Michael Plouffe

Teaching and Research Supervision


Class outlines and reading lists are available here, but may not be as current as those obtained through UCL Moodle. Current students are directed to refer to the appropriate Moodle page.

Dissertation Supervision

I supervise undergraduate and MSc dissertations.

I cannot advise MPhil/PhD students as the primary/senior supervisor. Potential PhD students' projects should possess a significant quantitative component and substantive focus that directly relates to my own research interests, both substantively and geographically. Potential PhD students contacting me without a clear proposal that meets these simple expectations should not expect to receive a response; I receive too many emails as it is.

Substantive Topics for MSc Supervision

Business-government relations, Comparative/International political economy, Data-driven approaches to cybersecurity, Financial development/innovation, Firm heterogeneity, Fisheries management, Immigration, Industrial organization, International trade, Monetary policy, Political economy of East Asia, Production networks/Value chains

I am not interested in the following topics

Chinese aid/FDI to Africa, Foreign aid, Grand strategy, International institutions

Methodological Approaches for MSc Supervision

I supervise quantitative projects and qualitative projects using a design-based comparative-case approach.

  • Applied econometrics (OLS, MLE, GEE, GMM, etc.)
  • Comparative cases (MDS, MSS)
  • Multilevel models
  • Nonparametric analysis (lasso, matching, etc.)
  • Network analysis

Supervision Resources

Reference Letters

For those students with whom I have interacted, I am generally willing to write reference letters. For those of you who would like me to write a reference, keep in mind that you should ask faculty members who know you well and who can speak positively of your academic abilities. For example, if you fail one of my classes, I am highly unlikely to write a good reference for you. The same logic applies if you took one of my larger classes and did not actively participate in seminars or attend office hours. For personal tutees, I am a good potential reference, but you will need to update me on your academic and extracurricular activities; I am happy to chat about these in person.

If you would like a reference letter from me, please include your current CV/resumé and your cover letter for the position to which you are applying. Including an unblinded copy of the paper(s) (in other words, a version without your candidate ID) you wrote for my class is helpful, but not necessary. You should also indicate how the reference will be submitted; if not online, arranging delivery and ensuring confidentiality is up to you (which has the potential to impact the influence of the reference itself).