An Economics degree is a relevant and challenging degree course -suitable for anyone interested in both current affairs and History. Economics enables us to understand how markets and societies work. Economists address a wide range of human problems including (amongst many others) unemployment, inequality, financial instability, game theory (strategic decision-making), the development of poorer countries, government policy-making, international policy co-ordination, economic integration and monetary union (including EMU).
An economics degree would prepare you for a career in a number of different areas. Some economists are engaged in research at academic institutions, consultancy firms or the bigger private companies, particularly financial institutions. Other economists are involved with public policy-making either with national governments or multilateral organisations (e.g. the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the World Bank). An economics degree is also useful for those who would like to pursue a career in finance, accounting, the public service, politics, journalism, international relations, charity work etc. Of the recent Economics graduates from Caius, most have moved into careers in finance, management consultancy, accountacny and/or postgraduate studies. Also, a few of our graduates have gone on to do a law conversion course.
The Faculty of Economics organises the lectures, classes and examinations for the three year undergraduate course (known as the “Economics Tripos”). A wide range of subjects are available including economic theory, statistics and econometrics, economic history, politics and sociology, development economics, public economics, banking and finance etc.etc. Also, in their final year, the economics students are able to do a dissertation on the economic topic of their choice. One of the many advantages of studying economics at Cambridge is that many Cambridge lecturers and supervisors are influential in public policy-making. Our undergraduates acquire a broad knowledge both of different economic models (from Left to Right and in-between) and of diverse approaches to policy-making. So our undergraduates are able to form their own educated opinions about economic policy, whether pro-market, pro-government or a mixture of both.
The colleges arrange 'supervisions' to complement the Faculty’s lectures and classes. Supervisions are small teaching groups (usually about 2-4 students per group in Economics). Supervisions provide an ideal learning environment - although students do need to be aware that supervisions require a lot of dedication, organisation and hard-work – from the students as well as the supervisors!
Much more information is available on the University website.
Economics at Caius
Caius has a long tradition in economics: it has been established as a subject at Caius for over one hundred years. During this period, many famous economists have been Fellows and students at the College, including the Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman, Sir John Hicks, Joseph Stiglitz and Sir Richard Stone. Having come second out of all of the Cambridge Colleges for tripos results in economics last year, Caius is one of the leading colleges at which to study economics. In 2013-4, close to half of our students achieved an overall first class grade in the economics tripos - double the number compared with the university average. We work hard to ensure that you can achieve your potential.
Our college lecturers do most of the supervising for our economics undergraduates, although we do 'trade’ teaching with other colleges too so you’re always sure to have an expert supervisor. We have five teaching officers in our economics department. Dr Victoria Bateman is Director of Studies in Part I and Part IIB. She teaches macroeconomics and economic history, and runs a Part I economics ‘reading group’ at the College which broadens knowledge beyond that of the syllabus. Her research focuses on historical analyses of market development and economic growth. Dr Clive Lawson is Director of Studies for Part IIA and his interests include economic methodology, organisational and collective learning, social theory and the philosophy of science. He supervises econometrics and statistics. Professor Richard Smith is Professor of Econometrics at the Faculty of Economics and supervises mathematics and advanced econometrics. His research interests include hypothesis testing and model selection in econometrics. Professor Coen Teulings is a leading figure in economic policymaking and an expert in areas such as Labour Economics.
We usually have about 6-10 students per year studying Economics at Caius. This means that Caius has one of the larger Economics communities in Cambridge. We have a diverse group of students and we continue to encourage applications from traditionally under-represented groups. A wide range of backgrounds is represented amongst the economics students at Caius and we would like to maintain this diversity. Not only does this allow our students to meet a wide range of people but it also helps our students to understand the different economic and social problems confronting different people.
Our students run an active college Economics Society and they regularly invite prominent economists/ public policy makers to give free lectures in the Caius lecture theatre.
We welcome applications from prospective students of all backgrounds and nationalities. Mathematics is a tool that most economists now use extensively and so economics students need to be confident in their use of mathematical tools such as differential calculus, matrix algebra and statistics. It is essential for A Level applicants to have A2 Maths and highly desirable for them to have Further Maths too. Other skills (such as analytical ability and literacy) are also essential but an Economics A level is not required; in fact, many of our very best students did not study Economics at school. We will, however, expect our candidates to understand basic economic concepts whether or not they have studied economics at school and this knowledge can be acquired e.g. by reading school-level economics texts and/or reading The Economist or similar magazines/newspapers regularly.
Academic potential is our only selection criterion. The information we use in assessing academic potential includes personal statements, school references, interview performance, examination results (including AS modular marks, when taken) and admissions test performance.
All applicants for Economics at Cambridge will be expected to sit the pre-interview written assessment. More details can be found on the University website. Please note that this university test will now replace the admissions test which applicants to Gonville & Caius have traditionally sat at the time of interview. This means that students will only be required to take one test: the same as that being taken by all applicants to Cambridge for the Economics Tripos.
Not everyone's application to study Economics at Caius will be successful. We usually have to turn away a number of excellent candidates because of space limitations and we realise how disappointing this is for our applicants and their schools. However, we put the best of our unsuccessful applicants into the inter-collegiate 'pool', to be taken by other colleges if we feel that these candidates have the potential to do well at Cambridge. Usually a good number of our pooled candidates are taken by other colleges each year.