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Start dates
Degree type

BA

Course length

3 years full-time

Location

Durham City

UCAS code

LL12

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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level A*AA
BTEC D*DD
International Baccalaureate 38

Course details

Economic and political theory shapes the decisions made in our society at every level. From the economic effects of climate change to healthcare policy, or the distribution of social funding to the legitimacy of cryptocurrency, the fields of economics and politics have a significant impact.

BA Economics and Politics explores the connections between these two closely linked disciplines. You will develop your own views on a wide range of current issues and build a skill set that will help you make sense of some of society’s biggest challenges.

And when you study at Durham, you’ll develop these skills in a vibrant and intellectually challenging environment. You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.

You’ll divide your time equally between the two disciplines, studying a diverse range of topics such as world economy, macro and microeconomics, corporate finance, international relations and political systems. Years 2 and 3 offer a wide selection of option modules which allow you to adjust the balance of subjects to broaden your experience or focus on your major area of interest.

Learning from an academic team with expertise in contemporary economic and political issues, you’ll be well prepared for a career in the finance services, economics or commerce. In addition, the critical and analytical skills gained on the course extend your options to include the fields of journalism, public policy, education, international development, the charity sector and beyond.

Course structure

Year 1

Core modules:

Principles of Economics provides a sound foundation for modules in micro- and macroeconomics. You will cover areas including methodology of economics, supply and demand, consumer spending choices, competition and growth theories.

Economic Methods familiarises you with the use of mathematical and statistical tools in solving economic problems. You will look at equations, matrix algebra, calculus, statistics, distribution, confidence intervals and hypothesis testing.

The World Economy provides knowledge and understanding of the features of different types of economy, and of world trade and the international financial system. You will learn about international trade theory, economic growth and cover some of the key concepts relating to developments and crises in the world economy using real-world case studies.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Researching Politics and International Relations
  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • Introduction to International Relations
  • Perspectives of Political Economy.

Year 2

Year 2 offers a greater degree of flexibility in your choice of economics and politics modules. You will study three modules from each discipline made up from either:

Macroeconomics uses real-world examples to analyse the general equilibrium of an economy both in the short term, with a static model, and in the medium to long term, with a dynamic model.

Microeconomics aims to develop understanding of the essential components of microeconomics with a particular focus on the analytical skills relevant to consumer and production theories, general equilibrium and welfare.

Plus one economics module and three politics modules from the list of options below.

Or:

Economic Theory develops understanding and applications of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory at an intermediate level. You will cover areas such as consumer theory, money and inflation, economic growth and fiscal policy.

Plus two economics modules and three politics modules.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Behavioural and Experimental Economics
  • Intermediate Methods for Economics and Finance
  • Microeconomic Applications and Policy
  • Macroeconomic Applications and Policy
  • The Politics of Pacific Asia
  • Foundations of Western Political Thought
  • Sovereignty, State and Empire
  • Global Political Economy
  • Debates in Political Theory
  • Class and Nation in British Politics.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement or year abroad)

The Dissertation in either Economics or Politics is a detailed and critical examination of a relevant area of either economics or politics. It develops your ability to plan and manage your own learning and provides you with an opportunity to research a specific topic and present your findings and conclusions.

You will also select four further modules from a vast selection of economics and politics options. In Economics, option modules include themes of governance, security and ethics, as well as the environmental, developmental and political implications of economics. In Politics you can choose to explore international relations and policy in many different areas of the world and study the links between politics and the environment, religion, justice, gender, security and democracy.

Additional pathways

Students on the BA Economics and Politics can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.

Placement

You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

Learning

Most learning is by lectures and small-group seminars, complemented by specialist politics tutorials and economics workshops. Using up-to-date resources, the workshops provide hands-on experience of the kind of work professional economists perform. You’ll also benefit from one-to-one support and self-directed learning to develop your critical thinking skills. In addition, the Department hosts research-focused seminars where you can further develop your knowledge and start building industry networks.

We place great emphasis on high-quality small-group teaching with tutorials often involving no more than eight students. The small-group teaching format and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor are embedded into the learning experience to help you get more out of your studies.

As you progress to the final year there's an increased focus on self-directed learning and independent research as you begin to prepare for professional or postgraduate life.

Assessment

Modules are assessed via a combination of examinations, written assignments and reports, projects and presentations.

The range of assessment methods is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the material, test your critical thinking skills, enhance your written and oral communication skills, and assess your ability to relate your learning to real-world issues.

The Year 3 dissertation, which can be based around a politics or economics topic, makes up one-third of your final-year marks.

Entry requirements

A level offer – A*AA including Mathematics and a social sciences or humanities subject.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – D*DD and A level requirements as above.

IB Diploma score – 38 with 666 in higher level subjects, including Mathematics and a social science or humanities subject.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • For all Single and Joint Honours degrees involving Economics, including Philosophy, Politics and Economics, we require you to obtain a Grade A at A level Mathematics or its equivalent. For students taking the IB we are happy to accept either Higher Level grade 6 or Standard Level grade 7 in Mathematics.
  • We do not accept Advanced Higher Statistics as a substitute for Advanced Higher Mathematics. If you are taking both of these subjects at this level then an Advanced Higher is necessary.
  • If you are studying for the IB Diploma please note that we do not accept Mathematical Studies at standard level instead of standard level Mathematics.
  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • You are not required to have A level Economics, however, for anyone taking this subject, this will form part of the offer made to you.
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary programmes to prepare you for a range of specified degrees.
  • We are willing to consider applications for deferred entry from those who have well-structured plans for work or travel, for example. We may, however, need to restrict the number of deferred entry offers we make because we have to be careful not to fill too many of next year’s places in advance. However, if you do apply for a deferred place and are unsuccessful, you are welcome to reapply the following year.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £25,500 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £25,500 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find Out More

Career opportunities

Business School (School of Economics, Finance and Business)

Our students graduate with subject-specific knowledge such as economic theory and data analysis, as well as the commercial awareness, IT and problem-solving skills that are highly valued by employers across the world. This combination of academic knowledge and transferable skills will open up a range of career possibilities in the economics and finance sector and beyond.

Our focus on employability stretches beyond the classroom. You will benefit from events that will give you a competitive edge in the job market. From employer talks and interview advice to business-tailored careers fairs, we work with you to achieve your goals.

Previous Economics graduates have gone on to work for global innovators and leaders in their sector including Ernst and Young, Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group, PwC, JP Morgan and for government departments such as the National Audit Office, HMRC and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 96% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 81% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £29,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

School of Government and International Affairs

Our courses are informed by both academic researchers and our links with industry. This specialist expertise develops the knowledge and skills that our students need to succeed in a competitive job market.

We offer a series of employment-related events which include talks from visiting speakers who explore the range of careers open to politics and international relations students, and offer advice about applying for jobs. We also host a regular Civil Service Fast Stream event in which Durham alumni give first-hand advice about how to excel in the recruitment process.

Graduates are equipped with an academic and practical skill set that will take them into a wide range of fields including local and national government, newspaper and broadcast journalism, the charity sector, business and finance, publishing, law, manufacturing, teaching and academia, and the armed forces. They have gone on to achieve great success in the political arena and beyond, with roles including Chief Operating Officer for the GB Equality and Human Rights Commission, Head of Defence Inquests and Disclosure in the Ministry of Defence and Political Officer in the British Embassy Mogadishu.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 97% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 76% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £26,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)

Department information

Business School (School of Economics, Finance and Business)

We are part of Durham University’s Business School, one of the UK's longest established business schools. We offer an inspiring and stimulating learning environment, and consistently rank highly for the quality of our teaching, research and for graduate career prospects.

The rigorous curriculum combined with exceptional teaching prepare you to navigate the economic challenges faced by the modern world.

You will learn from leading academics across a range of economic disciplines. Many of the academic team are active practitioners and researchers who will share their skills and knowledge directly, delivering their insights to the classroom and bringing you closer to the realities of the business world. You will also benefit from lectures by guest speakers who give new perspectives on relevant topics, while case studies give you the opportunity to explore a range of contemporary economics issues. There are further opportunities for hands-on work placements and international study.

You will gain an understanding of the principles of Economics, including supply and demand, competition and growth theories while developing the skills to effectively analyse and interpret data. All our degrees can be tailored to your interests through a wide range of option modules, including the chance to study a language.

Economics degrees at Durham prepare students to become the innovative business thinkers of the future and our qualifications are highly successful in creating job opportunities.

For more information see our Business School website.

Rankings

  • 7th for Economics in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • 9th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the Business School web pages.

Facilities

You’ll be taught across the university campus by world leading academics from the Business School. You’ll have access to the Business Schools modern, spacious meeting rooms and study areas. The university campus is within walking distance of the historic centre of Durham, a city with UNESCO World Heritage Status. Resources include up-to-date financial information and online databases. In addition, you’ll have access to Durham University’s prestigious libraries and archives.

School of Government and International Affairs

Based in the School of Government and International Affairs, we offer a range of courses that are flexible and interdisciplinary in nature. Alongside the study of political theory, comparative politics, and international relations you can choose from a wide selection of modules in areas that align with your interests. You can also apply to add a work placement or year abroad to your studies, adding an extra dimension to the learning experience.

As a research-intensive discipline we employ a range of techniques that integrate new and innovative research into the curriculum and introduce a variety of research-oriented skills and projects. You will be taught by academics with a genuine passion for their subject, whose areas of expertise include government, political theory, political economy and international relations.

Regional expertise covers areas such as Europe, East Asia, the Middle East and the wider Muslim world, Africa and America. As well as incorporating our own research into the undergraduate syllabus we also welcome visiting professors to work with students at all levels.

Our students graduate as self-aware, reflective and ambitious global citizens, equipped with the critical skills to succeed in the workplace, both inside and outside of the political arena.

For more information see our department pages.

Rankings

  • World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • Top 10 in The Complete University Guide 2024

Staff

For a current list of staff, please see the School of Government and International Affairs pages.

Research Excellence Framework

Over 80% of SGIA research outputs were rated ‘Internationally Excellent’ or ‘World Leading’ (REF 2021).

Facilities

Set in its own grounds 1.5 miles from Durham’s historic city centre, the modern Al-Qasimi Building, by our students loving referred to as "The Ski Lodge", is home to the School of Government and International Affairs. Providing a social centre to our students as well as an exceptional environment for learning, it is also a base for a number of research institutes including the Global Policy Institute, the Institute of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Durham Global Security Institute, which host a number of academic events throughout the year open to all students.

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LL12

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  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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