Did you know that the United Kingdom has the fifth highest number of billionaires in the world despite having the 21st highest population. This means that one out of every 460,000 Britons is a billionaire, which is around the same rate as the US! Therefore, it’s no wonder that economics is given a special preference in the higher education system of the UK.
Besides, London is widely regarded as one of the leading global financial centres in the world and studying economics close to the place where several economics-related theories originated is highly beneficial for any student. It is also home to the ‘Big Four’ or the four largest international banking groups in the world namely:
- Lloyds Banking Group
- The Royal Bank of Scotland Group
Other than the names mentioned above, some of the world’s largest banks and accountancy firms operate out of the UK. Students have a large number of opportunities to pursue in the field of economics after the completion of their degrees.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top colleges in the UK, and the bachelor and master-level degree courses in economics they offer to prospective students.
Study Economics in UK – Popular Universities and Courses
1. THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICS
|QS World University Rank 2020 – #44|
|QS Subject Rank (Economics) – #5|
|International Students – 7,703|
About LSE – The London School of Economics and Political Science or LSE is located near the centre of London, which gives the students a chance to indulge themselves in the cultural, social and recreational activities of the UK’s capital city. Offering 40 undergraduate and 140 taught and research postgraduate programmes, LSE provides students with a wide palette of subjects covering a range of social science disciplines, from accounting to law and management to social policy. The student community at LSE is also diverse and culturally varied with international students from over 140 countries enrolled in the various programmes.
LSE Department of Economics – The LSE Department of Economics boasts expertise in all aspects of mainstream economics. Being the biggest and the best economics department in the world, the LSE Department of Economics is responsible for almost all crucial developments within the field of economics. Its alumni is employed by major organisations around the world and includes 10 nobel prize winners. Besides, with the former Bank of England Governor and Deputy Governor being professors in the Economics Department of LSE, the college faculty is renowned for shaping the economic policies globally and in the UK.
The economics programme at LSE is renowned for being rigorous and mathematics-oriented. If you decide to opt for the B.Sc in Economics degree, you should have an aptitude for numbers and a strong ability to think analytically. The programme is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in analytical methods of economics and you will then be taught how to apply these methods to come up with solutions to a diverse range of problems. The degree can open doors for you in career fields like:
This advanced degree focuses on the key components of economic theory:
Mathematics is used extensively within the programme as a tool to facilitate analysis, with the main goal of the programme being the formal training of the students in core economic models and methods. This programme aims to equip you with the main tools found in the toolbox of a modern professional economist who can choose to work in either government positions, international organisations or private consultancy firms. Graduates from LSE in this programme have gone on to work in organisations such as:
Looking to pursue a higher degree in Management/Business like an MBA? The UK has prestigious MBA programmes which attracts a large number of international students. To know more read – MBA in UK
2. UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
|QS Global Rank – #4|
|QS Subject Rank (Economics) – #9|
|International Students – 8,115|
About the University of Oxford – The University of Oxford holds the distinction of being the oldest university in the English speaking world. In fact, it is so old, that its foundation date is unknown to this day!
It comprises of 4 academic divisions or colleges, which are self-governed and students have to apply directly to any of the following if they wish to study there:
With an international student population of around 40% out of the 22,000 or so students enrolled, Oxford has a diverse and multicultural environment. Oxford has an alumni network of over 250,000 people, which include more than 120 Olympic medallists, 26 Nobel Prize winners and over 30 modern world leaders like Bill Clinton, Aung San Suu Kyi and Indira Gandhi.
University of Oxford Economics Department – Oxford’s Department of Economics is one of Europe’s leading research departments and its members are some of the world’s most distinguished academic economists. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), Oxford came in first in overall research strength for Economics and Econometrics, with research within the department being classified as ‘world-leading’.
The bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management is designed to examine issues that are a fundamental part of the world we live in, for example, how the economy and organisations function, how resources are allocated and co-ordinated to achieve the organisations objectives. The two subjects are ideal partners for a complete education with each of them shoring up and strengthening the other.
The course is a joint venture between the Department of Economics and Said Business School. But it is not a business studies degree as it is taught as an academic subject within the social science college of the university.
The master’s course is a full-time 9-month-long programme that is taught jointly by faculties from Said Business School and Department of Economics. The programme is a combination of rigorous academic training that is tailored to real-world applications and was designed by consulting with leading financial recruiters. The following is a list of some of the employers that recruited graduates from this programme in 2019:
Planning to study in the UK? Read about current courses or programmes you can pursue in the UK in 2020.
3. UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
|QS Global Rank – #7|
|QS Subject Rank (Economics) – #10|
|International Students – 7,307|
About the University of Cambridge – With its location just north of London in the ancient city of Cambridge, the University of Cambridge is regarded as one of the best universities in the world.
It’s a public research institution and is divided into 31 autonomous colleges. The following academic schools are spread across the university’s colleges:
Cambridge is also renowned for being a vibrant student town, with students at the university making up 20% of the town’s population. The university has produced eminent mathematicians, scientists, politicians, lawyers, philosophers, writers, actors and heads of state. The alumni of the university include 98 Noble laureates and 15 British Prime Ministers.
Faculty of Economics at Cambridge – Economics is one of the core departments at the University of Cambridge and has been host to many distinguished economists. It is also regarded as the birth-place of the subject ‘macroeconomics’. 19 students/members of the faculty have won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The renowned Indian economist, Amartya Sen was also a part of the Faculty of Economics at Cambridge.
This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the core elements of pure and applied economics. However, even though you will be delving deep into the heart of economics as a subject, you will also be employing a variety of ideas from subjects like history, sociology, mathematics and statistics etc.
The programme is also called ‘Tripos’ and consists of 3 individual parts, one for each year of your degree. The first year is spent on a general introduction to Economics and other related disciplines; the second and third years are more advanced and offer students the opportunity to narrow down their interests and become specialists in their chosen fields.
Note: It is possible to switch to another subject after one or two years. For example, you can opt for History, Law or Political Science if you are inclined. There is also a chance for you to switch to Management studies after the 2nd or 3rd year, but since the programme is highly competitive, entry is limited.
The M.Phil. in Economics degree is designed specifically for students who wish to obtain a 1-year master’s qualification before moving on from academic economics. More specifically, this degree is aimed at candidates who wish to acquire the technical skills required to secure a career as a professional economist. The learning objectives of this programme are:
Note: This degree isn’t designed for students who wish to continue on to a PhD programme. However, if you are determined to secure a PhD, there may be some wiggle room for you to transfer to an ‘M.Phil. in Economics Research’ which will make it easier to move on to a PhD.
4. UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON (UCL)
|QS Global Rank – #8|
|QS Subject Rank (Economics) – #17|
|International Students – 16,750|
About UCL – One of the best multidisciplinary universities in the world, UCL has maintained a stellar international reputation for its research and teaching, as evidenced by its high QS Rank.
UCL is home to research and teaching centres for subjects like:
The subjects above are just a handful of disciplines available to the students at UCL and the university prides itself on encouraging interdisciplinary study.
With a large international population that represents over 150 countries, UCL is a truly cosmopolitan university. Its central London location provides students with the chance to indulge themselves in the culture and night-life of the capital city. The university also provides many opportunities to the students to study abroad by hosting joint-study or exchange programmes with other foreign institutions outside the UK. UCL has produced 29 Nobel Laureates so far, with at least one prize winner representing UCL since 1901.
Department of Economics at UCL: The Department of Economics at UCL has a stellar international reputation in key areas of current economics research. In fact, it was the only department of economics in the UK that recieved a grade point average of 3.78 out of 4 in the 2014 REF or Research Excellence Framework! The first co-educational class, in any British University, was held in October 1871, in the department of economics in UCL at a time when women weren’t even allowed to sit for degrees or in many cases, to enter the classrooms at all.
The B.Sc. in Economics degree is designed for ambitious and mathematically-inclined students and provides them with a thorough grounding in economic theory. It also provides them with the technical tools, knowledge of mathematics and statistics. The following are the benefits you will receive if you opt for this programme:
Whether you are looking at a career in international financial institutions, the government or any industry, the M.Sc. in Economics at UCL will equip you with tools of a professional economist that will help you understand the rapidly changing, complex and uncertain modern world economy.
This programme aims to provide students with a sound and worthwhile education in modern economics and economics which help in developing important transferable skills of problem-definition, analysis and self-motivation. The core components of the programme are:
Note: The M.Sc. degree is awarded on the basis of written, final examination papers and a research dissertation of 10,000 words that will be supervised and includes a brief critical review of literature in the relevant area.
5. THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
|QS Global Rank 2020 – #62|
|QS Subject Rank (Economics) – #25|
|International Students – 9,177|
About the University of Warwick – Even though it is one of the youngest universities on our list, Warwick has been acknowledged globally for maintaining an excellent research record, for its classroom instruction and connections with business and industry. All of this is evidenced by its ranking amongst the best 100 universities in the world according to the QS Global Ranking 2020, and placing 7th amongst the UK research universities in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
Warwick has 29 academic departments and over 50 research centres and institutes split between the following faculties:
|Department of Economics at The University of Warwick: In just 50 years since its founding, the department of economics at Warwick has been at the forefront of the field. It was ranked 25th in the world according to the QS Subject Ranking in Economics and Econometrics for 2020, and was ranked 4th in the UK in the REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework).|
This comprehensive undergraduate course is designed to develop the skills of students in core subjects like microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics. The main objectives of this programme are:
One of the interesting things about this course is that it is flexible, which means that you are free to select subjects from other disciplines like mathematics, business or law to supplement your degree.
Graduates from this course have gone on to work for employers like:
The M.Sc. in Economics programme offered by Warwick is designed for students with a strong background in the subject at the undergraduate level. You will be taught advanced levels of subjects like macroeconomics and microeconomic theory, econometrics and research methods.
Before the course begins, all students who enrol for this programme will have to attend a pre-session mathematics and statistics programme that will shore up any methodological skills that you might be missing. The core study modules are:
Note: You will have to write an 8,000 word research dissertation at the end of the course which will be individually supervised on a one-on-one basis.
Study Economics in UK – Career Prospects
As a professional economist, you will be carrying out research and collecting large amounts of information that will cover all aspects of economic and social policy, based on your area of interest and your job. As an economist, your responsibilities may include:
- designing methods and procedure for obtaining data
- creating and using econometric and other financial modelling techniques
- analysing and interpreting data
- providing economic advice to a range of shareholders
- evaluating past and present economic issues and trends
MEDIAN AVERAGE SALARY FOR ECONOMISTS
|Industries||Average Annual Salary (in USD)|
|Federal Government Services||USD 119,590|
|Finance and Insurance||USD 118,290|
|Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services||USD 110,630|
|Scientific Research and Development Services||USD 109,670|
|State government services||USD 70,280|
Note: The figures given above are a representative of the salary earned on an average by economists working in these industries. Actual numbers may vary based on the area, your position within the company and the experience you have.
Study Economics in UK – FAQs
Q. Will an economics degree make me employable?
A. Yes, it definitely will. Economics degrees provide students with skills and insight to deal with a wide range of real life issues while opening doors to a diverse field of career options. You don’t have to become a professional economist or work in academia for your degree to make you employable. You have the options of either working as a consultant, an analyst, an advisor or even a teacher if you are so inclined!
Q. What are the core components of an economics programme?
A. Depending upon your specific degree, the components of any economics programme are liable to vary. However, the core areas of the field are:
Q. Can I opt for an Economics degree without a background in the subject?
A. Students are generally advised not to opt for economics at higher levels of study if they do not have a foundation in the subject. However, if you have a background in mathematics and an aptitude for the subject, you will find that many universities have pre-session courses that will allow you to get up to speed before joining an economics programme.
Q. How long does it take to complete a PhD in Economics?
A. A PhD in Economics generally takes 5-6 years on an average, with exceptional students completing the entire process in 4 years. The length is due to the fact that you have to conduct a highly supervised research dissertation during this period and all your education is at the highest levels of the subject.
Q. Why should I choose the UK to pursue my degree in economics?
A. The UK has some of the best universities in the world offering economics programmes and the close proximity to London, one of the biggest financial centres in the world, makes it a great choice for any student looking to study economics.