Discover if economics is a subject for you...

Want to study Economics?

There are more than eighty economics degree programmes on offer at universities in England, Scotland and Wales. Typical offers range from CCC (or equivalent) at London Metropolitan University to A*A*A* at Cambridge.

Economics will appeal to you if you are:

  • … curious about the way the world works
  • … an analytical thinker who is not scared of data.

You don’t need to have studied economics before

No degree programme in the UK requires economics A level. While it is true that most people will have studied economics at school, having economics A level has been shown to give University of Bristol students no advantage when it comes to their final degree – students with and without economics A level do equally well.

…nor do you need to have studied maths at A level

Economics has a reputation for being very mathematical. About one-quarter of economics degree programmes require maths A level and some universities, such as the London School of Economics and Cambridge, like you to have taken further maths if your school offers it. But there are plenty of options if you haven’t done maths A level. You are likely to get some quantitative courses, so you have to be comfortable with mathematical concepts. Above all, you shouldn’t feel scared of data – a good economist is someone who sees a set of numbers and wants to figure out the story behind them.

Most economics degree programmes will give you basic grounding in macro-economics (how the economy works) and mico-economics (how people and firms behave) and quantitative methods. As you move through the second and third years, you will get more choice and be able to specialise in the areas of economics that interest you – whether that’s development economics, behavioural economics, international economics, history of economic thought, economic policy or advanced theory or econometrics. One of the great things about an economics degree is just how broad it is.

But whatever you specialise in, an economics degree will train you to think analytically and will also give you some technical skills in data handling. You will also get some experience in essay or report writing. A good economist is someone who can communicate technical knowledge in a clear way. 

You will also find economics offered as part of many joint degree programmes including with management, accounting, finance, politics, philosophy, maths, psychology, law. The advantage of a joint degree is that you get to study a second, complementary discipline; the downside is that you won’t get so much economics (!) and you may not have such a wide range of economics options.

Have a look around and see what course interests you. We are pretty sure that anyone thinking of applying to university will be able to find an economics degree for them.

Here’s why female University of Bristol students recommend studying economics:

“I would definitely recommend economics as a degree. If I was applying to university again I would pick it again without doubt. Doing it as a degree subject means you get a lot of choice about which modules you take and you can really choose the parts of economics that interest you most. It also gives you a wide range of skills – both essay-writing and mathematics – and I think that many employers see it as a good degree.”

“If economics is something that interests you, and when you read newspapers and see the news and you wish you knew more about what people were saying, definitely study economics! I feel a lot more commercially aware, and I had more confidence when applying for graduate schemes being confident and comfortable to talk about current affairs.”

“It is so current, interesting and the skills I have felt I have learnt over the past three years I think really will help me in jobs I go into in the future.”

“For any girls wishing to study economics because you love it and think it’s highly interesting: you’re right, do it. For any girls who want to be on a very high salary after leaving university and think studying economics is a good route to that: if you are willing to work very hard, you’re also right, do it. Finally, if you want to help change the lives of many for the better, and think economics will give you the tools to do so: you’re also right, economics sounds like the subject for you.”

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