Entry requirements

Normally two or three A-levels or equivalent in Scottish Highers. The points required will vary and you will need to check this with UCAS or each university. Some courses require A-level maths and virtually all require GCSE maths at grade C or above. Few courses require A-level economics, and many courses admit students with non-standard entry requirements.


Economics can be studied as a single-honours degree or combined with other subjects, such as business, marketing, mathematics, history, languages, sociology, politics, international relations and environmental studies.

Students usually study microeconomics (the study of individuals and firms), macroeconomics (the study of national economies) and quantitative methods, as well as having a range of other options such as economic history, environmental economics, the economics of developing countries and labour economics, to name just a few.

Typically, full-time degrees last four years in Scotland and three years in the rest of the UK. Many universities have introduced a placement year prior to the final year, giving students an opportunity to work in the private or public sector. Students may well be given help by the university in finding a suitable placement. Other universities have twinning arrangements with universities in other countries to allow students to do part of their studies abroad.


Most modules on an economics degree have an exam at the end of the year or semester. Many also use various forms of assessment during the module, such as essays done in your own time, solving numerical problems, group-work projects, in-class tests and essays and computerised assessment. Many economics degrees include a dissertation or project on a topic of your choice in the final year.

What next?

Most universities offer Masters degrees in economics, most of which build on undergraduate economics. They typically last 12 months and include a taught component and a dissertation. A few students then go on to do a PhD in some aspect of economics.

The analytical skills that economics students develop are highly prized by employers, and economics graduates earn some of the highest salaries in both the public and private sectors.

By John Sloman, director of the Economics Network

Anthony, 23, studied economics

It was an interesting and challenging course that could be applied to real-world scenarios. It encompassed an enormous variation of subjects, including maths, history, geography, politics, philosophy and business: it was what I would call a real academic subject.


Who do you think was asked by the Government to prepare a major report on the consequences of climate change and policy alternatives in 2006? A climate scientist? An environmentalist? No - it was an economist. Sir Nicholas Stern was chief economist of the World Bank from 2000 to 2003 and then Head of the Government Economic Service until March 2007. The Stern Review on climate change was published in October 2006.


Why Study Economics?

This site provides prospective students with information and advice. You can read the views of past and present students, watch short films made by economics students or arrange to visit a university open day



The UK's official graduate careers website. It offers information on employment sectors, jobs types and salaries as well as graduate case studies and other useful resources


Economics Network

This is one of the world's leading economics education sites. You can read about the results of a recent survey of economics students and find an online list of all economics departments in the UK