Land Economy

What is Land Economy?

Land Economy is the study of the use, development and management of the environment, land and other natural resources. It has at its core, the disciplines of Law and Economics and their application to the environment, broadly defined. Drawing primarily on theories and concepts from Economics and Law, students analyse how the private and public sector allocates resources, what implications this has for society and the environment, and why and how governments seek to affect individuals and companies and other countries. Though the analysis concentrates on economically advanced countries, there are significant opportunities to examine less developed countries and regions.

What makes the Cambridge course in Land Economy so special?

Cambridge is one of very few universities in the world to offer this course. The Land Economy course encourages you to develop an understanding of complex legal, economic, political and administrative questions. For example, how can the efficiency and profitability of industries dealing with the environment be improved? Can the law protect the Environment? What is climate change? How should private development objectives be balanced against the need to conserve social assets? Can the divisive effects of uneven economic development (whether within the nation, region or city) be evened out? In poor countries, what should governments do in the face of the explosive growth of urban areas and rural depopulation?

How many students take Land Economy at Newnham and what options do they choose?

Newnham aims to admit two students a year to read Land Economy.

It is possible to read Land Economy for one, two or three years. In your first year you will gain solid grounding in Economics, including not only microeconomics and macroeconomics, but also areas of particular interest in relation to land. You will also be educated in Law, with detailed papers in Private Law, and the Law of Real Property in the second year, and Landlord and Tenant Law in the third year. In your second and third years you may choose courses which lead towards a specific professional career, or make choices with a view to a wide range of jobs in business or administration within the public or the private sector. Many of our students go onto work in Government or for regional or international organisations.

How will I be taught at Newnham?

The coursework and supervisions (in small groups) are supplemented by field trips within the UK. Recent visits have included an examination of the role of a major shopping centre in a new town, the redevelopment of the London Docklands, the economics and management of public and private forests, and the effectiveness of the public inquiry system and court system.

The Department has a large number of research projects funded by foundations, research councils, government departments and international agencies. Findings from the research are publicised and serve to stimulate the teaching programme.

Can you tell me more about the Land Economy Fellows?

Newnham’s Director of Studies, Professor Martin Dixon, is a University Professor of Law in the Department of Land Economy. His research interests include the law of real property, with emphasis on co-owned land, mortgages and the land registration system; international law, especially the roles of international organisations including the United Nations; relationship with municipal law and state sovereignty.

Dr Helen Bao is a University Senior Lecturer in real estate finance, focusing on the areas of valuation and housing economics. Her research interests include hedonic price modelling using semi–parametric techniques, sample selection bias in property price indices and the land market and public housing policy in the Greater China Region.

What jobs do Newnham Land Economy students go on to do?

The employment prospects of graduates in Land Economy are excellent, with no subject having a higher employment rate. There are a wide range of opportunities in occupations dealing with business, finance, the law, management consultancy, the civil service, planning and development, in both urban and rural contexts, and in many other academic, professional, industrial and government spheres. Many graduates enter the legal profession or work in the public sector; others find interesting careers in banking and other financial institutions, consultancy, management, agricultural, environmental planning, urban and regional analysis, and multinational organisations.

Are there any A-level subjects that are particularly useful?

There are no course requirements for entry to the Department, although mathematics (to at least AS-level or equivalent), geography and economics are useful. Whether you have specialised in arts subjects, sciences or social sciences, or a mixed arts/science course, you will find Land Economy a subject in which you can further your skills and interests. Additional teaching is provided for those without an economics or statistical background. No knowledge of law is required.

Can I take a gap year?

We are happy to offer deferred places to applicants who have plans for a year out. Some students take jobs to build up their financial resources, or work abroad to improve their language skills and experience another culture. Most gap year students feel they have benefited from the experience, and have no trouble getting back into the swing of academic work once they arrive, although we do suggest some revision is done in the weeks before arriving in Cambridge.

Pre-interview admissions assessment

All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Land Economy at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

Where can I find out more?

There is a lot more information on the Department of Land Economy website.

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