The Wealth of Nations SPS5018

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The Course covers the history of economic thought from Adam Smith to the present day with a particular focus on trade, markets and globalisation. By examining the ideas of the most influential political economists students will become familiar with the theoretical underpinnings of our ideas about global trade.


Teaching Sessions will take place once per week, lasting approximately two hours.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to the MSc Global Economy requires a II.I degree or equivalent

Recommended Entry Requirements

Excluded Courses







One 1000 word essay: 25%

One 3500 word essay: 75%


In accordance with the University's Code of Assessment reassessments are normally set for all courses which do not contribute to the honours classifications. For non honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students, and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions are listed below in this box.

Course Aims

This course aims

to introduce students to the history of economic thought;

to familiarize students with the main arguments for and against global free markets;

to analyse and critically engage with these arguments in the light of our practical experience of globalisation; and

to think critically about the nature and causes of wealth.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. understand and critically assess Adam Smith's account of the Wealth of Nations and the legacy of this defence of free trade in c19 and c20 arguments about globalisation;

2. compare and contrast the main theories of global free markets and globalisation and the major criticisms of globalisation;

3. analyse and critically assess the contemporary theoretical and philosophical debate surrounding globalisation;

4. apply the critical skills of political economy in a contemporary setting;

5. apply the theoretical discussions of political economy to practical issues in political and economic life.

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.