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Studying economics

If money makes the world go round, studying economics could take you to some exciting places. Read on to find out more.

What is economics?

Economics is the study of how things like trade, natural resources and politics affect the different ways goods, services and money are produced and used around the world. These systems are called economies.

Economics is different from finance, which is how businesses manage their money. However, finance and economics are very closely related. For example, if a certain natural resource begins to run out, this affects the price of shares on the stock market, and how much businesses are worth. Similarly, if banks in the financial sector do not lend enough money some businesses may go bankrupt, which damages a country’s overall economy.

Where can I study economics?

You can study economics at the following levels:

Although they cover some of the same areas, economics is generally a more academic subject examining theories of how markets operate than business studies, which teaches more vocational skills for running a business. Economics involves a lot of maths as well as writing essays, so you’ll normally need A-C grades in English and maths at GCSE to study it.

You can also study economics as a single subject at degree level or as a joint honours degree with another subject like finance or politics. Some universities also offer combined courses in politics, philosophy and economics (sometimes called PPE). You don’t have to have taken A-level economics to study it as a degree, but you will need a good mix of facilitating subjects like English, maths or a foreign language.

Where can it lead?

Since the ability to predict stock markets is crucial to many businesses, many economics graduates find work in the financial and business sector, where they might work as investment analysts for banks, or in insurance. Economists are also needed by the government and other political organisations like the EU to advise on things like tax and economic policy.

However, the broad range of skills economics teaches – such as research, communication and numeracy – can be applied to a wide range of careers, from working in the media as a financial journalist, to advising businesses as a management consultant.

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