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School of Social Sciences

Students outside a lecture theatre at The University of Manchester
BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Computing for Social Scientists

Unit code ECON10151
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


See course Blackboard pages.


This unit aims to develop students’ intellectual, practical and transferable computing skills.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. Use and understand University IT systems, including library systems and associated citation and journal databases.
  2. Use the equation editor, styles and endnote referencing functionality within Microsoft Word and related software.
  3. Manipulate, summarise and visually represent data in Microsoft Excel.
  4. Use Microsoft Excel’s solver functionality to solve constrained dynamic optimization problems.
  5. Integrate Microsoft Excel output within a Microsoft Word report to quantitative reports at a professional standard.
  6. Use Microsoft Excel for financial analysis.
  7. Understand the basics of HTML and produce simple websites using web authoring software.


Weekly Schedule:


Week 1

  • Introduction (Face-to-Face Lecture)
  • University IT & Library Systems (Face-to-Face Lecture)

Week 2

  • Intermediate Word 1 (Web Lecture)
  • Intermediate Word 2 (Web Lecture)

Week 3

  • Excel Overview (Face-to-Face Lecture)
  • Excel 1 (Web Lecture)
  • Excel 2 (Web Lecture)
  • Word (Class)

Week 4

  • Excel 3 – Charts I (Web Lecture)
  • Excel – XY plots, correlation and causality (Web Lecture)
  • Data Distributions – frequency tables & histograms (Web Lecture)
  • Excel: data, functions & formulae (Class)


Week 5

  • The Integrated Word/Excel Project (Face-to-Face Lecture)
  • Excel: plots and data (Class)


Week 6

  • Reading Week


Week 7

  • The Solver Assignment (Face-to-Face Lecture)
  • Excel Solver (Web Lecture)


Week 8

  • Excel for Finance (Face-to-Face Lecture)
  • Excel: Solver (Class)
  • Onine Submission of Integrated Word/Excel Project


Week 9

  • Web Authoring 1 (Web Lecture)
  • Web Authoring 2 (Web Lecture)
  • Excel: Finance (Class)


Week 10

  • Web Authoring (Class)
  • Online Submission of Excel Solver Assignment


Week 11

  • Excel Multiple Choice Test (Completed in class time)

Teaching and learning methods

  • Face-to-Face Lectures
  • Web Lectures
  • Exercise Classes

The lectures are a mix of standard face-to-face format and web-based Flash lecture presentations that take you through the relevant material.

The web lectures are made available in Blackboard sequentially through the semester. You are required to view these lecture presentations before, rather than during, your exercise classes.

Employability skills

Students will obtain the practical computing skills identified in the Intended Learning Outcomes.

Assessment methods

Integrated Word/Excel Project (40%)

This involves downloading and manipulating data in Excel, creating charts, etc, and then integrating this Excel output in a Word document where you explain and discuss the patterns and relationships in the data made evident by your use of Excel.

To submit the project you:
1. Upload the electronic copy of your Word file in PDF format via Blackboard.
2. Upload the electronic copy of your Excel file via Blackboard.


Excel Solver Assignment (40%)

This involves downloading and manipulating data in Excel, to solve a constrained optimisation problem using Solver. You will then have to use your solutions to upload answers to specific questions about this constrained optimisation problem in a Test within Blackboard.


Excel Online Multiple Choice Test (20%)

There is one 40 minute Assessed Online Exercise comprising 20 multiple choice questions on all the material covered on Excel during the course. This is to be completed in Tutorial 7.  The test is not to be opened until instructed by your tutor in your tutorial class: it has a timer which starts counting down when opened. A practice test will be made available to provide sample questions.


For information about feedback please follow this link:


Feedback methods

  • Practice multiple choice test.
  • Feedback in classes.
  • Office hours.
  • Revision sessions.
  • Discussion boards.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 6
Practical classes & workshops 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 86

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Patrick Macnamara Unit coordinator

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