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					An Introduction to
Undergraduate Economics
Programmes at the
University of Sussex

Economics at Sussex: Quick Guide
1. What is Economics?
Economics is a social science concerned with income, wealth and
well-being and the factors that influence how people, families, firms
and governments make decisions. We look at a wide range of issues,
from education, health and crime to poverty, trade and

2. Why should I choose Sussex?
Sussex does well in league tables. According to the Times Higher
Education World University Rankings 2011-12, Sussex University
ranks 12th in the UK, 31st in Europe and 99th in the World.

Economics at Sussex is a fast-growing department committed to
high quality teaching and research within a friendly academic
environment. Between 2007-2011, the average score for the
Department of Economics on student satisfaction in the National
Student Survey was 86%. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise,
50% of our research was graded as being “internationally excellent”
and another 10% as “world-leading”. Economics faculty members
conduct research on a wide range of contemporary real world
economic problems and are involved in consultancy and advising
policy-makers. We are a friendly department committed to helping
our students achieve their potential.

3. What are the different Economics degrees at Sussex?
     BSc (Hons) Economics;
     BA (Hons) Economics;
     BSc (Hons) Economics and Management Studies;
     BSc (Hons) Finance and Business;
     BA (Hons) Economics and International Development;
     BA (Hons) Economics and International Relations;
     BA (Hons) Economics and Politics.
Students can also take Economics as part of a Maths degree.

4. Is Economics very mathematical?
Economics uses Maths (e.g. graphs, algebra and calculus) to
communicate ideas and Statistics to analyse real world data. You do
not need Maths at A2 or AS level, but you should be ready to push
your Maths skills beyond what you have done at school. We provide
Maths workshops to help everyone keep up. If you really like Maths,
consider doing the BSc in Economics, which has a quantitative focus.

5. What jobs is it useful for?
A wide range: anything that requires problem-solving, logic and
numeracy. Our graduates are successful at getting jobs for example
with the Government Economic Service, in Banking, Insurance,
Consultancy and the Charitable Sector and some go on to further
postgraduate study.

6. What are the admissions requirements?
For entry in October 2012, our entry requirements are AAB in 3 A2
level subjects plus Grade B in GCSE Maths, or the equivalent in
international qualifications.

7. Want to find out more?
Come to an Open day or an Admissions Day (see
for dates), read on through this handbook, see our web-site,      or     contact     us      at

What is Economics?

Students are often drawn to study Economics through the media
and national politics. Stories of boom-and-bust or stop-go
Economics, of trade-offs between unemployment and inflation,
stock-market crashes and financial crises in the print and broadcast
media are what most people think of when someone says
Economics. But Economics is not just about money, or the economy,
but about how people, families, workers, firms, trade unions,
governments and international organisations make decisions and
about the effects of these decisions on others. This broadens the
scope of Economics to such diverse issues as crime prevention and
the law, illegal drugs, higher education, pay and promotions,
marriage and child-bearing decisions, trade, debt and poverty.

The standard text-book definition of Economics is that it is the
“study of how scarce resources are allocated among competing
needs”, but this is hardly the sort of description likely to attract
many people to study Economics! Although it does turn out to be a
good description of what Economics is once you have already
studied Economics, it is not a very good definition for people new to
the subject.

All economic questions arise from an unavoidable fact known to
humans long before its popularisation by the Rolling Stones: “you
can’t always get what you want”. The real world is characterised by
scarcity (e.g., not enough land, time, hospital beds, clean water) but
through engaging in economic activity individuals are able to resolve
the conflict between their unlimited wants and their limited
resources by making choices.

In order to understand and explain certain economic phenomena,
Economists develop theories aided by what are called ‘models’.
These models are defined to exist in a fictional world invented to
assist our understanding of the real world. Architects construct

models of buildings and biologists models of DNA that represent the
real thing in appearance but do not work like the real thing.
Economic models are motivated by a similar principle but are not
“physical” like those of the architect or the biologist. Our models
sometimes represent an abstraction from reality but thinking about
them provides a useful way of understanding some of the
complexity of our world. But our models are only useful if they help
us understand what is going on around us. Theory is only justified by
its power of application and, in particular, its application to policy.

Why study Economics?

Economic issues surround us and impact on us in our daily lives,
whether it is in our work or in our social activity, and studying
Economics provides an insight and understanding into many of the
important issues that govern not only our well-being as individuals
but also the well-being of the economy and of society. There are
many “why” and “what happens if” type of questions that can be
asked about ‘every-day’ phenomena and to which Economics can
provide answers. For example, why are some goods taxed more
heavily than others, why do food mountains exist, why are some
goods provided by the state and others not, why do some countries
export cars and others textiles, what happens to unemployment if
unemployment benefits are reduced, what happens to consumption
if the interest rate rises, what happens to employment if a minimum
wage is introduced, and what happens to criminal activity if judicial
penalties rise? Economics is concerned with observing the way
things are, offering behavioural explanations for the phenomena
observed, and demonstrating the consequences of a given policy
under certain conditions.

The “why” and “what happens if” type questions comprise the core
of what is often called positive Economics. However, positive
Economics often suggests what are called normative questions,
questions that require value judgements to be made about what is

good or bad. For instance, the question of what happens to alcohol
consumption if we double its tax rate may be asked for normative
reasons – a concern about the adverse health effects of alcohol. The
success of any science, including Economics, rests on the ability of
scientists to separate their views on “what does happen” from
“what ought to happen”. The study of Economics trains individuals
to distinguish between the positive and the normative but allows
value judgements to motivate positive questions that generate
positive answers.

Why study Economics at Sussex?

The Economics degree programmes at Sussex offer students a
specific training in core Economics-specific knowledge but also
provide the basis for the accumulation of a range of general skills.
For example, students learn how to use simple formulations that
distil the essential features of a complex problem, and to assess the
logical consistency of a theory or argument. By its nature, the study
of Economics also provides students with numeracy, analytical and
quantitative skills that are practical and transferable across a wide
range of careers.

The teaching of Economics at Sussex emphasises the analytical
methods of the discipline and encourages students to understand
both the basic principles of economic theory and their application to
a range of economic and social phenomena. Courses are designed
to include both theoretical and applied material and emphasise the
relationship between economic analysis and policy.

A unique and distinguishing feature of Sussex is that students have
the opportunity to learn Economics within a multi-disciplinary, or an
inter-disciplinary, context dividing their time between Economics,
which is called the major, and either another discipline, as a joint
major subject, or a set of complementary inter disciplinary
programmes. Inter-disciplinarity and multi-disciplinarity exposes

Economics students to alternative methodologies and the analytical
approaches of other disciplines including history, politics,
philosophy, international relations, geography, social anthropology,
sociology and social psychology. Through study of Economics in
conjunction with other disciplines, Economics students learn to
appreciate the strengths and limits of their own discipline.

Are the Economics programmes at Sussex mathematical?

Mathematics is an important tool in Economics, useful for conveying
ideas clearly and concisely and for summarising information.
Although we do not place an unduly heavy emphasis on
Mathematics, preferring to emphasise understanding, any degree in
Economics requires the use of some Mathematics. The branches of
Mathematics most commonly used are: algebra (using equations to
express relationships), geometry (using graphs to convey
information and ideas), calculus (to explore how relationships
work), and statistics (to analyse data). You should therefore be
prepared to take your Maths well beyond the GCSE, particularly if
you decide to choose the BSc in Economics degree. However, we do
provide additional Maths (and Computing) workshops to support
students who find the Maths a bit difficult.

What will I have acquired at the end of the programme?

Students who have successfully completed our undergraduate
programmes of study will have acquired a range of specialist and
transferable skills. These include a detailed knowledge and
understanding of the principles of Economics, the ability to abstract
the essential features of a problem and use the framework of
Economics to analyse it, the ability to evaluate and conduct your
own empirical research, the ability to communicate economic ideas
and concepts to a wider audience, as well as a range of general
literacy, numeracy, decision-making, time management, analytical,
computing and communication skills.

What are the entry requirements to study Economics at

The requirements for Economics for 2012 entry are AAB at A-level
or the equivalent in other comparable national or international
qualifications. We do also require candidates to have at least a
grade B in GCSE Mathematics or its equivalent.
However, each application is considered on its own merits and we
sometimes make an offer below this level. Candidates are not
expected to have a background in Economics. We encourage
applications from mature students, for instance through ACCESS

What are the degrees in Economics at Sussex?

There are many different ways of studying Economics at Sussex. The
current set of degree programmes is listed here. Details of the
Economics courses taken in each degree programme are listed in
Annex 1.

Economics Major degrees:

BA (Hons) Economics
This is a core Economics programme. Students follow a number of
courses each year in theoretical and practical Economics and in
applied economic analysis. These constitute 75% of your degree, the
other 25% coming from non-Economics, but complementary
subjects drawn from fields such as International Relations,
International Development and Management Studies. Students on
this degree have the option of taking 100% Economics courses in
their final year.

BSc (Hons) Economics
This is the other core Economics programme. A more quantitative
approach is followed in the BSc in Economics. In addition to the core
Economics courses in the BA, students follow additional courses on
the techniques of applied economic analysis (Mathematics and
Statistics). This programme places more emphasis on quantitative
skills and students with A-level Maths are particularly encouraged to
choose this route.

Joint Major degree programmes in Economics:

Each of these joint major degree programmes is made up of 50% of
Economics and 50% of a second major subject. The Economics
courses are those from the BA in Economics, with less emphasis on
the methods of quantitative method courses.

BA (Hons) Economics and International Development
This is a natural choice for students interested in applying
Economics to developing country issues, such as debt, globalisation,
international trade, aid, hunger and poverty.

BA (Hons) Economics and International Relations
International relations poses some of the biggest challenges to the
Economics approach, focusing on issues such as power relations,
international negotiations and international organisations.

BA (Hons) Economics and Politics
Understanding the political issues surrounding Economics topics
provides much greater understanding and insight into how decisions
are made and their likely effects.

BSc (Hons) Economics and Management Studies
This degree is useful for those planning a career in business and
who need to combine the analytical approach of Economics with
more practical management skills.

BSc (Hons) Finance and Business
This degree includes courses in Business and Management and
Financial Economics. It is ideally suited for those planning a career in
the financial sector or in business, requiring analytical and
quantitative skills, but also practical management skills and an
understanding of the world economy.

What Will You Learn from a Degree in Economics at Sussex?

There is a growing emphasis – by government education ministers,
by employers and by prospective students – on the set of skills that
a degree in Economics provides. We have listed what we think these
skills are in the box below, but briefly these include specific
knowledge and understanding of Economics itself, along with a set
of intellectual, practical and other general skills (such as numeracy
and computer literacy).

Knowledge and understanding
    Knowledge of the core principles of economics (recognised
      nationally as the benchmark for economics).
    Understanding of those core principles as they relate to
      economic problems and issues.
    More detailed knowledge and understanding of an
      appropriate number of specialised fields of economics (e.g.
      labour economics, development economics).
    Knowledge of quantitative techniques appropriate to the
      study of economics.

Transferable skills
     Understanding of appropriate concepts in economics that
       may be of wider use in a decision-making context (e.g.
       opportunity cost).
     Ability to communicate economic ideas, concepts and
       information using means of communication appropriate to
       the audience and the problem at issue.
     Appreciation of the importance of, and ability to construct,
       rigorous argument to help evaluate ideas.
     Skills in numeracy and other quantitative techniques, such
       as correctly interpreting graphs.
     Skills in the use of a wide range of appropriate computer
       software (e.g. spreadsheets).

Practical Skills
     Knowledge of sources and content of economic information
        and data.
     Knowledge of how to conduct and evaluate applied
        (empirical) work.
     Ability to carry out empirical work using appropriate
     Ability to carry out self-directed study and research.

Intellectual Skills
     Skills in abstract thought to focus upon the essential
         features of an economic problem and to provide a
         framework for the evaluation of the effects of policy or
         other exogenous events.
     Ability to analyse an economic problem or issue using an
         appropriate theoretical framework.

What do Economics graduates do?

 There is considerable evidence available at national level suggesting
that Economics graduates are more in demand than graduates from
most other social sciences and have higher average earnings than
other social science graduates. In common with Economics
graduates from other reputable institutions, good Economics
graduates from Sussex are confronted with choice in the graduate
labour market because they possess a wide range of ‘marketable’
skills that are transferable across a variety of careers. The most
recent data (for 2009) on Economics graduates from Sussex suggest
that only a small number were unemployed six months after
graduating; 81% of graduates were either employed or involved in
further      study.    For     more       details,     please     see:

Economics offers you a range of career options. Our graduates have
done well in securing jobs, for example as Public Sector Economists,
in Banking, Consultancy, Accountancy and with NGOs. Some also go
on to further postgraduate study. On average, 10-20 percent of our
recent graduates have pursued further studies in Economics and
many of these are now practising as professional economists in the
Government Economic Service, research institutes, universities, in
the City, or in international organisations.

Funding your studies

Your fees will depend on whether you are classified as a Home/EU
student or an Overseas student and whether you have previous
qualifications. Please see the Undergraduate Prospectus for more
information on funding options.

How can I find out more?

The University holds a number of Open Days and Admissions Days
throughout the year, when members of each faculty will talk about
studying their subject at Sussex.

Students thinking about applying to Sussex can attend our Open
Days in October and June: see the university web-site for details or telephone Student Recruitment on +44(0)1273

Students who have applied to Sussex and received an offer can visit
during one of our Admission Days. You will be sent details of these
with your offer. It is also possible to join a tour of the campus
throughout the year by calling +44(0)1273 876787, or by booking a
place on-line on the university website.

If you require any further information about the undergraduate
Economics programmes at Sussex or have any other queries please

Economics Programme Co-ordinator
School of Business, Management and Economics
Mantell Building Room 2B4
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton

T +44(0)1273 678889 (ext. 8889)
F +44(0)1273 873715

Visit our website at:
Here you can find links to local websites that will tell you more
about the local area.

              We look forward to hearing from you!


The tables overleaf show the courses taught by the Economics
department for each programme for the 2011/12 entry. Some
changes are possible in 2012/13. For further details on the courses
taught by other departments for the joint degrees, please see the
Undergraduate Prospectus online:

   Table 1a: Structure of the single honours BA Programme in Economics
                Autumn Term                            Spring Term
         Introduction to Economics                  Microeconomics 1
Yr 1   Contemporary Economic Issues                 Macroeconomics 1
       Introduction to Mathematics*           The World Economy since 1945
                  plus two more electives (one Autumn, one Spring)
                Autumn Term                            Spring Term
             Microeconomics 2                   Advanced Microeconomics
Yr 2         Macroeconomics 2                   Advanced Macroeconomics
          Statistics for Economists              Applied Economic Topics
                     plus two electives (one Autumn, one Spring)
                Autumn Term                            Spring Term
                                                    Applied Economics
Yr 3
             Economics Option                       Economics Option
       Understanding Global Markets/                Economics Option/
          Inter-disciplinary course              Inter-disciplinary course

               Table 1b: Structure of the BSc Programme in
                  Economics (virtually 100% Economics)
                Autumn Term                         Spring Term
         Introduction to Economics               Microeconomics 1
Yr 1   Contemporary Economic Issues              Macroeconomics 1
       Introduction to Mathematics*             Principles of Finance
               Elective course             The World Economy since 1945
                Autumn Term                         Spring Term
             Microeconomics 2                Advanced Microeconomics
             Macroeconomics 2                Advanced Macroeconomics
Yr 2
          Statistics for Economists           Applied Economic Topics
          Applied Mathematics for
                                                 Applied Statistics
                Autumn Term                         Spring Term
                                           Applied Economics Dissertation
Yr 3                                                  /Options
            Economics Option                     Economics Option
            Further Statistics                 Applied Econometrics

        Table 1c: Structure of the Joint Honours Degree in Economics (50%
           Economics): BA in Economics and International Development,
       International Relations or Politics, BSc in Economics and Management
                   Autumn Term                              Spring Term
            Introduction to Economics                    Microeconomics 1
Yr 1
          Introduction to Mathematics*                   Macroeconomics 1
                         plus four joint major (non-Economics) courses
                   Autumn Term                              Spring Term
                Microeconomics 2                     Advanced Microeconomics
Yr 2
                Macroeconomics 2                     Advanced Macroeconomics
                         plus four joint major (non-Economics) courses
                   Autumn Term                              Spring Term
                 Statistics Project                     Economics Options/
Yr 3
             Statistics for Economists             Applied Economics Dissertation
                         plus four joint major (non-Economics) courses

     Students can choose their electives from a large range of courses taught
   by different departments.

   *”Introduction to Mathematics (for Economics and Finance)” will be
   offered at two levels: for students with A-level Mathematics (or
   equivalent) and for students with less experience in Mathematics.

              Table 1d: Economics Third Year Option Courses
            Autumn Term                                 Spring Term
    Economics of European                    Applied Economics Dissertation
     Integration Labour Economics              (counts as two options)
    Monetary Theory and Policy               Applied Econometrics Pre-
                                               requisite: Students must have
                                               completed Econometrics.
                                              Climate Change Economics
                                              Behavioural Economics
                                              Economics of Development
                                              International Finance &
                                              International Trade

           Table 1e: Structure of the BSc in Finance and Business
                    Autumn Term                             Spring Term
             Introduction to Economics                  Principles of Finance
           Introduction to Mathematics*           The World Economy since 1945
Yr 1            Intro to Business Law           Tools for Business & Management
             Introduction to Business &             Principles of Organisational
                     Management                              Behaviour
                    Autumn Term                             Spring Term
            Statistics for Economics and
                                                         Macroeconomics I
Yr 2              Money & Banking                    Finance for Development
                             Financial and Managerial Accounting
                Information Systems                  Operations Management
                    Autumn Term                             Spring Term
                                                 Applied Statistics for Finance and
           Understanding Global Markets
                                                      International Finance &
Yr 3              Corporate Finance
                       Strategy                  Specialist Business course option
          Specialist Business course option      Specialist Business course option
   *”Introduction to Mathematics (for Economics and Finance)” will be
   offered at two levels: for students with A-level Mathematics (or
   equivalent) and for students with less experience in Mathematics.


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