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BSc Economics (4 Years Including Foundation Year)

Why we're great

  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • Our international students benefit from a single visa for all four years of study.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: L103
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: International Academy
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £11,750

Subsequent years will be charged at the standard undergraduate degree fee for international students

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: L103
Duration: 4 years
Start month: January
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: International Academy
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £11,750

Subsequent years will be charged at the standard undergraduate degree fee for international students

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666

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About the course

Our BSc Economics (including foundation year) is open to Home, EU and international students. It will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your English language and academic skills.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study four academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory English language and academic skills module.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our International Academy, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Economics. Our course gives you a thorough introduction to all aspects of economics, including micro and macroeconomics, and qualitative and mathematical research methods. Our BA Economics offers you a large degree of flexibility, giving you freedom to focus on a broad range of areas which inspire you. You’ll study all the major mainstream fields, but we have particular strengths in these areas:

  • Game theory and strategic interactions
  • Theoretical and applied econometrics
  • Labour economics

We are rated consistently highly for student satisfaction and are top 5 in the UK for research, with over 90% of our research rated as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014).

Your education is inspired and informed by this pioneering research, so that you graduate with a strong training in economics.

Our expert staff

Our staff all have strong subject backgrounds, and are highly skilled in their areas both as academics and practitioners.

Within our Department of Economics, you are taught by the most prominent economists. Our researchers are at the forefront of their field and have even received MBEs, with students coming from across the globe to study, research or work with us. Our Department of Economics is a richly diverse home to staff and students from all over the world who have a strong sense of belonging and want to think, learn and change the world together.

Many of our researchers also provide consultancy services to businesses in London and other major financial centres, helping us to develop research for today's society as well as informing our teaching for the future.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our International Academy for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our Academy to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

Our Department of Economics also offers excellent on-campus facilities:

Your future

Many employers want economists with critical thinking skills who can tackle large data sets and practical problems. Our course helps you to become more employable and takes you closer to that dream job or postgraduate course when you graduate.

Our students are in demand from a wide range of employers in a host of occupations, including financial analysis, management, public administration and accountancy.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • Bank of England
  • Barclays Capital
  • Citigroup
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst and Young
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Bank of New York
  • Santander

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 0

Want to use mathematical techniques to solve problems? And to calculate basic statistical measures? Develop mathematical skills like number work, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics that can be used on any course requiring mathematics above Higher GCSE standard. Learn to solve relevant problems and know how to present data clearly.

What are the key concepts in business management today? Explore core elements within the field of business management, covering topics in banking, finance, management and accounting. Apply theoretical concepts to key organisations, companies and institutions. Develop your analytical skills and practical knowledge of this dynamic sector.

What is economics? And what are the main economic theories and principles? Build your understanding, studying topics in microeconomics and macroeconomics. Develop your knowledge of economic implications and build your analytic skills in using simple mathematical techniques and economic diagrams.

Academic Skills covers the key areas that you will experience during your degree, preparing you for aspects of academic study at undergraduate level. The module enables you to develop and enhance your existing abilities by focusing on the core skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in an academic context. It does this with both generic texts and also, crucially, those related to your subject area. Academic Skills provides strategies for successful communication and interaction through independent and collaborative learning offering opportunity to further enhance your research skills. The content is designed to ensure that you acquire a range of transferable employability and life skills.

Year 1

How do consumers make decisions? Or firms conduct different market strategies? What impact does government policy have on inflation? Or unemployment? Develop your knowledge of economics in relation to a range of contemporary issues. Learn how to apply both micro and macroeconomic principles to the analysis of such problems.

Are you ready for graduate employment? Like to improve your core skills? Need to know more about the working world? Attend workshops, events and activities to build your knowledge, abilities and experience with this compulsory, zero credit module that runs during your three years of undergraduate study.

What are the main sources of economic data? And how is data used in economics? Study the methods of quantitative economics, looking at how economic data is described and analysed. Learn to read, understand and manipulate data from both a theoretical and empirical perspective.

What mathematical techniques are required for a modern economics degree? Do you have the mathematical tools to attack economic problems? If you are worried that your mathematical background could hold you back, then learn the mathematical skills needed when studying problems of economic interest.

How do economists interpret data? How can we test relationships suggested by economic theory? How do we use economic theories to analyse real world issues? This module helps you to understand simple and commonly used statistical and econometric techniques, and important software for applied economics. You learn how data can be used to analyse real world economic problems.

Year 2

What tools can you use for macroeconomic analysis? And how can these then be applied to macro-policy issues? Learn how to build alternative macroeconomic models and apply analytical reasoning. Examine real-life macroeconomic questions, on topics such as government budgets or wage-price flexibility, and critically evaluate macroeconomic policies.

How do consumers behave in a competitive market? And what about producers? How do various imperfections affect the outcome of decentralised markets? Study the fundamental concepts and methods in microeconomics. Understand the tools and methods of analysis for economic reasoning, and develop your critical approach to economic issues and policies.

What mathematical methods can analyse economic problems? And what mathematical tools are needed to understand economic models? Gain an introduction to the mathematical methods commonly used in economics, build your knowledge of mathematical tools for work in economics and develop your understanding of the mathematical language used in economic literature.

Which econometric methods can analyse economic data? How do you critically assess applied economic literature? Learn how to carry out statistical and econometric calculations, plus gain experience of using the Stata software package. Demonstrate your subsequent understanding of the linear regression model with your own investigation on an empirical issue.

Are you ready for graduate employment? Like to improve your core skills? Need to know more about the working world? Attend workshops, events and activities to build your knowledge, abilities and experience with this compulsory, zero credit module that runs during your three years of undergraduate study.

Why did industrialisation first occur in Europe, not China or India? How did economic growth lead to the Industrial Revolution? What impact did two world wars have on the global economy? Explore the process of economic change and development from the sixteenth-century to the present day.

Final year

What interests you? Design and implement your own research project, under the guidance and supervision of our world-leading academic staff. Demonstrate your knowledge of economic ideas in greater depth, building your professional research skills and developing further understanding of a topic that fascinates you.

In this module you will explore a range of methods used in the modern application of econometric techniques to economic and financial data. The course will enable you to practise the relevant methods, rather than to derive estimators or tests, or to prove the theorems upon which these are based.

Expand on the mathematical techniques you developed in Mathematical Methods in Economics. You’ll learn how to use additional mathematical tools, which will enable you to analyse a larger, richer, and more interesting set of economic models. The main focus of the course is on methods for studying dynamic economic problems. Rather than concentrating exclusively on mathematical techniques, intuition for how and why these techniques work will be developed through application to specific economic problems.

Gain a rich background in the concepts and techniques of game theory, its uses, limitations and issues. The course is also applied, focussing on several important cases of strategic interaction, including auctions, interactions between rival firms, moral hazard and adverse selection, and the theory of the firm. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to evaluate the impact the strategic considerations in the analysis of interactions among decision-makers, and you will have learned how to apply game theory to issues in microeconomics.

This module develops the material started in Intermediate Macroeconomics and aims to give students an understanding of the main types of economic data; how those data are collected, constructed and used and Key ideas in the module will be illustrated with reference to recent events and current policy debates. Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to approach macroeconomic data critically, and to evaluate the strength of empirical evidence for macroeconomic theories and macroeconomic policy positions.

How do economic theories determine asset prices? Can you apply analytical reasoning to asset pricing problems? Understand capital markets and explore the predictability of asset price changes. Learn to build simple models of asset markets and how to interpret the mathematics of such models in economic terms.

How do firms make decisions? And how do these decisions impact on the prices you pay? What role does game theory play? Understand strategic interaction among firms, using theoretical tools to examine real-world examples. Analyse the main economic forces behind firm behaviour, adapting economic models to study particular challenges.


  • Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
  • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
  • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention
  • Teaching is arranged to allow freedom in how you organise your learning experiences
  • Optional support classes in Economics


  • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

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UK entry requirements

A-levels: DDD, or equivalent in UCAS tariff points, to include 2 full A-levels.
GCSE: Mathematics C

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall.

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

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) 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.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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