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Save Sheffield’s MSc Economics & Health Economics!

The news was recently shared that the University of Sheffield will no longer run its MSc Economics & Health Economics course. If there was ever a time that this course is important, it is now. Please sign the petition below to encourage the university to reinstate the course.

You can read about the course on the University’s website. It was jointly run by the Department of Economics and the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). Herein lay its value. It was one of only a few Masters courses in the UK that equipped students with a solid foundation in economics and applied training in a health economist’s day-to-day work.

The reasons for the university’s decision to terminate the course have not been formally shared. My guess is that the reasons relate to the commercial value of a course that has – on average – enrolled just 6 or 7 students each year.

Please sign the petition below if you think that the course should be reinstated. Please also consider adding a comment to this blog post, especially if you are a past student, a current employee of the University of Sheffield, or somebody who has worked with graduates from the course.

Your email address will not be used for any purpose other than confirming your identity in relation to this petition (please check your spam). It will not be shared with any third party and you will not be added to any mailing lists.


  • 2021-04-12: Having reached our initial target of 104 signings, I have submitted our petition to the department heads. Please continue to sign the petition. I will re-submit it as we reach new milestones (e.g. 200, 500, 1 million).
  • 2021-05-04: Prof Steve McIntosh, head of the department of economics, has agreed that I can share his email response:

Despite having to pause some activity due to the current pandemic we would like to continue teaching this important specialism. We are looking to refresh how we teach our Masters Programmes in the future to give our students the best possible experience – including being part of a diverse cohort of peers. Whilst this might mean that this is no longer run as a stand alone course, the important content that our graduates have benefitted from will still exist – if in a slightly different format. ScHARR will also continue to run the Health Economics and Decision Modelling Masters Programme, which contains a lot of the same content.

I hope this reassures you that we are committed to teaching a well rounded curriculum both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, which is reviewed regularly to ensure we provide high-quality teaching to our students, and includes health economics as well as other important global issues.

We wish our alumni from the programme all the best for the future and hope they are able to stay in touch with us in the years ahead.

Prof Steve McIntosh, 28th April 2021
  • 2021-05-09: Please continue to sign the petition! One way we can help to make the case for continuing the course is by demonstrating the success of its graduates. In particular, we can make information about graduates’ careers more readily accessible to any faculty members who need ammunition in their defence of the course. You can help with this even if you are not a graduate of the course. For instance, you can help by increasing membership of this LinkedIn group, either by joining yourself (if you are a graduate) or inviting others to do so. Please also share with me the name of any alumnus who has an author page on RePEc and I will add them to this list. If you graduated from the course and you have not registered on RePEc, you can do so here.


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Sohaib Asghar
Sohaib Asghar
3 years ago

I’m a graduate of the MSc Economics and Health Economics course; and my sentiments are akin to those of Chris, Ankur, Alastair, and Craig.

The decision is difficult for me to comprehend. It’s regressive, short-sighted – what passion for health economics and ability to think critically I have stems from Prof. Aki Tsuchiya’s Socratic method and her tutelage, which have left an enduring imprint on me in ever since.

3 years ago

It’s a pity that NIHR no longer do the studentships for MSc medical statistics/health economics. They do pre-doctoral fellowships which incorporate a MSc, but this is a more complicated type of funding which requires a longer term commitment from the student. I think the Sheffield course would have attracted more high-quality applicants if the NIHR studentships still existed, and some were allocated to the Sheffield course.

Sarah Roberts
3 years ago

Its a real shame that the Sheffield MSc is being discontinued, but I know that I personally didn’t apply there because the maths requirements were very high. A lot of health economists come to the profession as a second career, often from healthcare, and the course never seemed to be open to people coming through that route who didn’t do A level maths or economics undergraduate degrees. It is a pity because every Sheffield graduate I’ve met has been sterling, and all the courses, talks and HESG presentations I’ve attended have been inspiring.

Craig Bennison
Craig Bennison
3 years ago

I graduated in 2011, and consider the course completely instrumental to supporting my career. It has a unique mix of fundamental economic theory as well as practical applications.

It’s a real shame it has been discontinued and I would strongly urge UoS to reconsider its termination.

Alastair Canaway
Alastair Canaway
3 years ago

Of the 8 in our cohort, I believe at least 4 have gone on to do PhD’s and at least 5 work in academia. I’d say that pretty successful for an MSc.

3 years ago

I don’t necessarily believe that the purpose of academia should be to prepare people for a particular career, however given that ship has sailed….

my strong belief is that there would be much higher demand for the MSc Health Economics, if only Health Economics was on the radar of students and employers and they realised how useful and beneficial it is. I guess this is always the difficulty with a relatively new discipline, but rather than scrapping the MSc why not do the reverse and promote Health Economics at undergraduate level, either through a BSc Economics with Health or at least by offering a Health Economics module on Economics degrees, or team up with government departments to offer an BSc MSc apprenticeship type qualification? Scrapping an MSc in a topic that undergraduates and employers have little exposure to seems like it’s not being given a fair chance of succeeding.

Ankur Pandya
Ankur Pandya
3 years ago

Even in the US, Sheffield has such a strong reputation/brand in this area that I hope (on behalf of the field of health economics) that there is a way to make this program financially viable for the institution. My strong belief there is a way to reverse this decision that ultimately benefits all parties given the demand for this kind of high-caliber training the increasing in demand for this content from students (at least at our institution).

Ankur Pandya
Ankur Pandya
Reply to  Ankur Pandya
3 years ago

Here is the typo-free (or fewer-typo, anyway) version 🙂

Even in the US, Sheffield has such a strong reputation/brand in this area that I hope (on behalf of the field of health economics) that there is a way to make this program financially viable for the institution. My strong belief there is a way to reverse this decision that ultimately benefits all parties given: (1) the demand for this kind of high-caliber training from academic and non-academic employers alike; and (2) the increasing demand for this content from students (at least at our institution).

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