About economics

Within a course of study in economics, there can be great variety. Typically, there are core courses which cover the conceptual foundations of the subject, in the form of courses on economic theory. Theory comes in two flavours: 'micro' economic theory which deals with the behaviour of individuals and firms in markets, and 'macro' theory, which tries to explain the economy as a whole, at national or international levels.

In later years, more advanced courses on theory follow, along with the study of the methods of analysis which economists typically use; in particular the mathematical and statistical tools which underpin economic analysis.

In addition, students may have the opportunity to take courses in economic history or the history of economic thought, as well as economics as applied to particular areas.

For example, a hugely important area now is the economics of the environment. Equally, health economics is of enormous interest to citizens and policy makers alike. You may have options to study courses specifically on the economics of financial markets and money, on the economics of developing countries, the economics of international trade, as well as courses which study the economics of government policies.

For many students, it is this wide applicability of economics across many areas of life (economics is everywhere!) which sparks and sustains their interest, and an undergraduate degree can offer a fascinating tour of this territory.

What do economists do?

What do economists do? In their working lives, the answer is ‘everything’, in principle. Some familiar roles are the economists who attempt to monitor and explain ‘big picture’ events in the national and global economies.

Both public and private sectors value that expertise, and ongoing economic challenges have led to particular demands for graduates who are literate in economics.

In addition, economics graduates work in other areas, right across the spectrum, including for example for health care providers and policy makers, in energy and environmental industries, and in the education and labour market policy domains. Most generally, employers value a good economics graduate’s analytical abilities, and their capacity to manage and interpret data.

A degree in economics provides you with a wide array of both subject-specific and transferable skills, of enormous importance to the world in which we live.

Learn more about careeers in economics