As defined by the American Economic Association, “Economics is the study of how people choose to use resources.” However, different institutions may word it differently or use another definition. For example, the definition of economics given by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education is “study of the factors that influence income, wealth and well-being.”
Economics has two main branches. Microeconomics deals with individuals, institutions and specific industries. Macroeconomics is much more broad and can deal with an entire country, region or the entire globe.
Some economics degree programs have a grade requirement, either from the entrance or standard exam, from previous courses taken in secondary school or sometimes even both. High marks in subjects such as mathematics and statistics may be a good boost to an application. Various leadership experiences and letters of recommendation may also be taken into consideration. Some institutions also require a letter of intent or an application essay in addition to an admissions interview.
For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
When taken as a bachelor of science, degree programs in economics often cover microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, statistics, money and finance. When taken as a bachelor of arts, the curriculum integrates more qualitative modules. For both options, courses on contemporary economic issues may be required. It is likely that courses will be in the form of lectures and seminars, and assessment will likely be in the form of written work, reports and participation.
In the latter years of the program, students may be required to submit a dissertation involving extensive research to complete the degree.
Most universities provide specialization options for their students, either through optional electives or as a mandatory part of the degree program. Availability of specializations would also depend on the offerings of each university.
Below is a short list of economics specializations offered by different institutions:
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates.
Graduates of economics degree programs can end up in different professional positions. As such, there is no universal licensing or certification that economics graduates must obtain to be able to find a position in the field.
A bachelor’s degree in economics can typically take around three to four years of full-time study. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located.
There are also various degrees available for economics graduates at the graduate level. Master’s programs are available for those looking to deepen their knowledge of the field. Acceptance into these programs normally depends on the applicant’s education (level and grades) and professional experience. Master’s programs usually take one to two years to complete.
In the UK, more than 60% of those who graduated from an economics program are employed within six months after graduating, and of this, more than half are employed in business, human resources and finance related positions. Economics graduates can take on positions such as analyst, researcher, consultant and statistician. Employers are present in both the public and private sectors. Alternatively, graduates can choose to work in job roles in banks, auditing firms, and stock brokerage companies.
Economics graduates will find that transferable skills gained throughout the degree program can be applied in pursuing their career paths. These include numeracy, data analysis and presentation and problem solving.
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