Economics

Julia Shvets teaching Economics taster session at the Women in Mathematics residential
                Dr Julia Shvets teaching an Economics taster class at the
                                Women in Mathematics Residential

 

Director of Studies: Dr Julia Shvets

Other Fellows in Economics: 
Professor Sanjeev GoyalDr William Peterson, Dr Alexander Rodnyansky

WebsitesUniversity WebsiteUniversity Admissions Website

Events: Economics Taster Day

On this page you will find the following information: 

 

The Cambridge Economics degree

The University of Cambridge offers both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Economics. Undergraduate teaching takes two main forms: lectures and small-group meetings called 'supervisions'. The Faculty of Economics organizes lectures for all Economics undergraduates in Cambridge. The supervisions are arranged by each College for its own students.

Cambridge's undergraduate programme in Economics (BA in Economics) is three years long. The curriculum consists of several compulsory courses (called 'papers'):

  1. microeconomics
  2. macroeconomics and
  3. some combination of mathematics, statistics and econometrics (application of statistical techniques to economic problems).

From the second year onwards, students can also choose between a number of optional papers to study particular areas in greater depth. Amongst others, second year options include labour economics, international trade and development, mathematics and statistics for economics, and history and philosophy of economics. The third year options make up a longer list, including, for example, industrial economics, public economics, banking and finance, and advanced econometrics (for more details, see the Faculty of Economics website)

In their final year, students write a dissertation on a topic of their choice. Here are some of the many questions our students have explored in their dissertations: 

  • Does CEO pay structure push them to take more risks?
  • Do longer-serving politicians get more 'pork' for their constituents? 
  • Who do charities like Oxfam give their money to and why? 

To see one example, click here for the work of Christ's alumnus Sajan Shah, who won the Faculty or Economics Adam Smith prize for Best Dissertation in 2018 for his work 'The price of free education: Extracting the school quality premium in housing using Brighton and Hove's school admission reforms'. 
 

Christ's students

Every year, Christ's admits about six or seven undergraduate and four to six postgraduate students in Economics. This creates a community of about 30 Economics students at Christ's. We are lucky to have students from all over the world: alongside British nationals our current group of Economists includes students from China, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Russia and Singapore. Our students' performance  in economics has been consistently outstanding. Over the last ten years Christ's students have achieved on average the highest scores for economics across the University.

After completing their Economics degree Christ's undergraduates typically join financial institutions and consultancies (for example Goldman Sachs, UBS and KPMG), work as research economists for the World Bank, government ministries, businesses, central banks, and pursue postgraduate degrees at various schools around the world (recently including Princeton, UCL, Yale, and Stanford). There have been exceptions, an opera singer and an orchestra conductor are also among Christ's economics alumni.
 

Student Profiles

Luke and Sanchit have written about their experiences studying Economics at Christ's in these student profiles:

If you would like to read more accounts from Christ's students, please see the student profiles page. 
 

Christ's fellows

Historically, Christ's has served as an intellectual home to a number of Economics scholars, including a Nobel Prize laureate James Meade (1907-1995). In his honour, the College has established Meade Lectures in Economics. The next lecture, on 5 March 2019, will be given by Elhanan Helpman, the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade at Harvard University.

Teaching in Economics at Christ's has traditionally been very strong and is maintained by our academic economists:

  • Professor Sanjeev Goyal is University Professor and Head of the Faculty of Economics. He is a pioneer and leading international scholar in the study of social and economic networks. His book, “Connections: an introduction to the economics of networks”, was published in 2007 by Princeton University Press.
  • Dr William Peterson works in applied econometrics, macroeconomic modelling, input output analysis, and energy economics. His research interests also include the economics of the housing market and dynamic models of household income behaviour.
  • Dr Alexander Rodnyansky is an economist specialising in the fields of International Finance, Finance, and Empirical Political Economy. 
  • Dr Julia Shvets is an applied microeconomist. Her work seeks to understand what shapes people's decisions in organizations, from business managers to judges to politicians.

This academic year Christ's is also delighted to welcome two Distinguished Visiting Scholars in Economics; Prof Naomi Lamoreaux (an economic historian and Pitt Professor 2018-19), and Prof Larry Samuelson (a microeconomic theorist), both from Yale University. 
 

How to apply

Details and a timeline for the application process can be found on the how to apply page. The information below provides the additional information specific to applicants for Economics. 

Subject Requirements

Economists have found that mathematical modelling provides a useful tool in analysing trade-offs faced by individuals and societies. It allows us to precisely articulate the assumptions we make about people's behaviour, and to test our hypotheses on data. Hence, the central requirement for admission in to Cambridge's Economics programme is fluency in basic mathematical and statistical methods. At Christ's we will require an A* in A-level Mathematics, a Grade 7 in IB Higher Level Mathematics, or an equivalent performance in other Mathematics qualifications (IB students starting the new Maths syllabus will need Grade 7 in Higher Level Analysis and Approaches).

In addition, we at Christ’s consider Further Mathematics a highly desirable background for applicants doing A-levels. If your school doesn't offer Further Mathematics, you may be able to get support from the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme. If it’s not possible for you to study Further Mathematics to the full A-level, we encourage you to self-study AS level Further Mathematics or to take as many extra mathematics modules as possible. A number of our international candidates (from countries where you study a wide range of subjects at school in the final two years) take part in Mathematics competitions as a way to focus on extending mathematical knowledge and ability. 

We do not require candidates to have studied Economics at school. However, applicants should have a vivid interest in Economics as a discipline and the questions it poses about individuals, organizations and societies.

Further information about school subject choices for Economics is on the Faculty website

Alongside A-level and International Baccalaureate students, we welcome applications from students enrolled in other programmes. In recent years, we have admitted a number of people who studied for the German Abitur, Singapore A levels, and other international qualifications, and we have a dedicated section for international applicants

Pre-interview Admissions Assessment

All students applying to the University of Cambridge for Economics must sit a pre-interview admissions assessment called the Economics Admissions Assessment (ECAA). This will take place in your school, college or local testing centre on 30 October 2019. The same assessment is used regardless of which College you have applied to. The Economics Admissions Assessment examines your academic abilities, knowledge-base and potential, and forms part of our holistic admissions process: there is no set score that we are looking for. When applying, it is important to be aware of the registration and assessment dates:

  • All Economics applicants applying in 2019 must be registered to take the Economics Admissions Assessment by 18:00 UK time on 15 October 2019. See how to be registered.
    Please note that open centres may set an earlier deadline for accepting entries, and it is your responsibility to check if this applies at your centre.
     
  • All Economics applicants applying in 2019 sit the assessment on 30 October 2019.

Information about the assessment including example papers and subject content is available on the University Admissions website from March each year.

Interviews

Applicants for Economics at Christ's are usually given two interviews, one of which will be with the Director of Studies. The aim of the interviews is to try to determine applicants' potential to benefit from the Economics Tripos. The interviews have no fixed format but typically include working through some mathematics problems and a discussion of economic issues. Before one of the interviews, the candidates are typically given a set of mathematical problems and a bit of time to work through them, with the aim of discussing the questions in the interview. Most interviews last between 15 and 30 minutes. Further, more general information about interviews (including two useful films) is available in the Cambridge interviews section.

We also hold interviews in a number of locations overseas. If this may be relevant for you, please see the international students section

Offers

Typically the College will make a conditional offer, in which case you would have a guaranteed place provided that you achieve your target; the precise target conditions are assessed individually. Our typical offer for Economics is A*A*A in A-levels, including A* in Mathematics, 42 points overall in International Baccalaureate with 7,7,6 at Higher Level including 7 in Higher Level Mathematics, or comparable grades in other qualifications. The international students section has further information about typical offers for other qualifications.

In recent years, students who were admitted to Christ’s to study Economics have achieved on average between 2 and 4 A*s at A-level.

If you will apply after you have finished school, please see our page for post-qualification applications.
 

Resources

When we assess your application, it will be impressive if, as well as doing well at school, you are developing your relevant skills (e.g. maths) and interest in Economics further by going beyond your school curriculum. Here are a few resources and suggestions which may be helpful, and we recommend that you explain how you have developed your skills and interest in the subject in your UCAS personal statement. 

Advanced Mathematics Support Programme A programme that offers advice about choosing A level Further Mathematics, revision events, enrichment materials and activities, and tuition, when it is not available through your school or college. See in particular A level Mathematics and A level Further Mathematics, as well as Resources for self-study.
Freakonomics Economic analysis website in which economic theory is used to explore a very wide range of topics! It includes this episode on barriers to changing your mind in which Dr Julia Shvets is interviewed on her research into overconfidence.
NRICH Maths for Economics  Mathematics problems with an economic flavour or application.  
Plus Magazine

Articles and podcasts on any aspect of mathematics, showing the wide range of uses maths gets put to in the real world.

Economics preliminary reading list Cambridge Faculty of Economics reading list to help potential candidates who are thinking of applying to read Economics at Cambridge. 
The Economist Weekly publication on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology and the connections between them. History and further information.
HE+ Enrichment resources for Economics Guided activities and questions to think about provided by Cambridge postgraduate students and academics at the cutting edge of research in Economics.

Essay competitions

Entering an essay competition is a good way to find out more about a relevant topic and get some extra practice in writing a convincing and well-structured essay.
Examples: Cambridge University Marshall Society Competition; Young Economist of the Year

 

Further Information

If you are able to come to a College Open Day or the Economics Taster Day, we will be glad to tell you more about the College and the course in person. If you are not able to come, we will be happy to answer any queries you may have that are not covered by the normal literature. Please address any such enquiries by e-mail to admissions@christs.cam.ac.uk

Useful links: 

Postgraduate Admissions

The University also offers a number of postgraduate programmes in Economics (see the Faculty of Economics pages for information). Prospective graduate students apply to the University in the first instance, naming up to two Colleges at which their application will be considered if they are offered a course place by the University. 

Christ's is pleased to be able to offer a range of postgraduate funding opportunities, including a dedicated Bindesh P. Shah studentship in Economics. Information on this is on the Christ's graduate admission pages
 

Undergraduate Admissions main page / Back to the subject list / How to apply / Why choose Christ's? / Economics Taster Day