The BA (International Hons) in Economics provides a sound understanding of economics and insight into social issues and problems ranging from the most important and pressing that face the planet today, to everyday phenomena which are central to the way society is organised.
The BA (International Hons) is a joint degree delivered by both the University of St Andrews and the College of William & Mary in Virginia, USA. This joint degree allows you to spend two years at each institution.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Economics BA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
Admissions to the BA (International Honours) is highly competitive. These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry.
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.
How to apply
You can only apply for the programme through one institution, and each institution will honour the admissions decisions of the other. You must specify which subject area you wish to apply for on your application form.
No previous knowledge of this subject is required.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
The University publishes its expected timetables before the advising process, and aims to provide each student with a personalised timetable once module choices have been made and confirmed during matriculation.
The School of Economics and Finance at the University of St Andrews is known for bringing understanding and excitement from the latest cutting edge research into the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.
The quality of research publications produced by staff within the School was ranked in the top ten in the UK by the recent Research Excellence Framework 2014, with more than 80% of the research output rated as internationally excellent or world leading.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
The BA (International Hons) in Economics is a four-year course run jointly by the School of Economics and Finance at St Andrews and the Department of Economics at the College of William & Mary.
You will study for two years at both St Andrews and William & Mary, spending the first year of the programme at one institution and the second year at the other. You will then be able to choose where you wish to spend your third and fourth years of study and graduate from either university.
You will apply to the university where you intend to spend your first year, and then you will transfer to the other institution for your second year.
What you will study
If you study a BA (International Honours) in Economics, you will learn to reduce complicated problems to their important components, formulate solutions, and apply up-to-date theoretical ideas as a framework for understanding the real world.
The economics departments of the two universities complement each other very well. Both departments have strengths in applied economic theory. Economics at St Andrews has particular strengths in dynamic macroeconomics, finance, household economics, climate change, and competition and innovation. Economics at William & Mary has particular strengths in the areas of health, experimental and international economics.
The BA (International Honours) is a single Honours degree, and other combinations – such as joint Honours degrees – are not available with this programme. However, during the programme you will have opportunities to study a range of other subjects offered by both institutions. Find out more about the St Andrews – William & Mary joint degree.
The BA (International Honours) is a four-year undergraduate degree that combines the best of the Scottish and American educational experience.
Students on the BA Economics programmes will be able to choose a greater variety of modules than would normally be available to other students. Available subjects vary from year to year and depend upon the strengths of each institution, but often include modules in financial economics, development economics, international economics, inequality, environmental economics, and so on. You also benefit from having access to two sets of staff who are dedicated teachers as well as active researchers.
Honours students take a number of core subjects (such as microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics), but also typically choose from a number of available optional modules.
Students will also benefit from study under two distinct educational traditions and by being part of a unique and diverse community. By the end of your degree you should have friends and contacts from many different places in the world and from a number of different backgrounds.
In addition, the BA (International Honours) degree is classified according to both UK and US practice, which means the quality of your degree should be understood by potential employers and universities on both sides of the Atlantic.
Students studying the Economics BA (International Hons) will take the required modules at both institutions in their first and second years.
At St Andrews, the compulsory modules in first year are:
Macroeconomics: introduces the study of economics at the national and global level.
Microeconomics: explores the basics of the market system and consumer and producer behaviour.
At St Andrews, the compulsory modules in second year are:
Intermediate Microeconomics: deepens the general understanding of microeconomics gained in first year.
Intermediate Macroeconomics: explores theories of the determinants of long-run economic growth and theories of the causes of short-run “business-cycle” fluctuations.
Statistics for Economists: introduces statistical methods and regression analysis.
Mathematics for Economists: covers calculus and algebra to provide indispensable mathematical tools for modern economists.
Students will spend either their third or fourth year in St Andrews. You will be able to choose from a wide variety of advanced options.
Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered at St Andrews in recent years:
Decision and Game Theory
Economics of Development
Economics of the Environment
Incentives and Contracts
Inequality and Redistribution
If at St Andrews for fourth year, students may also undertake a dissertation or research project on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
At St Andrews, first and second year modules generally involve a series of lectures (100 to 350 students), laboratories and small-group tutorials (15 to 20 students) designed to facilitate effective interaction.
In third or fourth year, modules are taught through lectures (10 to 140 students) and smaller group tutorials (10 to 20 students). Students typically attend seven to eight lectures and one to two tutorials or labs a week.
In addition to these classes, students at St Andrews are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom. Typically, this will involve:
working on individual and group projects
undertaking research in the library
preparing coursework assignments and presentations
preparing for examinations.
At St Andrews, you will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Economics. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of classes and seminars under the supervision of the module coordinator.
In addition to your studies in the School, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.
The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.
Modules in Economics at St Andrews are assessed by a combination of graded work and examinations. Almost all of the modules are assessed by at least 50% written exams with the balance of assessment made up by coursework.
Coursework takes the form of essays, along with other kinds of assessed work including oral presentations and group projects.
Examinations at St Andrews are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.
The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.
Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.
Visit St Andrews
If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.
In the academic year 2019-2020, fees for this programme were £31,530 ($40,990). These figures were calculated using the exchange rate on 1 June 2019 (1 GBP = 1.30 US Dollars).
The tuition fee for all students on the BA (International Honours) is the same regardless of domicile, and will always be the pound sterling equivalent of the US dollar amount per year, as converted on 1 June preceding the start of each academic year.
If you commence your studies at the University of St Andrews, you will pay your tuition each year to St Andrews regardless of which institution you are studying at for that year.
Further information regarding scholarships available to students on the BA International Honours can be found in the fees and funding section of the BA International Honours web page.
Students on the Economics BA (International Hons) will gain a highly marketable set of skills, including thinking analytically, critically and strategically. The course also provides international experience which will make students more competitive in a globalised job market.
Popular career destinations amongst recent graduates include:
commercial and international banking
the Government Economic Service
university research and teaching.
You will find St Andrews Economics graduates at renowned financial institutions such as:
Ernst & Young
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of Economics may be interested in joining the St Andrews Economic Society. This active society is run by students and holds regular career events, essay competitions and social occasions. The society also publishes The St Andrews Economist, a magazine covering current affairs, academic theory, economic policies, and trends.
The School of Economics and Finance is located in Castlecliffe on The Scores in a beautiful Edwardian mansion overlooking St Andrews Bay, next to the ruins of St Andrews Castle on the Fife coast.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
"The programme enabled me to access both the New York and London markets, which helped introduce me to a career in finance and fashion. The programme is challenging while we navigate between Virginia and Scotland and meet the heavier academic requirements of both universities. The reward is double or triple: double the friendship, double the opportunities, and ultimately a stronger person than we would have been staying in one university for four years."
Zhu (Shenzhen, China)
Admissions University of St Andrews St Katharine's West The Scores St Andrews KY16 9AX
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).