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Guide to studying Economics

Economics is everywhere. It's present in almost every aspect of our lives, financial or otherwise. Study this subject to gain an understanding of the world and its inner workings.

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  1. What's Economics?

  2. Why study Economics?

  3. What jobs can you get as an Economics graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Economics?

Economics is not the study of how to make money. It’s the social science of which factors determine the production and distribution of goods and services in a consumer, capitalist society.

Why study Economics?

Economics has an impact on all walks of life and, true to form, universities offer a large variety of modules to reflect this. You could be studying anything from public policy to environmental economics.

Economics students devote a lot of their learning time to independent study. This equips you for life in the real world, where people are expected to take responsibility for their own development and contribution.

With economics affecting every element of our lives, it follows that the subject complements others so well. Many universities offer dual honours degrees so you can combine your Economics degree with another area of interest.

The case-based learning emphasis in Economics degrees makes it really easy to see how the theory has real-life applications, particularly when considering the recent volatility of global markets. Many universities also offer their the opportunity to apply learning in the working world while studying, with a year in industry.

I have always enjoyed maths but I wanted to do a degree which enabled me to maintain my writing skills as well as my numerical skills. Economics seemed like the perfect fit – it’s a good balance of essay writing and mathematical work.
Holly, University of Durham

My enthusiasm for economics has mainly derived from how economics – its workings, implications and results – influences our everyday decisions, and how it is involved in almost every aspect of society.
Learning and understanding the theory of economics has always interested me, but its application and relevance is what really enticed me.
Lisa, University of Nottingham

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What jobs can you get as an Economics graduate?

Economics degrees teach valuable transferable skills such as presentation, research and communication, as well as how to deal with facts and figures that change every single day.

Particular job roles include accountant, economist, risk analyst, investment banker, statistician, actuary, civil servant, quantity surveyor and in government.

Numerous companies, such as the Wellcome Trust, offer graduate schemes in this subject area. 

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

Requirements vary between each institution, but an A Level (or equivalent) in Mathematics is normally required.

Always confirm the grades and other requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BA Accounting and Economics
  • BA Economics and Finance
  • BA Politics, Philosophy and Economics
  • BA Economics with a foreign language

How will you be assessed?

At most universities where you study a full-time, three-year course, each year is divided into two semesters with exams at the end of each semester. The second year makes up 40% of the total degree, with 60% in the final year. Dissertations are standard in the final year.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include a straight MA in Economics, as well as MSc courses in accounting and financial economics, computer science with internet economics, applied econometrics and development economics.

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