The BSc (Hons) in Economics provides a structured, cumulative and rigorous foundation in economic concepts, principles, analysis, techniques and knowledge. During your studies, you will develop your analytical and decision-making abilities through training in quantitative and model-based methods of analysis.
Students studying Economics at St Andrews have the opportunity to focus on macroeconomics, choice theory, behaviour economics, game theory, international economics and development, competition and innovation, and climate change.
Economics is studied up to Honours level in both the Faculty of Science (BSc) and the Faculty of Arts (MA). Students who have a background in the Sciences or who wish to study Economics alongside Science subjects at St Andrews should apply for the BSc. For those interested in studying Economics alongside Arts subjects, the MA (Hons) in Economics may be of interest instead.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Economics BSc page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
Standard entry grades: AAAAB
Minimum entry grades: AABB
Gateway entry grades: BBBB
Standard entry grades: AAA
Minimum entry grades: ABB
Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6)
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.
No previous experience in this subject is required, but advanced school mathematics is an advantage and an ability to learn mathematical skills is essential.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Science minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and two SQA Highers from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCE A-Level 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 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 BSc in Economics is a four-year course run by the School of Economics and Finance. The School also offers an MA in Economics, which may be more suitable for students who wish to take Economics alongside Arts subjects. The Economics element within both the BSc and MA degree programmes is exactly the same.
In the first two years, you will build a solid foundation in the general knowledge of Economics. This includes an introduction to the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics; an insight into quantitative techniques; and developing an understanding of economic relationships and the techniques necessary for their analysis.
At Honours level, students may select modules from a range of options on specific topics. These provide an analytical understanding of key aspects of finance, economics and government policy formation.
Specialist subject areas may include:
economics of labour
economics of migration
health and education
policy impact evaluation
Alongside Economics, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised.
The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.
Students will take all of the following compulsory first-year modules:
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.
Mathematics for Economists: covers calculus and algebra to provide indispensable mathematical tools for modern economists.
Students with a school qualification in Economics may take a more advanced first-year module in Economics which assumes prior knowledge.
Students will take all of the following compulsory second-year modules:
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.
If you decide to take Economics in your third and fourth years, you can choose from a wide variety of advanced options. Single-honours students are required to take at least one module in Econometrics.
Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:
Decision and Game Theory
Economics of Development
Economics of the Environment
Incentives and Contracts
Inequality and Redistribution
In 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.
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.
At Honours level, modules are taught through lectures (10 to 140 students), laboratories and smaller group tutorials (10 to 20 students). Students typically attend six hours of lectures and an average of one to two tutorials or labs a week.
When not attending lectures, tutorials and laboratories, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
working on individual and group projects
undertaking research in the library
preparing coursework assignments and presentations
preparing for examinations.
You will be taught by a research-led teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Economics. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader.
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.
Progress is monitored through tutorial assignments, and assessment is 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.
Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.
Coursework takes the form of essays, along with other kinds of assessed work including oral presentations and group projects.
The School aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework 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.
Graduates with a degree in Economics have some highly sought-after skills and pursue careers in a wide variety of fields. A degree in Economics will greatly enhance your analytic and decision-making abilities. You will significantly improve your quantitative abilities and greatly enhance other transferable skills highly valued by employers.
Popular career destinations among recent graduates include:
business intelligence analysis
broadcasting and journalism
financial services analysis.
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.
Economics students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.
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.
"There is a broad range of classes you can take in Economics at St Andrews, ranging from Game Theory, to Environmental Economics to Behavioural Economics. The curriculum broadens your horizon and your way of thinking in such a holistic sense, which is what makes it so interesting yet challenging.”
Aanchal (New Delhi, India)
School of Economics and Finance University of St Andrews Castlecliffe The Scores St Andrews KY16 9AR
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).