  • The MA Transport Economics programme is designed for students with an economics background.


Please see:

An honours degree in economics (single/joint honours) or an honours degree in a related discipline with significant economics content.Where English is not the applicant's first language, evidence of competence must be submitted with the application. This is typically in the form of a recent test certificate, such as IELTS, with a score of 6.5 overall and not less than 6.0 in any element. English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL iBT® test: 94 IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more. Work Experience No work experience is required. Other graduates and those with professional qualifications plus experience in the sector will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please also refer to our Admissions Policy document.

ITS, the University of Leeds and other organisations administer a number of scholarships each year for UK, EU and international students. These range from partial course fee payment to full maintenance grants of up to £10000 tax-free plus course fees. Key annual competitions are listed below, but for full details of those currently available, please see the Scholarships Office.

ITS scholarships 2015/16

For the September 2014 intake, ITS is offering up to five fees scholarships for Masters study. These scholarships are designed to provide exceptional opportunities to UK, EU and international students of outstanding ability, achievement and potential.

Other scholarship competitions

UK/EU applicants

  • Brian Large Bursary
  • Rees Jeffreys Road Fund
  • University of Leeds Full-Fee Scholarships
  • Economic & Social Research Council ‘1+3’ (Masters + PhD)
  • Widening Access (2014 intake)

International applicants

  • British Chevening Scholarships
  • British Council Awards
  • Commonwealth Scholarship Plan
  • Commonwealth Shared
  • Scholarship Scheme (DfID)
  • Ford Foundation Fellowships
  • Shell Centenary Scholarships
  • Tetley and Lupton Scholarships
  • Techno Scholarships

There is strong competition for scholarships and early application is essential. For certain scholarship competitions, the procedure is for ITS to nominate which applicants it wishes to put forward for consideration to the awarding body.

Our nomination in these cases is based primarily on academic merit (degree result and references), but relevant previous experience and other factors may also be taken into account.

Other funding sources

Given the competitive nature of scholarships, it makes sense to also explore other possibilities, such as:

  • Sponsorship – some organisations provide funding for their current/future employees.
  • Part-time study over two or more years - this spreads the cost and can be alongside paid employment.
  • Career Development Loans.
  • Charitable trusts, professional bodies and other grant-making organisations.


The programmes are recognised by all the major professional bodies. They all fulfil the educational requirements for membership of CILT (UK) and IHT and provide a pathway towards the Transport Planning Professional (TPP) qualification. The MSc (Eng) programme is an ICE accredited civil engineering course.

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