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Access Officer,
Cambridge University Students' Union
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Cambridge CB2 1RX



Economics is a highly competitive subject, with a high-class reputation both nationally and beyond. One of the largest faculties in the country, it has contained many leaders in the field, economists who have won Nobel Prizes, shaped the current thinking in today’s economic world and who advise governments both at home and abroad on economic policy. Yet many of these people are also those who lecture you, meaning that you really do learn from the best.


An Economics student

Economics at Cambridge has a mathematical rigour that will allow those who have a penchant for understanding concepts through maths to take this further. For those who are less inclined to work through pages of formulas, the course gives you freedom to limit how much of this you undertake (though there is no getting away from it completely).

“ We have economists who advise governments both at home and abroad on economic policy ”

At the heart of the Cambridge course are two major branches: macroeconomics and microeconomics (macro and micro), with core papers in all three years. In the first year, you cover three further papers: Politics, Economic History and Quantitative Methods (the paper covering maths and statistical techniques used in later years). The second year gives you slightly more freedom to choose and diversify, with micro, macro and a core paper in econometrics (the application of statistics and maths to economics), and an optional module.. The final year is the highlight of the course. You choose two option papers from a choice of over ten papers, such as Public Economics, Industry Economics, and various sociology and politics papers. This gives you an ability to choose to specialise or just take advantage of the wide range of topics available. You also do a dissertation, where you get to research and write on any topic of your choice.
The Faculty is an interesting example of some of the odd bits of architecture you get in Cambridge, and dates from the decades where they like to forget that they ever engaged in building design. The good thing is that most of your lectures are based in one place, and that the library is not too far away. The Marshall Library (the department library) is a good resource, well stocked with numerous copies of the main textbooks, as well as large quantities of books on a range of topics, though it’s hevaily used so sometimes books are hard to get. As well as the books, there are good electronic resources and the library staff are always helpful. The thoroughness of the course, combined with the wide range of choices in specialist subjects in later years makes Economics at Cambridge an excellent choice.

Best thing? Taught by world leaders in the subject

While requiring hard work and perseverance at times, it gives you the flexibility to enjoy the other activities Cambridge has to offer, while at the same time learning to understand economics and what it means in the wider context of what goes on in the world around us.

Worst thing? Library borrowing can be difficult & textbooks get taken quickly