Economics L100 – an in-depth guide to first year modules
Hello everyone! A-levels is coming up and I am aware that the readers are offer holders and some may want to know more about the Economics department. I will speak for my experience in this course. Please note that this is my personal view of this course and everyone’s experience differs from one another. This is also a description on Economics L100. There are also other courses from the Economics Department such as L116 Economics with Industrial Organisation, and many more. If there are any further queries about the modules, feel free to:
a) Refer to the Economics Undergraduate Handbook
– this tells you a lot more about the modules offered by the Department, the structure, support etc.
b) Visit the Economics Department webpage
– In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to find out about the modules in the Department, because you can learn about the modules in detail, and also identify past student performance (do note that this shouldn’t be the only criteria when choosing a module), module evaluation results to identify if the module suits your interest and the quality of teaching of that module.
c) Post discussions on this forum
– The other bloggers and I will be very willing to answer some of the questions, especially if its Economics related!
My first year experience in the Economics Department
In first year, you will have to take the four core modules; Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Quantitative Analysis and The World Economy: History and Theory. Each of these modules are 30 CATS each. CATS, short for Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme shows credit unit for each module. Say for example, Microeconomics has 30 CATS whereas an optional module may be worth 15 CATS. This means that Microeconomics carry a much heavier weight than an optional module in your overall marks. You can learn more about it here.
You will also have to choose optional(s) which will accumulate to a minimum of 24 CATS. I will talk about my optional modules which is Foundations of Finance and EC123 The Industrial Economy: Strategy in particular.
There are three terms in each year of university. First term and second term is generally when we have our lectures and seminars, whereas in third term, we will have our exams.
This module has a lot of reading. My tip is to make sure you attend the lectures and really understand the content of the module. Since the content of the modules may differ each year, perhaps I will not particular delve in on what we learn, but if you still are curious, do message me! There are not much maths involved here, it’s more about understanding the content and making sure you do the required reading for this module because the lecture notes may only touch on the surface of the content.
Offer holders burning question would always be, “will there be a lot of Maths in Economics?” Don’t worry, I was in your position too. Yes there is Maths, especially in Microeconomics, but as long as you have good Maths skills, i.e. understand differentiation and simultaneous equations. Microeconomics is one of the hardest module in first year, because not only will you need your Maths skills, you must also learn how to think intuitively. This module requires a lot of problem solving and I struggled to build my intuition last year. But I realised that I wasn’t the only one. It is important to really listen to lectures and participate in seminars because first year content gives a foundation to your second year modules. Hence, do not let yourself get distracted from your studies even if first year doesn’t count. Even if you are struggling, the Department offers some drop-in sessions for Statistical and Mathematical Techniques B (Part of the Quantitative Analysis module). So don’t worry if you are not a Maths person, not a lot of complex maths are involved. Eventually, you will understand the module by the end of first year with loads of practice and if you truly utilise the resources from the Department.
EC104 The World Economy: History and Theory
“This module explains how the world economy got to be where it is today, focusing on the success and failure of several key countries and regions.” (Source: Economics webpage)
This module for me is interesting because I got to know about the economy of the world and how ideas for the economies were formed back in the day from The Great Divergence all the way to the Golden Days of Europe. We also explored the economies in Latin America and Asia. It requires also a lot of reading. There are required and optional readings. Based on a sample of a first class essay I’ve seen, I can say that if you take time to do the readings, you will definitely score. Please also engage in seminars because it will help you in understanding the module better. Do the readings before coming to the seminar to engage in them.
EC123 Mathematical Techniques B
You will learn some Mathematical theory and apply them in the exercises given. I think that this module is fairly doable, you will learn the technique from this module and apply some of it in Microeconomics. Therefore, you must stay focused in all of the modules. These contents are brand new information, at least for me, I didn’t learn most of my first year content in A-Levels. My tip is to come to university with a fresh, clear mind so that you are willing to learn new information and make it stick.
EC124 Statistical Techniques B
To be honest, this is one of my favourite modules. I have always loved number crunching and this module allows me to do so! It also requires you to do a lot of problem solving, but as with all Maths modules, you must do tons of practice!
As I’ve mentioned before, you will be required to choose optionals which will accumulate to a minimum of 24 CATS. Some people may choose 2 12 CATS module, while some may choose a language, or politics module worth 30 CATS. This is where you have the opportunity to choose the module that suits you best and can help your performance in first year. I decided to choose Finance because I like Maths and problem solving, whereas I chose Strategy because I wanted to know more about Game Theory. But if you want to learn a new language, i.e. Spanish, German, Italian or do a Politics module, by all means, go ahead! You will be allocated a second-year mentor during Fresher’s Week who may be able to find people who did the module you are interested in hence you can ask them what they think of that module, and help you in choosing your optional modules.
EC132 The Industrial Economy: Strategy
I really enjoyed this module because it explored Game Theory in-depth and I like to learn how firms work, do they cooperate or compete? We also learn some theories about how firms compete, through price or quantities. I also believe that the content I learnt from this module helped me in Microeconomics in my second year.
IB132 Foundations of Finance
This is a WBS module, hence keep in mind that you are not restricted to choose only modules from the Economics Department. This module has a lot of Maths and understanding debt, equity, market efficiency etc. If you’re interested in Finance or would like to pursue Finance-related careers, perhaps you want to have a look at this module.
Therefore, these are my opinions for the modules I’ve taken in first year. I hope that this will help you to understand how the modules are like in the Economics Department. Overall, I feel that my first year is an ‘adjustment period’, where I am trying to find my footing in university and trying to get that ‘university student’ thinking. More importantly, I learnt to think more intuitively and that’s why I like Economics. The lecturers and tutors paved me a way to really think intuitively which is crucial if I aspire to be an economist or an analyst after graduation.
Do let me know if you want to know more about Economics in the comments 🙂