Why Study Economics?

By Best, Miriam | Teaching Business & Economics, Autumn 2010 | Go to article overview

Why Study Economics?


Best, Miriam, Teaching Business & Economics


Why should your students consider studying economics at degree level? The Economics Network's website (whystudyeconomics.ac.uk) attempts to answer this question, guiding A-level students through the difficult decision of choosing a degree course and encouraging students who might otherwise not consider a degree in economics that it is a worthwhile subject. It also provides information to students and parents. This year the website has been relaunched with a brand new look. But why should students consider economics and what can they expect?

Over 95 departments in UK universities offer economics degrees, including a whole range of joint and specialised degrees such as international economics, money and banking, business economics, industrial economics, natural resource economics and agricultural economics. Typically, students will experience a generic first year at university, which builds a solid foundation that allows them to specialise in later years. So what can they expect in their first year? The core modules are likely to be on microeconomics and macroeconomics, along with a module on quantitative methods for economists, and students will take three or more other modules, choosing, for example, from subjects such as economic history, the economics of gambling, international business or financial systems, or from modules in other disciplines such as politics or sociology. Students can expect around 10-15 hours of contact time a week, consisting of a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials. In addition, students will be expected to do self-guided study.

So what do students need to get onto an economics degree course? Only a handful of institutions state that maths ?-level is a prerequisite - although most economics departments will demand that students have maths GCSE at grade C or above - and a maths ?-level would stand students in good stead on more quantitative economics degree courses. No department states that an economics ?-level is necessary. So, students can do whatever ?-levels they like, but universities may look more favourably on candidates who have studied related subjects at A-level, such as geography, statistics or a social science. With this in mind, students who have some quantitative ability may enjoy economics a little more, as will those who enjoy working through problems and who are interested in current affairs. …

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