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BA International Economics

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  • We give you diverse employment potential and the chance to meet future employers.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: L115
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Economics
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: L163
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Economics
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: 9O47
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Economics
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
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

How do different countries around the world trade, and what systems do they use? How much of an influence do historical events have on the development of international policies? Our course gives you a solid grounding in economics, and has a focus on international areas such as world trade, world economy, international monetary relations and the flow of trade and assets between countries.

You develop your abilities in economics and gain confidence in applying them to international situations, as well as receiving expert training in quantitative research methods, through study of topics including:

  • Models of international trade and the world trading system
  • Foreign exchange markets
  • The history of European overseas trading
  • International financial organisations
  • The impact of business decisions on products, prices, and social welfare

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).

The global economy affects everyone. Studying international economics gives you a greater understanding of the world around you; it teaches you how the global economy functions, how trade and assets flow between countries, and how monetary relations operate on an international scale. By studying our course, you graduate with a strong training in international economics.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you by providing the option of an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. Particularly as a student of International Economics, you benefit from this international experience.

Popular destinations include:

  • Bocconi Universit (Italy)
  • Monash University (Australia)
  • North Carolina University (USA)
  • Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)

Placement year

Alternatively, you can spend your third year on a placement year with an external organisation, where you learn about a particular sector, company or job role, apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment, and receive inspiration for future career pathways. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

Our expert staff

Study and work alongside some of 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

Take advantage of our extensive learning resources to assist you in your studies:

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
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst and Young
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Bank of New York
  • RBB Economic Consulting
  • Government Economic Service

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Want to know more about the IMF or the Federal Reserve? Interested in the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism? Examine these international financial institutions to evaluate their existence, policies and effects on the international monetary system. Understand the institutional framework within which international financial relations are organised.

Which institutions control international trade? How are they organised? What are their objectives? And why are some of their activities deemed controversial? Study the world trading system since World War Two, learning about the most important issues in international trade policy and deepening your knowledge of the global economy.

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.

Final year

What shapes international trade? And what determines trade policy? Study theories and empirical evidence of international trade, and examine recent research on trade patterns and strategic trade policies. Understand discussions of international trade in the business press and express your own opinion on such issues.

How do foreign exchange markets determine trade? Understand the economic role that international currency markets play. Study models to interpret exchange rate movements and how this links to key macroeconomic variables. Analyse real-life policies that respond to events in the international monetary system.

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.

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.

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.

Using your existing knowledge of microeconomics, you will develop your understanding of the methods used in the study of Corporate Finance, and how they are applied to real-world situations in today’s corporate world. You will look at concepts of asset pricing, in particular the Capital Asset Pricing Model, will learn the basics of valuation techniques and their practical applications, and will explore and asses the theorems of ‘Capital Structure’. And ‘Corporate pay-out policy’.


On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.


  • Teaching is arranged to allow freedom in how you organise your learning experiences
  • After receiving a general overview of a topic in your two-hour weekly lecture, you discuss and solve the issues it raises in a class with 15 to 20 fellow students
  • Optional support classes


  • You are assessed each year through a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examinations
  • The balance is set at 50% coursework and 50% exam
  • For many of your second- and final-year modules, coursework takes the form of an extended essay
  • Complete your final year project in consultation with a personal supervisor

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UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB
GCSE: Mathematics B

IB: 30 points, including Standard Level Mathematics grade 5, if not taken at Higher Level. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C or above.

Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

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 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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.

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.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your visit day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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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.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.