Social Sciences: Economics

L100 BSc Economics (3 yrs)


We take economic decisions every day of our lives, and in turn are affected by the decisions of other people and institutions. Economics is the study of these decisions and actions.

This single honours degree programme provides you with the opportunity to study economics in the greatest depth whilst also providing a considerable amount of choice regarding both the areas of economics and other subjects that you may wish to study.


Programme Overview

Programme Structure

You can choose between a number of 'pathways' through the degree, to reflect your background and interests.

Module choices in year one are dependent on whether you have studied economics at A level. Eight modules are studied each year, with four in each semester. During year three you will study a dissertation, equivalent to two modules, which is a piece of independent research on a topic of your choice spread over both semesters.

You may also combine single Honours Economics with a minor subject. You apply for the BSc. Economics programme and only have to decide if you want to do a minor once you arrive. You can drop the minor subject at any time. The minor consists of five modules from a particular structured pathway. Usually the minor begins in the second semester of first year. The degree title becomes BSc. Economics with (insert name of minor).

Minors will be offered in:
American Studies; Anthropology; Archaeology; Creative Writing; Criminology; Demography; Education; English Literature; Film Studies; Geography; History; International Relations; Jewish History and Culture; Linguistics; Modern Languages; Music; Politics; Philosophy; Psychology; Sociology, and Sustainability.

New for 2014/15
Ecology and Evolution; Latin American Studies; German Cultural Studies, and The Ancient World.

For example, a student could graduate with BSc. Economics with History. Likewise, students from other disciplines may take a minor in Applied Economics. Please note: the choice of minor subject is subject to timetabling constraints.

View the programme specification document for this course

Key facts

  • Studying Economics at the University of Southampton means joining one of Europe's top Economics departments, with a high profile in both teaching and research.

  • UK and EU students can study abroad for a semester. As part of the ERASMUS scheme, they can study in Norway, the Netherlands or Italy. Outside Europe, we have exchange programmes with Brazil, Hong Kong, the USA, Canada and Australia.

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements


GCSE English grade C or above (or equivalent English language qualification)

A Levels:

  • 3 A level subjects: AAB (including A level Mathematics at grade B or above) or ABB (including A level Mathematics at grade B or above) with grade A in the Extended Project Qualification.
  • 4 A level subjects: ABBB (including A level Mathematics at grade B or above) or BBBB (including A level Mathematics at grade B or above) with grade A in the Extended Project Qualification.

Queries about contextualised offers can be made to: Information about the university’s scheme to widen participation (A2S) can be found here: Access to Southampton

Although an Economics A level is not required, preference will be given to applicants taking at least one analytical A level subject; that is, either Economics or Mathematics or a science-based subject

Most A level subjects are acceptable with the exception of General Studies. One subject such as those on the following list is accepted if combined with other academic subjects:

  • Art, including Design, Fine Art, Photography, Textiles, etc
  • Critical Thinking
  • Home Economics
  • ICT
  • Leisure Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Music, including Music Technology
  • Sports Studies including all forms of PE, Dance, etc
  • Theatre Studies including Drama and Performing Arts
  • Travel and Tourism

There may be a few places available for marginal candidates who have just missed the grades required by their conditional offer. For these students ONLY, the Admissions Tutor will consider any extra A level subject, including General Studies. Therefore, it is worth taking an extra A level as an insurance policy. There is no guarantee that extra spaces will be available.


34 points, 17 at Higher Level, including 5 in Higher Level Mathematics

Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard to an A level applicant. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here.

Please note that we cannot accept applicants from Greece on the basis of the Apolyterion alone; it must be supplemented by two A levels or an equivalent qualification.

International applications

We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country, or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for a score of IELTS 6.5.

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students: if you will be over 21 at the start of your proposed degree programme, you are eligible for exemption from our normal entry requirements. However, you will be required to provide evidence of having completed recent serious and successful study (e.g. Access, Return to Study, Open University Foundation Courses), and of your capacity to pursue the course. Please note - due to the mathematical content of the courses at Southampton, you will be expected to have studied the appropriate level of mathematics relevant to the course.

Selection process:

We usually make our decisions based on your UCAS form alone. Only candidates who require special consideration, e.g. on grounds of age or non-standard entry qualifications, are interviewed.

All of our degree programmes require modules in mathematics (algebra and calculus) and statistics to be taken in the first year. If you have not studied mathematics for some time, you are strongly advised to prepare for these courses prior to entry.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.


Typical course content

Eight modules are studied each year, with four in each semester.

The programme structure below outlines the modules that you may typically expect to study, although this may vary depending on demand for the modules and staff availability.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 1

The aim of the first year is to provide you with a firm foundation in the core subjects of your degree and an opportunity, through the choice of optional units, to broaden your field of study. Module choices in year one are dependent on whether you have studied economics at A level.

Students also take optional modules each year. They can choose options from other departments, from the Curriculum Innovation programme, and from Economics. Students are offered a variety of Social Sciences and Humanities modules: for example in Languages, Psychology, Management, Anthropology, Demography, Politics, Criminology, Philosophy, and Statistics. Curriculum Innovation modules include ‘Experiments in Economics’ and ‘Health Policy and Economics’. Modules in Economics itself include options in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Econometrics, Labour Economics, Finance, Public Economics, and Development Economics. If the minor subject is a language, students will have to start their minor in semester one and may have to complete more than five modules overall.

Semester One

Students who do not have Economics A-level take Module ECON1001, those who have Economics A-level take Module ECON1003. Once chosen, these modules will become core.


Year 2

Year 2 comprises a mixture of compulsory and optional modules.

Students take two optional modules in semester 2. Students taking a minor will take two modules from their minor subject.

Semester One

Students are to choose to take either ECON2006 or ECON2026.


Semester Two

If ECON2026 was chosen in semester one, then student must take ECON2032.

If ECON2006 was chosen in semester one, then student must take ECON2007.


Year 3

Students take five optional modules. Students taking a minor will take two modules from their minor subject.

Semester One

During year three you will study a dissertation (ECON3023), equivalent to two modules, which is a piece of independent research on a topic of your choice spread over both semesters.


Semester Two

The dissertation module, ECON3023, runs over both semesters.


Learning and assessment

  •   Modules are taught using a variety of methods - these may include lectures, seminars, group work or project work.
  •  Each module will involve one or two sessions each week spread over the semester. For each module, students will be expected to write one or more essays (or equivalent), make presentations and contribute to seminar discussions.
  • Some modules are assessed by essays, others by exams, and some by a mix of these methods. Exams are held at the end of each semester.
  • Lectures offer an overview of a topic, an explanation of difficult concepts, or a discussion of key issues. Lectures presume a certain amount of additional reading, so it is often a good idea to read references before the corresponding lecture.
  • Seminars provide a forum for a closer examination of particular aspects of each unit and are an important part of the learning process. Usually it is only by discussing and questioning aspects of a subject that their full implications can be understood. Students prepare papers and lead discussions or debates, and so develop their written and presentational skills.
  • A particular feature of the learning environment in the Economics Division is the research led teaching. Academic staff research in areas of important contemporary significance and bring to their teaching units the experiences of working with the wider world.
  • The increasing use of web-based, video-based and PowerPoint-based teaching methods demonstrates our commitment to the effective use of available equipment.

The facilities we provide for learning

  • We are situated on the University's Highfield campus, which includes the Hartley Library, public access computer laboratories, a wide range of teaching and social accommodation, banks, shops and restaurants.
  • We are part of the Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences, and therefore postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers can take advantage of the support, research and personal development training offered by the Faculty Graduate School.
  • The larger lecture theatres are equipped with data and video projectors, and the University has recently substantially increased the annual budget for teaching space refurbishment. Space for independent study is provided in the library and in the halls of residence. 
  • The Hartley Library houses many books and journals classified under economics, together with periodicals in related social sciences disciplines. The Library is open seven days a week in term-time, with late evening opening on five days out of seven. Databases, such as Web of Science, and the Library catalogue are available to students electronically. There are two dedicated Library training rooms with specialist teaching hardware where students can participate in practical information skills training. A specialist IT centre within the Library is devoted solely to library users with disabilities or dyslexia. 
  • Clusters of Windows and UNIX workstations, managed centrally by Southampton University Computer Services (SUCS), are provided on the teaching and residential campuses. (Some are accessible 24 hours a day). On the Highfield campus they give a ratio of approximately one workstation to fifteen taught students. Students are provided with printing facilities, e-mail, Internet access and a range of over 140 software packages, including computer based training products. Support for both staff and students is provided by help-desks and a telephone/e-mail help-line, available for nine hours each working day. The main student reception for SUCS is located in the same building as the Division. 
  • Social Sciences has recently initiated an intranet (SocSciNet ) to make learning and teaching resources more easily accessible to students and to facilitate the development of IT skills. We have material for 6 modules on-line, accessible through the intranet. 
  • Your academic tutor acts as your primary contact for support and advice on all academic, organisational and personal matters. The tutor system also provides an important avenue for feedback on student experience of the Division's teaching, programmes, policies and procedures, The convenor of your programme also acts as your tutor. 
  • You are required to meet with your academic tutor on at least two occasions: once early during the first semester and again during the second semester. Further meetings should be arranged whenever you feel in need of advice or support. Academic tutors will be available for tutorial interviews during their 'office hours', which are posted on their doors. However, you can also arrange other times by contacting them through e-mail or by leaving a note in their pigeon hole (located in the staff room).

Career Opportunities