What is this subject about?
The Economics course explores how governments, firms and individuals can
solve the world’s desire for unlimited needs and wants with the scarce resources
available. Economics will give you the analytical and evaluative skills required to
deal with a range of questions and issues that affect the world today.
What will I study over the two years?
Initially 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.
How is the course assessed?
Assessment is by three written exam papers, each 2
hours long. The exams are multiple choice, data
response and extended open-response questions.
What skills will I need and develop on 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.
What are the formal entry requirements for this course?
Aside from the general entry criteria that the College requires, you will also need a minimum of:
• Grade 4 in GCSE English Language
• Grade 4 in GCSE Maths
Subject combination advice
Subject combination advice:
Mathematics, Politics, Sociology, History and Geography all combine well with the study of Economics.
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!
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?
What makes Business and Economics different from
one another is their different approaches. The
example of their contrasting approaches to
employment issues illustrates the differences
between the subjects:
• In Economics, students investigate why workers are
paid different wages because of differences in their
skills and the scarcity of their skills. Students also
consider how government policy has attempted to
encourage people to take up paid employment, and
has dealt with the issue of migration or changes in
• In Business, however, students consider how
workers and their wages affect companies in term
of costs, competitiveness and profits. For example,
high UK labour costs led to Dyson relocating its
manufacturing facility to Malaysia in order to remain
profitable; or the cause and impact of industrial
action at British Airways; or how Nissan’s use of
lean production techniques resulted in a highly
productive UK workforce which improved the firm’s
competiveness and success.