International Trade Economics (Professional studies)

The global financial crisis of 2008, pandemic disruptions, changing global economic polarity, the exit of the UK from the EU and the Ukraine war have thrown a spotlight on the importance of international trade flows for economic stability and growth. The legal frameworks, finance, security and supply chains that underpin international trade are all areas of growing relevance and form the basis of the new programme of study.

The new suite of four modules were designed for flexibility and speed of delivery for professionals. The aims are to update the theoretical and practical skills of the learner to be able to get to grips with the new global trade environment.

Each module can be taken as a standalone and at different levels of academic credit. All four modules can be taken together and if studied at the 15-credit level, will qualify for a PG Certificate in International Trade Economics. Modules can be taken quarterly up to a 12- month horizon to complete all. All materials for the course are provided electronically via The University of Buckingham library and Microsoft Teams course pages and all can be accessed remotely. The course will start in Spring 2022.


International trade economics

As international trade is a permanent feature of modern life understanding the basis of that trade and its implications for businesses and workers becomes more important. This module aims to ground students in the core theoretical models used in the economics of international trade, their implications for public policy and their application to real-world case studies. Students will gain a deep understanding of trade models from Ricardian comparative advantage models to Hecksher-Ohlin and Krugman’s New Trade Theory models. Students will learn about how to use international trade data and tariff data to analyse country-level trade patterns and to analyse potential policy responses. The module will analyze free trade agreements and recent trends in international trade (like the increase in the importance of the trade in services, or the effect of the COVID pandemic on the characteristic of international trade). The module also aims to ground students in the theory and understanding of the drivers of inward and outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). These skills will be transferable for careers in academia, third-sector policy research, international organisations, commercial trade teams, and civil servants.

Trade finance

International trade is heavily dependent on financing. This module aims to ground students in the essential technical and theoretical aspects of modern trade payments systems and financing for trade via financial institutions like banks and other types of intermediaries. The module combines practical micro-level understanding of the wide variety of trade transactions, their regulations and specific trade products and their financing. Learners will also gain an understanding of the broader economic context in which this financing occurs including currency risk and hedging these risks with various financial instruments. The module focuses on 4 key elements; Traditional Trade Finance Products, Trading on Open Account, Hedging Foreign Exchange Risk and Hedging Programmes & Project Finance.

Cybersecurity and International trade

Growing international trade comes with increased risks as well as opportunity. This module aims to ground learners in the evolving cybersecurity threats to international trade networks, and in the most effective and appropriate policy responses for governments and companies. Students will gain an understanding of the cybersecurity threat landscape, and its varied manifestations, from crime and theft of IP, to disruption related to political developments. Broader security theory such as the difference between Realist and Idealist approaches to threat and policy will be developed to frame understanding. While cybersecurity is, at root, an intensely technical issue, the aim of this module is to equip a much broader constituency of managers and policy-makers with the essential language and understanding of technical threats to international trade, at a level that does not require technical prerequisites.

International Trade Law

Trade occurs within a diverse range of legal frameworks. This module aims to provide learners the opportunity to acquire a broad understanding of some of the legal principles and institutional structure that underpin and facilitate the business of multilateral trade carried through the World Trade Organization (WTO). Learners should gain a critical understanding of the formation of the GATT 1947 to the emergence of WTO in 1995, which has been the forum where the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and trade liberalisation in Goods and Services are sought to be achieved. The course will also examine the underlying principles of the WTO, i.e., MFN and NT treatment obligations; the dispute settlement at the WTO, and Regional Trade Agreements (FTAs, PTAs, and customs unions). The course is intended to enable learners from different legal and cultural traditions to feel confident and be critically familiar with the method of international trade negotiations and dispute resolution at the WTO. It is intended to be a broadening experience in terms of the ethics of the process at trade negotiations, as it impacts developing and least developed countries the most.

Types of assessment and credit

Each module can be taken as a standalone course and will last for one day (five hours of teaching) and all teaching done online, but live. The modules will run over two weeks and be staggered to allow all four to be completed, if so desired. The four modules will be offered at a quarterly frequency. (Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn). The first entry will be in Spring 2022.

The level of assessment is flexible and determines the academic level of the award. There are 3 types:

  • Non-credit
  • 5 unit ( level 7)
  • 15 unit (level 7)

Non-credit modules carry no assessment

Assessment for 5-unit credit modules are in-class tests.

Assessment for 15-unit credit modules is one supervised 2500 to 3000-word essay based on extended reading.

If all four modules are completed at the 15-unit level – the student will gain a Postgraduate Certificate (Pg. Cert) in International Trade Economics.

Contact Details

For further enquiries please contact:

Miss Rosie Morgan (Admissions)

Dr Ali Kabiri (Programme Director)