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Whether your future career lies in financial services or elsewhere, the Cambridge University Economics course aims to develop your knowledge of the workings of economic systems along with a sense of the economic dimensions of social and political issues. While the specialised nature of this degree enables you to concentrate on studying economics in considerable depth, the course recognizes that economists need to employ modes of thought and techniques drawn from many other disciplines, among them history, politics, mathematics and statistics, and philosophy.
Churchill College has a distinguished history in Economics, built up in large part by one of its founding Fellows, Frank Hahn. He was an economic theorist of the first rank who had command over the technical details of pure theory that was not surpassed by any economist of the time. He later became President of the Royal Economic Society (1986-89). Just as Winston Churchill had a vision of the college as an MIT for Britain, so Frank thought that Economics could play a similar role in a science and engineering oriented college as it did in MIT. He played an important role in reviving the Faculty of Economics at Cambridge as one of the world’s leading centres of economic theoretical research and teaching
Bob Solow (from MIT), responsible for the famous ‘Solow growth’ model, has been an Overseas Fellow on several occasions and continues to keep in touch; the late Ken Arrow, famous for his ‘impossibility theorem’, was an Honorary Fellow; and the French-born American economist Gerard Debreu was a visiting Fellow. The 2016 Nobel Laureate, Oliver Hart (now at Harvard), was an early teaching Fellow and is now an Honorary Fellow.
A whole galaxy of other impressive economists have enjoyed Fellowships. The late Tony Atkinson, former Warden of Nuffield College Oxford and one of the most distinguished British economists, was one of the first undergraduates of the College, and (we think) the first to be made a professor, first at Essex, then London, then returning to Cambridge and a professorial Fellowship in the College before leaving for Oxford. He became an Honorary Fellow. Douglas Gale, a former research Fellow and Chairman of the Faculty at New York University, has also been a Churchill College Fellow. The College has hosted the Churchill Lectures in Economics, and has enjoyed lectures from Peter Diamond, Paul Milgrom (of spectrum auction fame), Douglas Gale and Ariel Rubinstein, all subsequently published by Cambridge University Press.
Economics Fellows at Churchill have traditionally been highly involved in the wider academic world, particularly the United States, Europe and Japan. Many former students hold high office in universities, international organisations, government and industry, often exhibiting a commitment to public service at a national and international level. The undergraduate training at Cambridge is an excellent preparation for professional economics, which is itself a key to policy making, business strategy, and intellectual challenge.
Finally, we would like to stress that Economics is one of the few subjects where those who enjoy maths, science, building rigorous arguments and testing existing theories can work happily in more analytical areas such as mathematical economics, game theory, statistics or econometrics, while those who enjoy writing essays, arguing their side of an argument and convincing others can specialise in more applied areas such as public economics, money and banking or industrial economics.
When considering Economics as a possible course of study, you should consider the following three categories: your A Level / IB Higher Level choices, your other qualifications and interests, and the choices which Economics makes available to you.
A Level / IB Higher Level Maths is a requirement at Churchill. This is because we firmly believe that for someone without Maths, achieving the minimum level of maths required would not leave enough time to do sufficiently well in the remaining elements of the Economics course. However, A Level / IB Higher Level Economics is not a requirement as the course assumes no prior Economics knowledge. Science A Levels / IB Higher Levels are useful both for their additional maths content and the analytical thinking that they encourage, and Further Maths at A Level is especially recommended. A Levels / IB Higher Levels in the arts, humanities and social sciences such as languages, English, History, Politics, Geography, and many more are useful for analytical and essay-writing skills. As a result typical applicants might have a range of A Levels / IB Higher Levels from Maths, Further Maths (A Level), Physics and Chemistry, through to combinations like Maths, English, Economics, History, and the like.
A broad range of top-grade GCSEs or equivalent are important. More generally, a keen mind interested in solving analytical and logical problems, and interest in current affairs is vital. The ability to change and learn is also crucial: it may be that you come to Cambridge with particular opinions on government intervention, health, education, transport, trade and globalisation. Be prepared for your views to change as you learn more about the theory and application of the relevant areas of Economics.
|A Level / IB Higher Level Mathematics||A Level Further Mathematics is highly desirable. A Level / IB Higher Level Economics is useful.|
Please note that IB applicants sitting the new (from 2019) syllabus should take the Higher Level Analysis and Approaches Maths course.
For details about potential A Level and IB offer conditions in your target degree, see our Typical Offers webpage and select your course from the University's Course Listing homepage then check out the "Subject Requirements and Typical Offers" link in the Entry Requirements tab.
For other qualifications, see our Typical Offers page.
Cambridge University uses a system of common format admissions assessments, specifically tailored to each subject. These give us valuable additional evidence of your academic ability, knowledge base, and potential to succeed at Cambridge. For more information about the admissions assessment in this subject, click on:
You will not be required to submit any written work as part of the application process.
Applicants asked to interview will normally receive two interviews. You will be given preparatory questions to work on prior to one of your interviews, and will be able to take your workings into the meeting for discussion. Other questions will likely be on economics and your other interests. The content of the questions discussed in the interviews varies year by year, but will typically be a simplified version of what you might expect to see in a first year undergraduate supervision at Cambridge in microeconomics or macroeconomics.
We will try to ensure that knowledge of economics is not required (everything you need should be explained in our questions), though we would expect those with no background in economics to have done some relevant reading and thinking. Typically this might be through reading relevant newspapers such as the Economist, Financial Times or any good broadsheet, or a general interest economics text such as Tom Schelling's Micromotives and Macrobehavior or Axinish Dixit's Thinking Strategically. Any book that focuses on the underlying principles of economics, and especially rigorous analytical or logical thinking will be helpful.
An Economics degree from Cambridge is more than just a good general degree suitable for virtually all graduate careers. It's a degree tailored to a finance career in the City or management consulting, and even to professional economics, perhaps working as an economist in the City, Treasury or Bank of England. You may even find your thirst for economics drives you on to take a masters or doctorate and a career in academic Economics, or work in an international institution such as the World Bank or IMF might await.
For more information and for all admissions enquiries, please contact the Admissions Office.
Our new Winston Churchill Sixth Form Economics Prize gives students in Year 12 the chance to win £150 and a two-day stay at Churchill. To win, predict the daily spot nominal Euro-Sterling exchange rate to four decimal places as of 1 June 2019 and give a commentary of no more than 400 words to justify their prediction.