15th August 12
What A Levels will I need to study Economics at University, and where should I go?
This is one of the most popular and, therefore, most competitive degree courses out there. The best universities in the country will ask you for straights As at A Level, and a large number of applicants will actually take four. If you want to study Economics at university you’ll probably need excellent GCSEs as well!
The top twenty universities in the country want a Maths A Level as well. That is a given. The very best institutions say Further Maths is desirable, and they also like it if you’ve got an A Level in Economics as well.
According to The Complete University Guide, the best universities for Economics are:
The London School of Economics – Department of Economics – A typical offer at LSE for 2012 is one A* and two As at A Level. They will ask for an A* star in A Level Maths.
The University of Oxford – Department of Economics – Three As at A Level is the usual offer from Oxford. Although it’s not mandatory, they say A Level in Maths is “preferred”, so if you know what’s good for you, you better have one.
The University of Cambridge – Faculty of Economics – Cambridge are likely to offer you A*AA. An A* in A Level Maths is needed, and an A Level in Economics is desirable.
University College London – Department of Economics – A typical UCL offer is A*AA.. You’ll need at least an A* in Maths A Level as well. An added AS Level is looked on favourably
University of Warwick – Department of Economics – Warwick will usually ask for A*AA, with at least an A in A Level Maths. However, if you take Further Maths as a fourth A Level, they are more likely to accept you.
Because of the highly competitive nature of Economics, and the difficulty in getting on courses at the top universities – for LSE there were fifteen applicants for every single place in 2012 – your personal statement is vitally important. This is a chance to stand out from the crowd and show the university that you are more committed to and interested in the subject than the next applicant. Your personal statement should make it absolutely clear how interested you are in Economics, your abilities and experience thus far, and your understanding of the subject and the impact it has on society as a whole.
For some excellent advice on writing your personal statement, visit The Student Room for some great hints and tips from past and present students of the subject.
Once I’m there, what can I expect?
We’ve talked about the need to have a really good grasp of Maths, and there will be a lot of number crunching, and you will be faced with a large amount of statistics, formulae and economic theories. But the subject is essentially a Social Science, and many students chose to take it as a joint degree, some of the most popular combinations being:
Economics combines analytical investigation with economic theory, and students learn how wealth is accumulated or lost, how this influences income, and predicts business and financial trends. You will study the history of economics, learning about the most famous economists and their theories, how they succeeded and, in some cases, failed. And then you will have a chance to demonstrate your own.
What skills will I develop?
You will develop a specialised understanding of global economics concepts and principals, and economic theory and modelling approaches. You will learn how to apply your new found economic reasoning to policy issues. You will develop amazing analytical and reasoning skills, and be able to present your results and theories clearly, concisely and persuasively to experts and laymen alike.
What will my career prospects be like?
Great. In a word. Graduates often find themselves is the most upwardly mobile, well paid jobs in the market. In addition, Economics is an incredibly transferrable skill. You could go and work in finance, banking,accounting, and business. Your degree will afford you a wide range of opportunities.