Last month’s blog looked at the difference subjects you can study in the Social Sciences at Oxbridge. This month’s blog will look into Economics in greater detail.
Economics at Cambridge is a challenging course encapsulating theory, maths, history, finance and politics. In the first year, students study five set papers – Macro Economics, Micro Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Economic History and Politics. The range of subjects means that students have to be able to handle both analystical essay subjects and numeracy through the maths and micro papers. Students sit a three hour exam in each of the five subjects at the end of the first year. (Be warned, you are the LAST set of exams in the first year so watching all your friends have fun whilst you are still studying can be tough).
In the Second year, students must study Macro and Micro Economics and Econometrics but can choose their 4th module out of: Economic Development, Modern Societies, Mathematics and Statistics for Economists, Labour, Analysis of Modern Politics or International Relations. Depending on the option students choose, they will be lectured in/supervised by the Faculty of Economics or HSPS.
In the Third year, students must again study Macro or Micro Economics but for their third option, choose a dissertation on a subject of their choice (although it obviously has to fall under the economic field!) For the fourth and fifth module, students can choose from a wide range of subjects as listed: Economic Theory and Analysis, Banking, Money and Finance, Public Economics, The Economics of Developing Countries, Industry, Theory and Practice of Econometrics and World Depression in the Interwar Years. Unless you are an anomaly, most students have very little guidance on their dissertation so make sure you pick a subject you are very interested in!
Overall, the course is highly theoretical and also heavy on maths. In the first year, students will have a supervision in each paper once every two weeks (so five supervisions every two weeks). Supervisions tend to be 90minutes long and students will hand in an essay or a piece of maths 36 hours before the supervision meaning students will do 4 essays and a piece of maths work every two weeks. The course is very well regarded by employers so very few economists struggle to find a good job after graduating. A study a few years ago found that Economics was one of the hardest courses in which to gain a 1st or 2.1 so be aware of the academic requirements and make sure you’re ready to work hard! Despite the warnings, if you do go ahead, the course is fantastic and teaches you a huge amount – both in terms of economics and in terms of your ability to manage analysis, numeracy skills, discipline, time management and achievement.
If you decide to apply, make sure you are thorough in your research and clear on what the course will entail and read all the blog entries on how to prepare so that you can impress at your interview!