What is Economics?

The University of Cambridge Economics Tripos offers a very advanced education. In Part I (the first year), students are introduced to pure and applied topics, outlined in five compulsory papers: micro-economics, macro-economics, quantitative methods (essentially mathematics and statistics), sociology & politics and British economic history. Part IIA (the second year) requires all students to take further papers in micro-economics, macro-economics and econometrics, but also allows for some choice. In particular, students can select one optional paper in mathematics, economic development, labour economics or sociology; in exceptional cases, two papers may be selected.

In the third and final year of the Tripos (Part IIB), students again take papers in micro-economics and macro-economics, choose two further papers from a long list of options, and write a dissertation. Additional information about the optional papers can be found on the Faculty of Economics website.


Why study Economics at Corpus?

Corpus has academic staff with interests across a wide range of topics in economics. Prof Harvey, FBA, is a time-series econometrician, well-known for his pioneering work on structural time series models. Dr Rendahl is a theoretical macro-economist who works primarily on topics concerning fiscal and monetary policy, whilst Dr Bradley is the newly-appointed William Cook Lecturer in Economics at Corpus. Dr Kattuman, meanwhile, is a member of the Judge Business School. The large number of Fellows in Economics provides an excellent chance for Corpus students to interact with leading experts.

Prof Andrew Harvey (Fellow) Prof Harvey is well-known for his pioneering work in the field of econometrics – the application of mathematics, computer science and statistical methods to economic data. It is described as the branch of economics that aims to give empirical content to economic relations.
Dr Paul Kattuman (Fellow)

Dr Kattuman is a Reader in Economics at the Judge Business School. His research interests include applied econometrics and statistics, online markets, the software industry and India.

Dr Pontus Rendahl (Fellow) Dr Rendahl is a University Lecturer in the Economics Faculty. His main interests are in macro-economic theory and its applications, as well as recursive and numerical methods.
Dr Jake Bradley (Fellow) Dr Bradley is the William Cook Lecturer in Economics at Corpus. His ongoing research explores the impact of the self-employed on the UK labour market; the interactions between the public and private sectors in hiring workers; and the labour market implications of racial discrimination.


What do we look for in Economics applicants?

Over the last few years, Corpus has averaged approximately five applicants per place, and we look to make four or more offers per admissions round. A-Level candidates will usually be expected to have studied three subjects to A2-Level. The standard conditional offer for Economics applicants to Corpus is A*A*A. Similar offers are made on the basis of appropriate equivalent qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate or Scottish Advanced Highers. We appreciate students with a strong background in quantitatively- or analytically-demanding subjects and a sincere interest in Economics.

The College requires A-Level Mathematics, and Further Mathematics is desirable. However, please bear in mind that Economics is not Applied Mathematics and we are not looking for mathematical wizards. A formal background in Economics is by no means necessary, but we are looking for applicants with a genuine interest in the subject and who have the ability to apply a logical mind to economic questions.

Corpus does not usually offer places to candidates who are unavailable for interview. Economics applicants will have two 25-minute (approx.) interviews on the same day, each with either one or two Economics Fellows at the College. Interview candidates will be required to take a test, for which no preparation is required. The questions are designed to assess the candidate’s critical, analytical and mathematical abilities, and there will be some discussion of their answers during the interviews.

Student Perspectives

Yu Xin Ang (Audrey, second year Economist)

Yu Xin AngChoosing to study in Corpus is certainly one of the best decisions of my life. While I chose Corpus mainly due to its central location and its small community, I had no idea that there was so much more in store!

There are only 4 economists a year in Corpus, making it the perfect size for discussions and collaborations. This means that instead of a more competitive environment, a more collaborative one is fostered, for us to spur each other on in a friendly manner. I personally learnt immensely from my fellow economists as we all have different perspectives and diverse problem-solving techniques, hence having such a supportive and closely-knit group was clearly beneficial. Furthermore, I enjoy Economics supervisions tremendously as our supervisors push us to question our assumptions and to think critically. They create an environment where we are free to step out of our comfort zone and experiment with new ideas and methods of approaching the problem. As such, this allows us to explore what we have learnt in greater depth.

Studying Economics in Cambridge is without doubt challenging, but with approachable supervisors and a strong sense of community found in Corpus, there really isn’t anything more to be asked for. As long as you are really passionate about Economics, with such great opportunities available in Corpus, you will be stretched to your fullest potential. The sky’s truly the limit to what you can do.

Matin Khadem (third year Economist)

Going into the application process,khadem I had little knowledge of the differences between the Cambridge colleges and so I largely based my decision simply on the ‘feeling’ I had gotten on the Economics open day, which was hosted at Corpus. Beyond the convenience of the central location of Corpus and its beautiful Courts (and clock!), I’ve really felt that the small size of the college engenders a strong feeling of community in which you can quickly find your groove, while still providing the resources of a world-class institution.

Studying Economics at Cambridge, I am often reminded of Keynes’ quote regarding the diverse attributes of the ‘master-economist’. The Tripos demands precisely such a multifaceted approach to study, requiring at one moment essays on a range of political and historical topics while at another calling for complex optimisations, normally accompanied by subsequent interpretation which gives real world meaning to your answers. While at times such demands can become hard to balance, assistance is always available in many guises to help achieve coherence not only within your study of Economics but also in college life more broadly, which ultimately leads to the entire experience being exceptionally rewarding.

The recent restarting of Economics at Corpus has undoubtedly given the small number who do study Economics here a fresh beginning with which to build ties both with each other and the Fellows who take an earnest interest in your development throughout your time at Corpus. The admission of only three or four Economists per year makes it one of the smaller courses yet this has only served to enhance the mutual support between us and has made my time here very enjoyable, preparing us well to tackle the challenges of the subsequent years of the Tripos.

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