First year economics optional modules
Hi guys!As you’re all preparing to begin university soon (just about a month), I thought I’d write about optional modules in your first year of economics. Just to be clear, I am a BSc. Economics student so I will discuss what the optional modules are for us, but it doesn’t differ that much compared to BSc. Econ and Industrial Organization or EPAIS so this will be useful for anyone doing a degree with the Economics department.
Firstly, you will be able to pick two optional modules for the year and it is advisable to choose one for the autumn term and one for the spring term. For general advice about choosing optional modules, I would say go through the internal list, that is, what the department provides. Consider all the options available for autumn term and weigh them against each other and do the same for the spring term. When looking at each module, go through the principal aims and learning outcomes, as this will tell you what kind of skills and knowledge you will develop. The syllabus is also a very important as this will give you a detailed overview of what will be taught in the module. The next section lists who the module is meant for, so do check whether you would be eligible to take a particular module. Another important thing to consider is what the prerequisites might be (this is also listed in the module page) for that module and how this links to what you might want to take in second year. Not all modules have prerequisites so do check this information carefully. Also take a look at the assessment method – some module may have more coursework and this can be essay-based or problem set-based and for some modules it can be majorly assessed through exams. This is important to consider because you might be better at essay-based work or maybe you prefer something more mathematical. Think about this but also think about what skills you want to improve as first year is a good way for you to try to develop new skills (as your marks do not count towards your degree classification).
If you are interested in taking an optional module from outside the department, look at the approved options but also even if you want to do something else, you can fill out an unusual modules request form and then get this approved from the department. Further, language modules are also an option to look into – I do not know too much about this, but my advice is to read the student handbook as this gives you detailed information about choosing your optional modules and what factors to consider.
One thing I’d like to say is, if you’re indecisive about which optional modules you want to take, don’t worry. In my first year, we were allowed to attend lectures from several modules to try them out and see what we liked before making our final choices. So if you want to go to a couple lectures to see what it’s like, feel free to do so! (Disclaimer – I’m not sure what it’s going to be like this year, given online lectures but I’m sure you will know more about this when you arrive). Another great way to find out about optional modules is to talk to people about it. You could reach out to second year Economics students and ask about their experience with the modules they chose to get some more insight and feedback about it. However, take this with a pinch of salt, as each person’s experience will be different, based on their interests and skills. Another great resource is your personal tutor so if you are confused about how to choose an optional module, do reach out to them as they can help you with both the administrative things you need to consider but also syllabus and content.
Whew, that was long! I’m going to give you a very short summary of the two optional modules I took and share my thoughts on them. In the autumn term, I took The Industrial Economy: Strategy and in the spring term, I took Foundations of Finance from WBS. I really loved Industrial Economy as I found the content very interesting and engaging. It also set me up really well for micro in term 2, as there was an overlap in some of the content. This is a really great module to take as it introduces you to game theory and how firms behave and compete. I also enjoyed Foundations of Finance as I found it very useful, especially if you are interested in a career in finance. The content is well designed and structured but for me, personally, I decided that finance wasn’t for me (also for a career) so I preferred industrial strategy over the finance module. However, it’s a great module and very popular among students, so don’t be discouraged by my views!
I hope this helped you! Feel free to reach out to me if you want to know more about any other optional modules!