I want to work in … Economics
Economists provide specialist advice to organisations in the public, finance, manufacturing political and other sectors. They apply economic theory and knowledge to analyse data, forecast future trends and recommend ways to improve efficiency or plan future activities.
For a detailed profile of an economist, see www.prospects.ac.uk/links/iteconomist
How do I become an economist?
You will need:
- A Bachelors degree in Economics (single-honours or joint honours containing at least 50% of economics modules), ideally with a strong quantitative element.
- A degree in another subject plus one of the postgraduate “conversion courses” listed below
- A Masters degree in Economics
Only about 3% of Economics graduates start work as economists immediately after graduating, the majority of these in the Government Economic Service. Most economic consultancies will require a postgraduate degree and a much higher proportion of Masters graduates will enter specialised economist roles.
Conversion courses for non-Economics graduates
- University of Kent Economics Conversion M.Sc.
You take a Diploma in Economic Analysis (DEA) during the first year. If you pass the DEA you will be allowed direct entry into one of our M.Sc. programmes
- University of Bath Economics Conversion/Enhancement year
An MSc will be important at some stage to career prospects in government. A PhD can be useful in some cases. Get some understanding of the policy environment and what departments do before applying for a government post. Get interview practise to develop, communicate and discuss a clear structured argument. Think about what an interviewer is looking for and how you could demonstrate that. Some experience working in business could be useful (delivering well-written relevant material to deadlines, working with others). Follow economic debates in the financial press; be able to look at different aspects of the argument
Candidates do not always remember some basic economic principles such as opportunity cost or equilibrium, let alone some slightly more advanced but still first year knowledge, e.g. the distinction between economies of scale, scope and returns to scale. Where candidates express a specific area which they would like to discuss further (which is apparently an area of strength), they sometimes struggle to explain why the area they chose is interesting and what they have learned from studying such area of economics. If they discussed a recent project they conducted or wrote, they find it difficult to explain the question that they were trying to answer and how they went about answering it. Some of them even fail to remember the basic econometric tests that they may have used to test the significance of the explanatory factors.”
Economics Graduates’ Skills and Employability (Economics Network and Higher Education Academy)
- London Metropolitan University Graduate Conversion Diploma in Economics.
Aims to facilitate progression to postgraduate study in the area of economics, finance and related disciplines by allowing graduates in non-economics disciplines to convert their knowledge and skills to those expected of an Honours graduate in economics www.londonmet.ac.uk/pgprospectus/courses/economics-graduate-diploma.cfm
- Loughborough University Postgraduate Diploma in Economics.
The programme offers the core elements of a three-year undergraduate economics degree programme through modules in economic theory, mathematics for economics and econometrics www.lboro.ac.uk/prospectus/pg/ec/e/index.htm
- The University of Nottingham Economics (Conversion).
This course has been tailored to meet the needs of students who wish to progress on to a Masters programme, but did not specialise in Economics in their undergraduate degree
- School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Graduate Diploma in Economics. Suitable for those wishing to change career path or develop within their present profession. Also acts as a conversion course for students without previous economic training wishing to take MSc in economics
- University of Sheffield Advanced Certificate in Economics.
For well-qualified applicants who have a limited background in economics. Candidates who obtain an average of 60% on this course can then proceed onto our MSc programme
- A list of organisations which have in the past advertised posts for graduates for work in economic research, policy and consultancy can be found here
- Information of the destinations of past Kent graduates in Economics can be found here
Professional Bodies and Further sources of information:
- Society of Business Economists www.sbe.co.uk The Society exists to help all those who use economics in a business environment - whether in industry, commerce, finance, consultancy or public service. The site includes some careers advice.
- Inomics www.inomics.com Economics jobs in all subject and geographical areas at all levels: the site also includes a directory of economics-related organisations, including consultancies, with links to their websites
- EDIRC http://edirc.repec.org/areas.html A list of Economics departments, institutes and research centres around the world, arranged by specialisation
- Econ-Jobs.com Economics Jobs and Economist Jobs
- Economics Social Network http://economists.ning.com social network for economists to chat, discuss, and post useful resources. University students can use the site to talk to economists who are already working in government and the private sector.
- Economics Network www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk - one of the world's leading economics education sites, with links to UK Economics departments
- The Royal Economic Society www.res.org.uk - professional association which promotes the encouragement of the study of economic science in academic life, government service, banking, industry and public affairs.
Also see our What can I do with a degree in Economics? page
last fully updated 2011