Economics

Why study Economics at Christ's?

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

 

As well as top-class teaching, you’ll find a friendly student community of around 20 undergraduates and 10 graduates in Economics each year. This makes it easy to get to know everyone, especially as we host regular lunches, dinners and drinks during the year. Our students tend to work together – a key factor in their exam success and satisfaction with Cambridge – so many keep in touch after graduation and return for social events.

Christ's has been an intellectual home to many successful Economics scholars, including Nobel Prize laureate James Meade (1907-1995). Amongst other events, our bi-annual Meade Lectures in Economics bring world-leading economists to Christ's, and students often have the opportunity to enjoy an informal lunch with the speakers.

Other famous alumni include:

  • Prof Simon Burgess | Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol
  • Alex Brazier | Member of the Financial Policy Committee at Bank of England
  • Goh Soon Poh | Auditor-General of Singapore
  • Heng Swee Keat | Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in Singapore

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.

Some of our graduates move on to further study at top universities across the globe, including UCL, Princeton and LSE. Many join management consultancies (Goldman Sachs, UBS, KPMG Strategy&, Bane) investment banks (Deutsche bank, Goldman Sachs, Macquarie) and economics consultancies (RBB, Frontier Economics).

Some work for companies such as Argos, Network Rail and Greater Anglia, or for government for in HM Treasury, Department for Transport, Bank of England and the Central Bank of Malaysia. And others opt for entirely different paths – we’ve had an opera singer and an orchestra conductor too.

News:

  • On 13 February 2020, Oriana Bandiera, FRA, Sir Anthony Atkinson Professor of Economics and Director of STICERD, LSE, gave a Masterclass to our students as part of the Women at Christ's celebrations.

 

Course content and structure

The Economics course (or ‘tripos’) is a three-year degree. From second year on you can study particular areas in greater depth, and in the final year you write a dissertation on your chosen topic.

Please visit the University website for full details of the Economics course content and structure.
 

Teaching

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

Last year we also welcomed two Distinguished Visiting Scholars in Economics from Yale University:

As well as lectures organised by the University, you have weekly ‘supervisions’ at the College arranged by Director of Studies Dr Julia Shvets. These small-group tutorial sessions give you the advantage of personally-tailored tuition and guidance. 
 

Student Q&A film
  Watch the Christ's student Q&A film

What do our students think?

Read about the experiences of Sanchit and Luke who are studying Economics at Christ’s.

If you’d like to hear from other Christ's students, please watch the Christ's student Q&A film, and visit our Student Profiles page.


How to apply

Visit How to Apply for full details and a timeline of the application process. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and school types, all over the world. If you're applying from outside the UK, please read our international students section.

News

27 Aug: The date of the pre-interview Admissions Assessment for Economics has changed from 4 Nov to Thursday 5 November as part of the Covid 19 updates. See updates on the Cambridge Admissions website.

July: University-wide statement: In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can.

At Christ's we have a page for Coronavirus disruptions and applying this year - we recommend reading and then keeping an eye on it.


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 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 in 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 5 November 2020. 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 2020 must be registered to take the Economics Admissions Assessment by 18:00 UK time on 15 October 2020. 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 2020 sit the assessment on 5 November 2020 (updated date).

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

Interviews

University-wide statement: In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can. This does mean that there may be changes to the details of interviews below (which sets out what normally happens).

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

You need to be academically ambitious: our typical Economics offer for A-level candidates is A*A*A, including A* in Mathematics, and for IB candidates 42 points overall, with 776 at Higher Level including 7 in Higher Level Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches), but the majority of Christ’s students arrive with higher grades. If you are studying in another qualification system we would expect you to be working at or close to the top of the mark range. The international students section has information about typical offers for international qualifications.

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

Helpful 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. 

Additional in Coronavirus times MEI (Maths Education) resources for students studying at home
Additional in Coronavirus times NRICH Maths at home
Additional in Coronavirus times Economics and Buisness Studies research in times of Corona
Economics Open Day (Film) July Open Day talk, 2019
Economics Faculty
Short Films

Why study Economics? (Part 1)                           What do you look for?
Why study Economics? (Part 2)                           What advice would you give?
Why study Economics at Cambridge?             What resources could a potential student use?
What will students study?                                       What careers can Economics lead to?

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.
NRICH Maths for Economics  Mathematics problems with an economic flavour or application.  
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.
Plus Magazine

Articles and podcasts on any aspect of mathematics, showing the wide range of uses maths gets put to in the real world. See, for example,  Adam Smith and the invisible hand.

Economics preliminary reading list Cambridge Faculty of Economics reading list to help potential candidates who are thinking of applying to read Economics at Cambridge. 
What Economists really do A helpful Royal Economics Society talk with Prof Oriana Bandiera
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.

Economics blogs

Blog introduction lists such as this one will help you find interesting material (e.g. Greg Mankiw, Tim Harford)

Discover Economics Website for 15-17 year olds (note that the standard offer at Cambridge is A*A*A, not A*A*A* as this site suggests)

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

CamGuides Introducing the academic and information skills that you will need during your studies, as well as how and where you would be working
The Economics dissertation Information and example of the final year dissertation

 

Open Days and Online Events

Online events: Our open days and events page advertises online opportunities as well as events you can attend in Cambridge.

If you can, come along to a College Open Day to take a look round Christ’s College and the city. You can ask staff and students about the Economics course while you’re here. As part of our outreach programme, we also run an annual Economics Taster Day on James Meade for prospective Economics students who attend a state school.
 

Want to know more?

For a fuller picture of what the course involves, take a look at Undergraduate Economics admissions on the University website and read the Faculty of Economics information for prospective students too.

If you have any queries, please send them to admissions@christs.cam.ac.uk and we’ll help however we can.

 

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