About the course
What are the causes of 'credit crunches' and how do their effects spread throughout the economy? What determines the value of Pound Sterling relative to the US Dollar or Euro? How do stock market prices affect asset prices? Financial events are rarely far from the forefront of headline news. They have an impact that extends far beyond the financial sector to affect almost every aspect of daily life, including income, employment, prices, property value and cost of mortgages.
Our BA Financial Economics (Including Year Abroad) is built on the core principles of economics that are then applied to study banks and other financial institutions, financial markets (such as the stock exchange) and financial instruments. Our course gives you a thorough introduction to all aspects of economics and mathematics and introduces you to quantitative research methods. In your first year, you have the opportunity to take an optional module from across our Faculty of Social Science.
During your second year, you develop your knowledge in economics and finance and can take mathematics modules. While on your year abroad you must take modules related to your course. In your final year you take Economic Analysis of Asset Prices, Economics of Bond and Derivatives Markets and International Money and Finance. You are also required to complete a project, which is an excellent way to evidence the skills you have learnt to future employers or prepare for postgraduate study.
Whether you continue studying or go into work, you will graduate secure in the knowledge you have received one of the best undergraduate training available in economics, from one of the top-rated research departments in the UK.
Why study BA Financial Economics (Including Year Abroad) at Essex?
As a student of economics at Essex, you will experience a lively, informal environment with many possibilities to pursue your own interests. One such opportunity is provided by the students’ Economics Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways and organising debates on topical subjects. There are other societies which may be of interest to you including; Essex entrepreneurs, Essex Enterprise Group and Investment & Trading.
Our Department of Economics consistently receives good student satisfaction ratings, achieving 87% overall satisfaction in 2012. We were ranked joint third in the UK in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008), reflecting our well-established reputation for excellence. The quality of our work is shown in our stream of publications in high profile academic journals like American Economic Review, Econometrica and Review of Economic Studies. Much of our research is related to policy and we often provide advice to government and non-government organisations.
Why study this subject?
The world of finance has an impact on people, business and government. Studying Financial Economics will provide you with a foundation in economics, then go on to give you a comprehensive understanding of how the financial system works and the ways that it affects people’s lives. You will gain quantitative, analytical and research skills. While on your year abroad you will develop your cultural awareness, confidence and independence.
As a student on this course you will be able to take advantage of our extensive learning resources, including laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for quantitative analysis, as well as our University library, which provides access to a variety of economics databases as well as multiple copies of textbooks, e-books and materials to support your learning.
Study abroad/placement opportunities
Within our Department of Economics, we offer an international exchange variant for this course. This enables you to broaden your understanding of the subject by studying at a partner institution in the EU, or in the rest of the world, during your third year of this four-year course. Apart from your year abroad, our international exchange variant of this course is identical to our corresponding three-year course.
In your first and second year, you will 90 credits of compulsory modules and will get 30 credits of optional modules, meaning you can take two optional 15 credit half-year modules or one 30 credit full-year module. There is a great deal of choice for this optional module, as most of our first-year modules do not assume any specialist knowledge.
With a small number of exceptions, if you successfully complete the first year of your BA, then you are qualified to enter the second year of that course and a range of other courses: for example, if you take economics, politics, philosophy and sociology, then you have a choice of at least nine possible single or joint honours courses at the end of your first year. This means you can change your course, providing you have taken the appropriate pre-requisites and places are available.
You spend your third year abroad. In your final year you will have a bit more flexibility; you will have 45 credits of optional courses, 45 credits of compulsory modules and a 30 credit research project, an individual piece of research on a topic that interests you, which is compulsory.
We operate a credit framework for our awards, which is based on principles widely used across the UK university sector. Each module has a credit rating attached and our four-year course consists of 420 credits (120 credits in your first year, 60 credits in your third year abroad, and 240 credits across your second and final years).
Year 1 core and optional modules
Introduction to Economics;
Introduction to Quantitative Economics;
Methods of Economic Analysis; and
one social science option
Year 2 core and optional modules
Mathematical Methods in Economics (optional for BA);
Introduction to Econometric Methods (optional for BA);
Financial Instruments and Capital Markets; and
Financial Innovations and Monetary Policy
Year 3 core and optional modules
Year 4 core and optional modules
Economics Research Project;
Economic Analysis of Asset Prices;
Economics of Bond and Derivatives Markets;
International Money and Finance;
three half-year modules
As a new undergraduate, you may find university-level learning, assessment and studying differs to school or college. Here at Essex, we understand and recognise this by having support in place, particularly during your first year when you may notice the change more.
If you are studying a non-science subject, then your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students. A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week. Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions.
First-year assessment is a combination of written coursework, end-of-term tests, practical and laboratory work (where appropriate) and end-of-year exams.
Teaching methods and styles
Within our Department of Economics, teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience.
In our large first- and second-year modules (typically with over 150 students in each), there are two hours of lectures per week attended by everyone. Here, your lecturer presents a general overview of the subject and guides you on the priorities for each topic. We also offer additional support classes. Alongside this, each week, you attend a class (with 15 to 20 other students) to discuss issues arising from these lectures or to solve exercises related to the topics studied.
In your more specialist and advanced options, the distinction between your lectures and classes is less obvious because teaching often takes the form of seminars in which you are encouraged to participate directly.
You will encounter a distinctive learning experience in your final-year research project, supervised individually by a member of staff. Your research will begin towards the end of your second year, when you choose a topic (either from an approved list or one you propose yourself – each student has a unique topic). Then, in consultation with your supervisor, you complete your project – in the form of a dissertation – shortly before you finish your course. This project is an excellent way to showcase your skills to potential employers or to use as a preparation for postgraduate study.
Methods of assessment
As an undergraduate within our Department of Economics, your assessment in each year is by coursework (assignments, essays and tests) and end-of-year examinations. While all your marks will appear on your transcript, only those beyond your first year count towards your final degree class. For many of your second- and final-year modules, coursework takes the form of a term paper – an extended essay that enables you to research a subject in-depth. Your final-year research project is equivalent to a full-year module (ie a quarter of your year’s assessment).
Our courses embed a wide range of employability skills that can have a major impact on your future career choice. You develop strong analytical skills, like problem solving, data analysis and quantitative skills, which are valued highly by employers. In particular, you will find that your background in economics statistics and methods enhances your employability. Your experience in writing term papers, and your research project, develops vital communication and writing abilities. If you proceed to study for a postgraduate qualification, all of these skills will prove invaluable.
In addition, learning a foreign language will provide you with much sought-after skills in communication, both written and spoken. At a time when companies and organisations in the UK and abroad are struggling to find university graduates who are fluent in more than just English, having a studied a foreign language as part of your course in economics places you in a very advantageous position. Studying abroad, in your third year, provides you with insights into other cultures and enables you to adapt to new and changing surroundings. These skills have value in a job market that is becoming increasingly global and will be appreciated by employers, whatever career path you follow.
Our students find themselves in demand from a wide range of employers in a host of occupations, including financial analysis, management, public administration and accountancy, as well as directly in roles using economic knowledge. For example, some of our most recent graduates from BA Financial Economics have found employment as a business development manager at American Express, and as an investment analyst at Fiducia Wealth Management.
Other graduates of our Department have found work with Barclays Capital, Ernst and Young, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, the Government Economic Service (eg HM Treasury or the Department of Trade and Industry, and Employment), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, just to name a few.
Finally, many graduates pursue their studies at a postgraduate level (eg MSc and PhD programmes) at our University, as well as in other top international institutions.
Your employability and Essex
At Essex we take your employability seriously, helping you become a rounded individual with the ability to succeed, whatever your plans. You’ll find your department works with our Employability and Careers Centre to inform you about options to study or work overseas, your Faculty Employability Coordinator finds degree-related work placements, and our Students’ Unions ensures that, annually, over 700 students volunteer and more than 4,000 get involved in sports, clubs and societies.
At Essex you can gain new skills that look good on your CV, like paid placements through our frontrunners scheme, graduate-level paid internships, and opportunities to develop discipline-specific skills as part of your studies.
We help you understand your skills, and how to demonstrate these to an employer. You can get our extra-curricular employability award – the Big Essex Award – recorded on your transcript, receive one-to-one advice on careers, use our Essex CV guides on applying for work, learn from famous entrepreneurs and take part in workshops, and meet employers through on-campus events.
We develop your employability through fantastic opportunities, and give you the tools to explore the meaning of your unique experiences, so you are ready for your future.
Here at Essex, our students can undertake period of study or work abroad specifically tailored to his/her academic interests and future career plans. You are taught and assessed by your host university, so assessment may be in the form of written papers, oral or written exams, lab or project work, research, or work-based learning. All successfully completed pre-approved modules will be credited towards your Essex degree.
Study abroad is an excellent opportunity for personal development. It affords you the chance to become immersed in another culture over a sustained period, coming to know a country and its people in a way that you could not hope to as a tourist. It is also an opportunity to experience a different educational system and develop different skills. You learn to view the world (and your academic discipline) from another perspective, becoming more independent and confident.
Study abroad also enhances your employability. It helps your CV stand out from other candidates and signals to an employer that you have maturity, adaptability and organisational skills. As the world of business is becoming increasingly international, the experience of living abroad is, in itself, attractive to many employers. Depending upon your study abroad destination, you may also gain fluency in another language, which is a highly attractive skill to have as you enter the employment market.
If you are interested in learning another language then our Languages for All programme enables you to study a language, alongside your course, at no extra cost. You can take one of 50 taught language modules on a part-time day-time basis, or undertake flexible web-based learning, or opt for a language module taught in the evening. As employers can struggle to find graduates able to speak more than one language, Languages for All places Essex graduates in a very advantageous position.
Within our Department of Economics, we offer taught Masters courses, as well as research supervision for PhD and MPhil. Our MSc courses provide a thorough and up-to-date training in the theory, methods and applications of modern economics. They allow you to specialise in the fields of your choice and each has a set of core components that can be combined with optional modules to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding across several topics. Some of our courses have ESRC Doctoral Training Centre accreditation, meaning they can form part of a 1+3 funding opportunity worth up to £18,000 each for talented postgraduates.
Essex economists are engaged in a variety of research networks and collaborate with economists at other universities in the UK and overseas. Much of our research is related to policy and we often provide advice to government and non-government organisations. We also aim to apply economic methods to new and original ways. One example is Professor Andrea Galeotti’s research on the diffusion of information through social networks, another is Professor Marco Francesconi’s work on how resource allocation takes place within the family.
GCSE Mathematics: B (if not taken at A-level)
GCSE English: C
IB: 33-32 points, including Standard Mathematics grade 5, if not taken Higher Level (we consider IB certificates at the Higher Level on a case-by-case basis)
Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 12 level three credits at distinction and the remainder at merit (or above) or achievement of the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 6 level three credits at distinction and the remainder at merit (or above).
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5 in each component (or equivalent). Different requirements apply for second year entry.
We accept a wide range of other qualifications from applicants studying in the UK, EU and other countries. For further details about the qualifications that we accept, please e-mail us with information about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
We welcome applications from mature students, students interested in direct entry to the second year and students wishing to defer entry.
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.