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School of Social Sciences

Economics for Year 13

The course introduces Year 13 students to the social sciences as potential areas of future study through the discipline of economics.

Course aims

Classes are organised for Wednesday afternoons to fit with the timetables of recipient organisations. Given that teaching at university is markedly different from college, the course gives students the opportunity to see what it is like to be taught in a higher education session. 

What the course offers

The course offers an academic and social experience. Academically students are introduced to quantitative methods such as economic modelling, an essential tool for the study of economics at undergraduate level.

Each week students are supplied with undergraduate reading materials. The readings are used to construct an essay plan.

By the end of the programme students will feel confident in their ability to write an academic essay of first year undergraduate standard.

Socially the programme offers students an experience of university life, facilitating integration with current undergraduates in venues such as the University library and coffee bars.

The course at a glance

  • Course lead: Dr Tom McCunnie
  • Six x 2 hour weekly sessions in October/ November on Wednesday afternoons

Course content

The academic content builds upon current college studies and is pitched at first year undergraduate level. Students are provided with all the academic materials they need. All the work associated with the course is completed in class.

Week 1: Welcome and introduction

In this session students will be given information about the different ways of studying economics at undergraduate level. They will also get help on how to successfully apply for competitive undergraduate programmes.

Week 2: Economic systems in historical perspective

This class provides an essential background for the study of economics. To gain a comprehensive understanding of contemporary economic systems students need to understand what has gone before. We will examine the various economic systems that have been used by society over the past nine thousand years!

  • Supplied reading: Kennett D, A New View of Comparative Economic Systems p42-57, Harcourt College Publishers 2001

Week 3: What is macroeconomics? Political and social implications

In order to fully understand economics students need to be aware of the links between economics and the other social sciences. In this class we look at key economic issues such as the balance of payments, unemployment, inflation and economic growth. We analyse how these areas impact upon contemporary society before focussing on the topic of monetary integration.

  • Supplied reading: Gunnar Persson K, An Economic History of Europe: Knowledge, Institutions & Growth, 600 to the Present – International Monetary Regimes in History, p171-184 Cambridge University Press 2010

Week 4: Competing economic theories

In this session students construct their own economic theory. The purpose being to encourage original, creative thought before being 'exposed' to the well-established doctrines related to Keynesian, Marxist, Neoclassical and Austrian theory.

  • Supplied reading: 1. Atkinson B & S Johns, Studying Economics - Mainstream Approaches to Economics p48-62, Palgrave 2001

Week 5: Economic modelling

This is an essential tool for the study of undergraduate economics. Using graphical and algebraic analysis students will become familiar with the concept of economic modelling. Examples will be drawn from the worksheets used in first year undergraduate tutorials.

  • Lecture notes / slides: An Introduction to Keynesian Theory and Economic Modelling - Tom McCunnie

Week 6: How to write an undergraduate economics essay

Using only the material from the above sessions students will construct an essay plan based on a first year undergraduate economics essay. Students will then have the option to complete the essay and have it marked using first year undergraduate criteria.

Undergraduate writing skills handout - Planning, referencing, bibliographies and plagiarism

All students successfully completing the course will be given a copy of the textbook: Mallard. G. The Economics Companion (2011) Palgrave Macmillan