King's economists out for a curry
Welcome to the Economics subject page at King’s! Here you will find an overview of Economics at King’s, the Cambridge Economics course, the people who teach and research in Economics at King’s, plus information about applying as an undergraduate.
- Economics at King's
- The Cambridge Economics course
- Student perspectives
- Fellows in Economics
- Applying to study Economics
- What are we looking for?
- Reading, resources and events
- Further information
Economics at King’s
John Maynard Keynes: a former student, Fellow and College bursar!
King's College has a long tradition in Economics. It has been the home of many great economists, such as Richard Kahn, Nicholas Kaldor, John Maynard Keynes, Arthur Cecil Pigou, and Richard Stone (Nobel laureate in Economics, 1984).
Amongst Cambridge Colleges, King's currently has the largest number of Economics Fellows who also teach and research in the University Faculty of Economics. They make up a vibrant, international and diverse group, with a variety of research interests such as macroeconomic and microeconomic theory, labour economics, game theory, market design and macroeconomic history.
King's also has a large and friendly group of undergraduate and postgraduate students in Economics, who come from a wide range of backgrounds and receive careful support from the Fellows in College.
In practical terms, King's is convenient in it's proximity to both the Economics Faculty on the Sidgwick Site (including the Marshall Library of Economics), and the University Library. In College, King's Library is accessible 24/7, and is well-stocked for Economics students. Set in a series of picturesque rooms, it provides a very pleasant space to study in. See the virtual tour.
The Cambridge Economics Tripos (Tripos = course)
There are three parts of the Economics Tripos. In Part I (the first year) everyone takes the same five papers: microeconomics, macroeconomics, quantitative methods in economics (basically maths and statistics), sociology and politics, and British economic history since 1750. In Part IIA (the second year) you must take papers in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, and you choose one (or exceptionally two) papers from the following: mathematics, sociology, economic development and labour economics. In Part IIB (the third year) you take papers in microeconomics and macroeconomics, choose two further papers from a long list of optional papers, and write a dissertation.
Teaching is divided between the Faculty and the College. Lectures, normally given in the morning, are provided by the Faculty. Students attend lectures with Economics students from all the Cambridge Colleges so numbers attending lectures often exceed 150. Supervisions, normally in groups of three to four students, are provided by the College and give students the opportunity to discuss topics with experts in the field. You are normally expected to submit written work in advance of each supervision. There are two or three supervisions a week, so the pace is tough! You can read more about the teaching on the how you are taught page.
Viv (pictured) and Sebastian have written about their experiences of studying Economics, including what attracted them to the course, the transition from school, supervisions and lectures, balancing the workload with extra-curricular activities, and the community at King's. These accounts are well worth reading to get a sense of what studying Economics at King's is really like.
Fellows in Economics
Aytek Erdil (Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Director of Studies). His research interests are microeconomic theory and market design.
Elisa Faraglia (Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Director of Studies). She is interested in macroeconomics, fiscal policy, debt management, monetary economics and labour.
Chryssi Giannitsarou (Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Director of Studies). Her research interests are macroeconomic theory, economic growth, networks in macroeconomics, and asset pricing.
Bob Rowthorn's interests extend beyond the boundaries of mainstream economics, and include demography, epidemiology and evolutionary psychology.
Hamid Sabourian (Professor of Economics and Game Theory at the Faculty of Economics). He works on economic theory and game theory.
James Trevithick's research interests are macroeconomics and the history of economic thought, particularly the writings of John Maynard Keynes.
Applying to study Economics
To apply to study Economics at King’s you should have a strong background in Mathematics (A level or equivalent in Maths or better still Further Maths) but you need not have studied Economics formally. You need to be fascinated both by how economic behaviour can be modelled in the abstract, and in past and present real-life economic behaviour. You should have read about and be able to talk about these issues.
The application process is explained on our how to apply page, which we advise you to read thoroughly. If you are selected for interview in December, you will be asked to report to the Admissions Office one hour before your interview, where you will be given some reading material (a set of questions and some general reading). You should then use the preparation hour before the interview to:
- prepare answers to the questions. These will be problem questions, meant to test your analytical ability. They will not require advanced knowledge of Economics or Mathematics. You do not need to write out your answers formally - just think about the questions and make any notes you want to ready for discussion (you will be allowed to refer to any notes you make in your interview).
- read and think about the reading material provided. This is usually a recent article from a newspaper or a magazine. Again, you may make notes if you wish to.
During the interview, amongst other material we will discuss your answers to the analytical questions and also talk about the reading you were given.
We welcome candidates from outside the UK. Successful applicants are normally in the top five per cent of their cohort in their country of origin. As well as proficiency in English, qualifications in Mathematics are important, and you should provide as much evidence as you can about your examination achievements. See the international students page for further information.
The numbers admitted in Economics vary from year to year, but we rarely admit fewer than seven or more than ten undergraduates.
What are we looking for?
At the faculty, before a lecture
The most important criteria are enthusiasm, dedication and potential and we consider each case on an individual basis. This course requires a considerable commitment in terms of time and energy, as it is one of the most challenging Economics undergraduate courses in the UK. But it is well worth the effort!
We will be interested in:
- your existing examination results which we consider carefully, taking into account your personal and educational background;
- your academic interests and motivation as explained in your UCAS personal statement and explored further in interviews;
- your school reference and predicted grades for any exams you have yet to take;
- how you approach questions designed to make you think in interviews - our interviewers will work closely with students invited for interviews to assess your suitability for the challenges of Cambridge Economics.
At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing and predicted grades form a central criterion for admissions, we are careful to interpret grades in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge.
Reading, resources and events
- King's provides general advice about developing your interests.
- Your school work in Mathematics is essential preparation for the Cambridge Economics course. If you are studying in a different qualification system and would like to consult an A level textbook, we suggest L. Bostock and S. Chandler. 2013. Core Maths for Advanced Level. 3rd edition. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.
- If your school does not offer Further Maths, you may be able to get support through the Further Mathematics support network (see the flowchart).
- There are Maths extension resources on the NRICH website. See particularly Maths for Economics, the explanation of 'rich' tasks, and curriculum links.
- There are no particular books which Economics applicants are required to read, but the Faculty provides reading advice and suggestions.
- George Polya's book, How to solve it, is a very useful book for Economics students to read in relation to problem solving.
- The subject resources page has a tag for posts on Social Sciences, which you might like to browse.
- Events which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Masterclasses and King's Open Days. UK Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.
At a social event in College
- Course outline and film
- Faculty website
- Applying with limited support or advice
- Extenuating Circumstances form
- Along with a number of other former members and associates of the College, the personal papers of Keynes, Kahn and Kaldor are available to consult in the King's Archive Centre.
- King's hosts the Centre for History and Economics.
- Students interested in Economics may also like to consider Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Geography, History, or Human, Social and Political Sciences
- If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to email King's Admissions Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).