The Cambridge Economics course requires a broad range of skills in the first year, with essay modules on British Economic History and Politics, and more mathematical modules in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Quantitative Methods. The focus on Macro and Micro continues throughout the degree, with compulsory modules on both through all three years, however from the second year onwards, you have some options in modules.
Lectures take place at the Sidgwick Site, except some lectures on a statistical analysis tool, Stata, which take place at the Mill Lane Lecture Rooms. Supervisions normally take place at your own college, although some take place at other colleges if there is a specialist at that college in the subject.
What about the Economics course at Cambridge appealed to you?
There are many aspects which appealed to me but the main one was the quality of the lecturers. Many of the lecturers engage in research at the cutting edge of economics and it always feels like I learn that little bit extra from those lecturers.
As someone who did Maths, Further Maths, Economics and History at A-Level, and enjoyed extracurricular politics societies, I felt the range of modules suited my broad range of interests. Compared to any other course, the maths is much more rigorous, which is respected by employers and allows for greater personal development of ability, whilst having the opportunity to also study politics and how economic theory is applied was crucial to my decision to apply.
How have you found the structure of the course?
The first year economics course involves highly quantitative skills in the maths and statistics module, essay writing and written communication skills in the economic history and politics modules, and the ability to understand economic theories and the intuition behind them in micro and macro. Therefore, a wide range of skills are required for this broad course, with the highly theoretical areas of maths and microeconomics balanced with the understanding of British politics, the EU and history from around 1750 to 1939 in the politics and history papers.
What is your faculty/department like?
The economics faculty at the Sidgwick Site isn’t hugely modern, however the lecture rooms are more than adequate to fit the approximately 150 students a year. More importantly, the faculty library, the Marshall Library is excellent, with good opening hours, very friendly and helpful staff, and a range of computers, books and papers for any work. The location, in the midst of many other libraries, also means that if you enjoy changing your working environment, it is possible to explore the other libraries, such as the Modern and Medieval Languages or History libraries.
What types of work do you have to do?
Every two weeks all economists have five pieces of work; a supervision in each module.
The Microeconomics and Macroeconomics supervisions are each 5 problems, using maths and economic intuition based on the lecture material and about 50 pages of recommended reading from the core textbooks.
The Quantitative Methods supervision is normally 3-4 maths questions and the same number for statistics, and those are very pure, formatted much the same as A-Level Mathematics or Further Mathematics, and also based on the lecture content.
For politics and history, the supervision is an essay, generally requiring discussion of a topic which has been discussed in lectures. These essays are generally 1,500-2,000 words, and the reading for them is around 100-150 pages, with optional additional reading to develop a deeper understanding of the topic. The titles vary by course, so in history the title may be ‘Did the financial sector fail industry in Late Victorian Britain’, in politics the following week it can be an essay entitled ‘The Great Recession of 2008 was just another economic crisis in a long line of such crises faced by British governments since 1945. Discuss’.
What about your course would you change?
Less time spent on economic history and more time spent on quantitative methods in economics.
Week in the life of a 1st year Economics student
|9am||-||Macro Lecture||Macro Lecture||-||-||-||-|
|10am||-||-||History Lecture||Politics Lecture||Micro Lecture||-||-|
|11am||Economic History Lecture||Micro Lecture||-||-||-||-||-|
|12pm||Maths Lecture||Stats Lecture||-||Stats Lecture||Maths Lecture||-||Gym|
|2pm||Micro Supervision||-||-||-||-||Maths Supervision||-|
|4pm||-||-||Politics Supervision||-||-||Cambridge Union Committee||-|
What has been going on at Economics?
- Recent Events -
Marshall Society Ball
The Marshall Society also regularly hosts events for all members. Before Christmas they held their annual ball in which we were treated to an evening of fine dining
‘Paper 0’ Lectures
The Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism holds lectures for ‘Paper 0’ to broaden your understanding. Recently they held a lecture on rethinking the role of the financial sector in economic growth.
German Ambassador talk
The Marshall Society, Cambridge’s Economic Society, holds talks by prestiged figures. Recently they invited the German Ambassador to the UK to talk about his views on the UK and Europe.
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