What makes the Cambridge Economics course so special?

Economics is an excellent choice for students who are interested in understanding how society and politics work. The Economics Tripos (undergraduate degree) at Cambridge affords students the opportunity to study both pure and applied economics in considerable depth.

Part I covers both macroeconomics and microeconomics, examining issues such as unemployment, inflation, economic growth, the role of the price mechanism in resource allocation, and the distribution of income. Part I also offers training in mathematical and statistical techniques. Finally the study of contemporary British politics and British economic history enables students to contextualise their knowledge of economics within both its political and long-term historical contexts. The approach adopted in Part I might best be described as “political economy”, with students examining the broader historical, sociological and political setting in which economic affairs are conducted.

Part II is a two-year course, the first of which is devoted to developing students’ analytical skills in economic theory and econometrics. The second year of the Part II course concentrates on the application of economic theory to a broad range of applied problems and policy issues such as the reform of the public services, the regulation of privatised industries, the merits of currency unions and the working of independent central banks. A wide range of options, ranging from papers in mathematical economics and statistics, through courses on industry, labour and monetary economics, to papers in economic history and politics, enable students to pursue their own interests, making Part II an extremely exciting and rewarding course.

Why Newnham for Economics?

The study of Economics has a long history at Newnham, and the College is associated with several distinguished economists. The College Library has an extensive holding of economics titles, and the subject is well represented among not only undergraduates but also graduate students at both the Master’s and PhD level. There is also a large and intensively used Faculty Library available to undergraduates and this is situated just across the road from the College, on the Sidgwick Site. The Faculty maintains its own computer system and software library, and this is used in the teaching of quantitative methods and statistics.

How many students take Economics at Newnham?

Economics is a flourishing subject in Newnham, and the College aims to admit four economists each year.

Can you tell me more about the Economics Fellows?

There are three senior members in Newnham who teach Economics:

  • Dr Sönje Reiche is the Director of Studies for Part I of the tripos. Her research interests are in mechanism design, contract theory and information economics.
  • Dr Alex Morris is the Director of Studies for Part II of the tripos. She is also a supervisor in Land Economy.
  • Dr Helen Bao is a Land Economist working in the areas of real estate economics and finance, behavioural economics, and housing economics.
What jobs do Newnham Economics students go on to do?

There are a growing number of specialised occupations open to graduates in the social sciences: in industry, finance and the civil service economists are to an increasing extent employed in a professional capacity. Although some students go directly into financial or industrial employment such as merchant banking, stockbroking, retail banking, investment analysis, industrial management, marketing etc., others obtain training in chartered accountancy or a master’s degree in business administration before pursuing similar careers in the city or in industry.

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

A prior acquaintance with economics is not required for admission. However, given the technical nature of the Economics Tripos, it is essential for candidates to have studied mathematics at A-level (or equivalent). Studying further mathematics is also strongly recommended. The qualities that we seek in candidates are those which indicate the potential to derive the greatest intellectual enjoyment and educational benefit from the Economics course: the ability to think analytically; good numeracy skills; the capability to marshal large amounts of information in order to form a balanced judgement about an issue; and a genuine enthusiasm for studying economic affairs.

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.

How can I prepare for interviews at Newnham?

All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Economics at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college). You must be registered in advance – separately from your UCAS application – to take this assessment.

Have a look at the College and University websites for advice on interview preparation.

Where can I find out more?

See the Faculty of Economics website for more details of the Tripos. Contact the Admissions Office for further information about Newnham.

The Economics Subject Overview on the ‘My HE+’ website also provides information and resources for exploring your subject.

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