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Study Economics, why & how to study

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. What Economics degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto an Economics degree?

  4. What topics does an Economics degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Economics?

  7. What do Economics graduates earn?

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

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Economics

  11. Have any questions?

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.

A degree in Economics may examine theories from company to country level, looking at areas from productivity to profit, inflation to recession, and new models such as the doughnut economy.

What Economics degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Economics include:

  • Accounting and Economics BA
  • Economics and Finance BA
  • Economics and Management BA
  • Economics with a foreign language BA
  • Environmental Policy with Economics BSc

Degrees may include an integrated foundation year or master’s. Placement or study abroad years available.

What do you need to get onto an Economics degree?

Most undergraduate Economics courses ask for 96–160 UCAS points. Not every university will base their offer on UCAS points and some courses may have lower or higher requirements. Qualifications may include:

  • A Levels: A*A*A–CCC
  • BTECs: D*D*D*–MMM
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–BBBB (Advanced Highers: AAB–AA)
  • International Baccalaureate: 42–26
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: maths at A Level (or equivalent)

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Further maths or economics
  • General studies and critical thinking A Levels may be excluded from offers

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Work experience or shadowing in a related area such as an accountant, bank, business development department in a council, or social enterprise
  • Reading books about the subject, or media like The Economist, Financial Times or business news sources
  • Listening to talks or podcasts such as those produced by the Society of Professional Economists
  • Entering essay competitions run by the Royal Economic Society, Adam Smith Institute, Bank of England or others
  • If eligible, summer schools run by the Sutton Trust or UNIQ

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science, if taken at A Level
  • Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities

What topics does an Economics degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Econometrics
  • Economic development and growth
  • Elementary statistical theory
  • Environmental economics
  • International political economy
  • Macroeconomics
  • Mathematical methods for economists
  • Microeconomics
  • Principles of finance
  • Quantitative methods
  • The world economy: history and theory

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module, and may include:

  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Project work

Why study Economics?

Economics affects nearly all aspects of our lives. It's a broad subject area that equips you with the skills needed in a large variety of sectors and professions.

Career-specific skills:

  • Dealing with facts and figures that change every single day will develop strong critical and analytical thinking skills
  • Strong understanding of economic theory, including micro and macroeconomics
  • Data analysis and modelling, and use of quantitative methods
  • Experience of trading rooms on some degrees

Transferable skills:

  • Commercial awareness
  • Communication
  • IT literacy
  • Logical reasoning
  • Numerical and statistical skills
  • Problem solving
  • Strategic planning
  • Time management

Professional accreditation:

  • Degrees may be accredited by a range of professional accountancy bodies, most commonly the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), leading to exemptions from some professional exams
  • Some degrees may be accredited or endorsed by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), providing a pathway toward Chartered Manager status and possibly a dual CMI Level 5 qualification

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

What do Economics graduates earn?

Starting salaries for Economics graduates are between £18,000–£29,700.

You could join the highly competitive Government Economic Fast Stream and be paid £28,000–£32,000 while you train. After promotion you could earn up to £55,000. Average salaries for an experienced economist are around £85,000 – or more, particularly for those in the financial services sector.

Alternatively, working in economic development for local government, you could grow the area’s economy and earn from £28,000–£59,500, depending on seniority.

What jobs can you get as an Economics graduate?

A degree in Economics could lead to work within government, the financial markets or even as a forensic accountant.

  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Data analyst
  • Economist
  • Government policy advisor
  • Investment banker
  • Management consultant
  • Quantity surveyor
  • Risk analyst
  • Statistician
  • Tax consultant

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

You may need a first degree that included economics in order to further your studies at postgraduate level. Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at postgraduate level include:

  • Behavioural and Economic Science MSc
  • Economics for Development MSc
  • Economics and Econometrics MSc
  • Economics MSc/MPhil/PhD
  • Public Economics MSc

Similar subjects to Economics

If you’re interested in the workings of society or simply love figures, you could also consider:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with our experts by emailing with your question about studying Economics. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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