Economics will be a new subject for most students who take it at AS level and, although the news is full of stories about our economic situation, it is not always clear what Economics, the Social Science, is about.  What do we study? Will you like it?  How will it help your future career plans?  Let’s try to answer those questions.
When non-economists are asked what they think Economics is about, they reply with:

  • it is about money and the economy
  • it is about business and finance
  • it is about prices and banking

All of those views are true but they do not reflect the variety of issues that we study in economics lessons.

Economics is the study of resources such as raw materials, labour and capital, and how those resources are organised by individuals, firms and governments to produce goods and services.

Professional economists may conduct research in universities, or they may work in the private sector advising firms, or in the public sector advising governments.  Job adverts for Economists include the terms environmental, health, development, financial markets, consulting, analysis, and markets.  Locations of those jobs span the globe.

Economists are highly sought after because of their ability to help us understand how the real world works, and how it sometimes doesn’t.  Their use of data to support their predictions adds a rigour to the subject that stresses the “science” part of social-science.

At AS Level we follow the AQA Specification and this will introduce you to the methods and terminology of Economics.  At AS we explore the decisions facing us as individuals, the decisions facing firms, and how markets work.  At A2 we move on to the problems facing governments and other organisations such as the European Union and the World Trade Organisation.

What do we actually do in class?

You will be trained to think like an Economist and to challenge common misconceptions about the operation of the economy.  We help you to rapidly adjust to both a new subject and to AS level work with a greater emphasis on you being responsible for your own learning.  In class we read and research current news stories.  We analyse data, draw diagrams and discuss the issues raised by the news articles.  We learn definitions of new terms and practise using them in writing and orally.  You should expect to share your own experiences and discuss ways of solving economic problems.

What subjects go well with Economics?

There are two groups of subjects here – subjects which have overlap at A Level and University subjects that may benefit from you having studied Economics.

Subjects with Overlap

Geography, Business, Mathematics, History, Languages

University Subjects

  • Health related subjects – for anyone aiming to work in the NHS
  • Law – as we investigate the economics of government intervention in the economy
  • Mathematics – many mathematicians aim to work as accountants, actuarial scientists or as statisticians
  • Social sciences such as politics and sociology

What do students study at university?

Many students like to try Economics or Business at AS level before they commit themselves to it at degree level.  Many students who study Economics at Queen Mary’s then continue to study Economics in some format at university.   Local universities offer courses in Economics with a language, Mathematical Economics, or courses which focus on the economics and culture of a specific part of the world.  Some Economics courses are for those who want to study History or Sociology. Accounting courses often have compulsory modules in Economics and Law courses, too may have Economics based options.  Even Pharmacy courses have options for the professional pharmacists running businesses in the current economic and legal environment.