What is this subject about?

Economics is the study of how individuals and groups make decisions with limited resources so as to best satisfy their wants, needs and desires. You will study basic economic concepts and theories such as supply and demand, the operation of markets for goods, services and labour, reasons why markets sometimes fail (e.g. the recent problems in the financial and housing markets) and how policies can be used to remedy such failure. You also look at the key features and measures of the UK economy such as unemployment, inflation and economic growth, which will help you to understand, and comment upon, government policy. Key topics in the second year of the course are business economics and the labour market. You also examine the global economy, including financial markets, and the role of the state in the macroeconomy. You then examine and explore the economies of developing countries and consider wider issues such as poverty, aid and debt.

What will I study in the first year?

Introduction to markets and market failure; The UK economy – performance and policies.

What will I study in the second year?

Business behaviour and the labour market; The global economy.

How is the course assessed?

Through written examinations only. The exams are multiple choice, data response and extended open-response questions.

What skills will I need for this course?

Good written and numerical skills are essential, but also a real interest in how the economy works and current economic affairs.


What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

Degrees in Economics and related subjects. Economists work in a variety of fields such as the city markets, financial services, government and administration and business services.

Entry Requirements

What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Aside from the general entry criteria that the College requires, you will also need a grade 4 in GCSE English Language and a grade 4 in GCSE Maths.

Do I need to do A Level Maths with Economics?

No, you can study Economics at A Level without A Level Maths although the content of maths in the Economics syllabus has increased and you will be required to undertake calculations and interpret data throughout the two years. However, A Level Maths is VERY STRONGLY RECOMMENDED if you are considering studying Economics at degree level. Many competitive universities will require high grades in A Level Maths and will not consider your application for Economics without it. Having said that, there are also some universities who WILL take students on to degree courses without A Level Maths!

Extra Support

What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer?

As well as the subject tutorials, the Economics department has run visits to financial institutions and student conferences.

Subject combination advice

What courses would combine well with this subject?

Mathematics, Politics, Sociology, History and Geography all combine well with the study of Economics.

Can I combine Economics with Business Studies A Level?

A very limited number of universities prefer students not to study Business Studies and Economics (mainly Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol) but students who have studied both at A Level have gone on to leading universities such as Exeter, Durham and London School of Economics.

What is the difference between Economics and Business Studies?

Economics is a social science that attempts to explain how the actions and decisions of firms, consumers, workers and governments affect the operation of the economy. It plays a huge role in our daily lives; it has links to international affairs and politics and is a subject that is often debated and discussed. It requires a fair deal of analysis and includes topics such as supply and demand, growth, inflation, globalisation and exchange rates.

Business studies is more concerned with the actions and decisions taken by firms and focuses on topics such as marketing, staff in the organisation, accounting and finance, management, strategy and production methods. Business studies students will also have to cover some Economics, as it affects how businesses operate in their external environments.