The educational aims of the programme are consistent with the educational aims of an economics degree as set out in the benchmark statement for Economics. They are also consistent with the QAA's FHEQ stipulation for a 'bachelor's degree with honours' level descriptor as referred to in the benchmark statement and as mapped across this programme specification under the learning outcomes section. According to the benchmark statement, the main aims of an economics undergraduate degree which includes a major component of economics (and in the case of a combined degree it is certainly 'a' major component if not 'the' major one) are:
To provide training in the principles of economics and their application
To stimulate students intellectually through the study of economics and to lead them to appreciate its application to a range of problems and its relevance in a variety of contexts
To provide a firm foundation of knowledge about the workings of economic systems and to develop the relevant skills for the constructive use of that knowledge in a range of settings
To develop in students the ability to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired to the solution of theoretical and applied problems in economics
To equip students with appropriate tools of analysis to tackle issues and problems of economic policy
To develop in students, through the study of economics, a range of generic skills that will be of value in employment and self-employment
To provide students with analytical skills and an ability to develop simplifying frameworks for studying the real world. They should be able to appreciate what would be appropriate levels of abstraction in order to study a range of economic issues
To provide students with the knowledge and skill base, from which they can proceed to further studies in economics, related areas or in multidisciplinary areas that involve economics
To generate in students an appreciation of the economic dimension of wider social, political and environmental issues.
The benchmark indicates that in degrees such as this that are not single honours economics, not all the core elements identified in the benchmark need to be covered, and that the forms of analysis chosen may differ and may be tailored to best serve the skills that students bring with them into their degree programme. It is stated that it is neither the function nor the objective of this subject benchmark statement to prescribe what these forms of analysis might be; this is a matter for institutional choice and decision.
This programme sits in a social science department at the University of Chester and therefore economics will be studied within its wider critical political, social, cultural and criminological context and this gives this programme a social science embedded perspective on the study of economics.
The outcome of an economics degree is for students to know and understand the allocation, distribution and utilisation of scarce resources and their consequences. This is at micro and macro levels, static and dynamic, and individually, regionally, nationally and internationally. Knowing and understanding of the following are key to this outcome: how present allocations arise and how they may change in the future; how resources are used and how households and firms behave and interact; knowing and understanding of resources, agents, institutions and mechanisms.
With regard to micro and macroeconomics concepts and policies, they will be learnt in a progressive and accumulative way through the whole degree, with SO4001, SO5001 and SO6001, covering the following outcomes:
Economic concepts, principles and tools, the understanding of which might be verbal, graphical or mathematical. These concepts, tools and principles play a key role in reasoning. They address the microeconomic issues of decision and choice, the production and exchange of goods, the pricing and use of inputs, the interdependency of markets, the relationships between principals and agents, and economic welfare. They also include the macroeconomic issues of employment, national income, the balance of payments, the distribution of income, economic growth, financial and business cycles, and the role of money and finance in the economy.
Economic policy at both the microeconomic and macroeconomic levels. In all these, students show an understanding of analytical methods and model-based argument and should appreciate the existence of different methodological approaches.
Quantitative methods will be covered in Level 4 through SO4002 and in Level 5 through SO5005, giving students the following knowledge and understanding:
Relevant quantitative methods and computing techniques. These include appropriate mathematical and statistical methods, including econometrics. Students have exposure to the use of such techniques on actual economic, financial or social data, using suitable statistical or econometric software.
The nature, sources and uses of both quantitative and qualitative economic data and an ability to select and apply appropriate methods that economists might use to analyse such data.
Applications of Economics will be introduced briefly on SO4001, with much more detail given in SO4005, and specific topics covered in SO5004 and SO6002. Additionally, students will be able to explore their own applications through the dissertation module (SO6003).
The applications of economics. Students discover how to apply relevant economic principles and reasoning to a variety of applied topics. They are also aware of how economics can be applied to design, guide and interpret commercial, economic, social and environmental policy. As part of this, they have the ability to discuss and analyse government policy and to assess the performance of the UK and other economies, past and present.
The modules that will deliver all this within this programme appear organised by Level as follows:
FHEQ Level 4:
At Level 4 students will be introduced to the fundamental concepts of Economics. Students will gain an introductory knowledge and understanding of micro and macro Economics (SO4001); of basic Maths, Statistics and IT skills (SO4002).
FHEQ Level 5:
At Level 5 students will build on their knowledge base to develop intermediate knowledge and understanding. Students will gain an intermediary knowledge and understanding of micro and macro Economics (SO5001), Introductory Econometrics (SO5005), and will have the option of Globalisation and International Trade (SO5004). In addition, WBL (WB5101) will enable the development of knowledge and understanding of the workplace.
FHEQ Level 6:
At Level 6, knowledge and understanding will be critical and evaluative as well as enabling students to make links between disciplines. In the dissertation module (SO6003) students will be capable of applying the research methods and analytical knowledge learned in previous years (using either quantitative or qualitative methodology) to complete a large-scalepiece of independent research. Students will gain advanced knowledge and understanding of micro and macro Economics (SO6001), and of specialised concepts related to Economic Development (SO6002).
Certain thinking and cognitive skills are key outcomes for economics students and these include:
Introduced at Level 4 with SO4002 and developed at level 5 with SO5005:
To critically understand relevant mathematical and statistical techniques.
To understand verbal, graphical, mathematical and econometric representation of economic ideas and analysis, including the relationship between them.
To be able to use appropriate techniques to enable manipulation, treatment and interpretation of the relevant statistical data.
Introduced at Level 4 with SO4001 and developed at level 5 through SO5001 and at level 6 through SO6001:
To critically understand analytical methods, both theory and model-based.
To relate differences in economic policy recommendations to differences in the theoretical and empirical features of the economic analysis, which underlie such recommendations.
To discuss, analyse and evaluate government policy and to assess the performance of the UK and other economies and of the global economy.
Applied skills through specific topics in Levels 5 (SO5004) and Level 6 (SO6002):
To apply core economic theory and economic reasoning to applied topics.
The Economics benchmark indicates a number of practical skills which students should gain. Therefore all students should have a knowledge, appreciation and ability to apply:
A coherent core of economic principles and reasoning to a variety of applied topics. (SO5004) (SO6002)
Relevant quantitative methods and computing techniques. (SO4002) (SO5005)
The nature, sources and uses of economic data, both quantitative and qualitative. (SO4002) (SO5005)
Appropriate methods that the economist might use to structure and analyse such data. (SO4002) (SO5005)
Economic principles that can be used to design, guide and interpret commercial, economic, social and environmental, policy. (SO4001, SO5001, SO6001)
Analysis of government policy and assessment of the performance of the UK and other economies (SO4001, SO5001, SO5004, SO6001, SO6002, SO6003)
The benchmark suggests three areas of transferability and applicability to a range of areas. These are a set of subject-specific skills; a conceptual framework that offers a guide to good decision-making; and the skill of numeracy. Subject specific skills include analysis, induction, deduction, framing and abstraction. The transferable conceptual framework can be applied to any decision making area, and includes the concepts of opportunity cost, and systems and dynamics. Numeracy is core to the economics graduate, whether in presentation, interpretation, understanding, use and questioning.
A number of the skills an economics graduate will possess will be generic graduate skills found in all degree programmes such as literacy and information-processing, and interpersonal skills, including communication. In particular, it will be expected the Economics graduates will have gained the ability to articulate, communicate and present economic arguments to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
FHEQ Level 4:
- Describe and discuss economic problems clearly and accurately both orally (SO4001) and in written work (all modules)
- Be able to write for an academic audience (all modules)
- Communicate fluently with members of a team (SO4001, SO4002)
FHEQ Level 5:
- Develop a coherent and evidence-based argument (all modules)
- Communicate fluently with members of a team (SO5004)
- Report findings orally for a lay audience (SO5004)
FHEQ Level 6:
- Fluent and accurate written communication, based on clear and critical argument and evidence-based reasoning (all modules)
- Fluent oral communication for the employment environment (SO6001)
The spine of the programme is the three Micro and Macro modules which develop from 'introduction' through to 'intermediate' and finally 'advanced'. The first of these is a double module to ensure a good embedding of knowledge and understanding linked to application in the context of contemporary social issues post the financial crisis. This spine is supplemented by the Level 4 Skills module (SO4002 Skills for Economics) including as it does a foundation in basic maths, statistics and study skills. The module SO4002 links to SO5005 Introductory Econometrics by offering grounding in statistics which enables the econometric application in SO5005. These modules provide the foundations of the programme and meet the requirement of the benchmarks for the specialist skills required of an economics graduate. In addition to these modules, Globalisation and International Trade (optional), International Political Economy (optional) and Economics Dissertation (optional depending on weighting) offer a wider grounding in the social sciences, seeing economics in its political, sociological, criminological and cultural context. The structure of the programme is as follows:
At Level 4, students will take both core modules as follows: SO4001 Introduction to Economics, SO4002 Skills for Economics
At Level 5, students will take the two core modules as follows: SO5001 Intermediate Micro and Macroeconomics, SO5005 Introductory Econometrics. They will also have the option of taking SO5004 Globalisation and International Trade. In addition they will take the University wide WB5101 Enhancing Your Employability through Work Based Learning.
At Level 6, students taking a minor route will take the two core modules as follows: SO6001 Advanced Micro and Macroeconomics, SO6002 Economics of Development. Students taking equal weighting in both programmes can either take SO6001 Advanced Micro and Macroeconomics plus SO6003 Economics Dissertation (double) or SO6001 Advanced Micro and Macroeconomics and S06002 Economics of Development, and a choice of one optional module to include SO6051 International Political Economy and SO6703 Politics of Sustainability. Students majoring in Economics will take SO6001 Advanced Micro and Macroeconomics, SO6002 Economic Development and Growth and SO6003 Economics Dissertation (double).
120 credits at Level 4 lead to a Certificate in Higher Education 240 credits gained from Level 4 and Level 5 lead to a Diploma in Higher Education 360 credits gained from Level 4, Level 5 and Level 6 lead to an Honours Degree
A minimum of 240-280 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent
QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma, Open College Units
or Open University Credits
OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit/distinction profile
All applicants must have GCSE Mathematics at grade C or above.
The Advanced Diploma: acceptable on its own
The subject benchmark for Economics (2007) and the consultation for its review have provided a clear basis for the development and subsequent implementation of the programme, and the broad template for the mix of learning, teaching and assessment on the programme as a whole (and within specific modules). As it is non-prescriptive, the programme has been able to apply the guidance in accordance with required resources. The curriculum development process started with the proposed content as suggested by the benchmark; the methods of teaching and learning and the methods of assessment were all checked against the benchmark. The result has been that this programme will deliver (where appropriate) the recommendations found therein. This has been weighed against expertise and resources as programme development takes place within a clear institutional as well as wider context. In addition, research has been conducted into other Economics programmes being offered within Higher Education Institutions. The final programme has a unique positioning as it adheres to the benchmark requirements while also retaining the criticality of the social sciences.
The overarching approach to Learning and Teaching and Assessment adopted by this programme is one of ensuring appropriate support for diverse ability students while engaging them in innovative practices to ensure continuing engagement and progression and readiness for employment. Therefore all formative and summative assessment must be fit for this purpose. The modules fall within the Learning and Teaching strategy for the Department of Social and Political Science, supporting a framework which draws on the Department's experience of retention strategies for its inspiration.
The Economics benchmark indicates numerous ways of organising and supporting the learning process to establish an environment that fosters learning styles that create active and deep learning opportunities. The benchmark points out that the relative contribution of these ingredients is likely to differ from degree to degree. It particularly emphasises that students should be encouraged to explore and analyse information and consider policy implications. This fits with the social science setting of the programme. The majority of the teaching and learning will take place during set contact hours, though the format of this contact will vary. In addition, students can organise one to one sessions with their tutors, seek advice by email or take part in a discussion on the online forum. A range of resources are made available to students. Each module has a Moodle page on Sharepoint, which will include links to various support systems such as Academic Study Skills and also carry scanned weekly readings or other learning materials. The aim will be for learning and teaching to take place in a structured and supportive environment. Certain modules will include maths or statistical training on specialist software and these sessions will be conducted in skills rooms. All modules will acknowledge the contemporary nature of the discipline through engaging in learning tools such as audio and visual material. Students will also benefit greatly from engaging in extracurricular activity linked to other programmes in the Department such as Politics or International Relations.
As part of the support elements that the programme offers, all care is being given to the fact that even if students are expected to attend all their timetabled sessions, there may be circumstances that prevent them from doing so (such as employment or family obligations). In order to facilitate these students' catch up, the Moodle platform will provide as much information as possible, for example and when possible, lecture slides, recommended readings, exercises to practise at home, or in some instances online exercises. Access to the online version of the textbooks (ie, ebook version) will also be provided whenever possible. In these cases it is nevertheless recommended that the students contact the lecturer/tutor to ensure that their understanding is accurate.
Assessment strategies have been designed to match intended learning outcomes for each module, and in keeping with the overall programme outcomes. A variety of assessment techniques are suggested in the benchmark statement for the programme including in-class tests, economic policy analysis, dissertation, seen and unseen examinations, written essays, oral presentations, problem-solving exercises, case studies. The intention with the assessment strategy is to seek diversity and ensure that the students engage with real world issues, reflecting the contemporary nature of the programme. Students will receive on-going assessment support. The Skills for Economics module will include study skills (such as referencing and academic writing). There will formative feedback in support of the summative across all modules. Feedback on assignments will be within four working weeks.
A key feature of the programme is its emphasis on the student experience. This means that the tutors are available to support students outside the traditional contact hours through tutorials and office hour drop-ins.
At Level 4, students entering the programme will do so at different levels of experience. Students are introduced to a range of university facilities and resources in induction week, when they also meet their personal academic tutor (PAT) who will oversee their progress in a series of regular meetings. The teaching team will help them to develop their academic skills as well as providing support for the development of study skills.
The range of assessment types is as follows:
In-class test (closed books) and written examination: SO4001, SO4002, SO5001, SO5005, SO6001, SO6002
Each 20 credits module is assessed on a 4000 word-equivalent basis. The module descriptors provide a clear indication of the relationship between individual assessment components and learning outcomes, both in terms of knowledge and understanding and different skills.
The benchmark states that the proposed design of economics programmes has been influenced by the appreciation that training that includes economics provides significant employment opportunities in a variety of careers in addition to working as a professional economist.
A degree in economics provides the graduate with a wide array of both subject-specific and transferable skills. All these skills are highly sought after by employers (www.prospects.ac.uk). HESA 2010-11 indicates that an economics graduate earns on average £26,940 as against £16,630 for non graduate employment or self employment.
It is clear that potential employment / employer opportunities are wide ranging, and include academic, business analyst, economic consultant, accountant, entrepreneur, financial advisor, civil servant, investment analyst, journalist, aid Agencies , European, national, regional, local government, health Service, international development agencies, multinational companies, national and international banks, other financial institutions.
The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.
In practical terms, the Department works with colleagues from Student Support & Guidance, Academic Study Skills and from Marketing Recruitment and Admissions to ensure the various agendas are taken into account. In addition, the Institution's Teaching and Learning Strategy (reflected in the Departmental and the Programme strategies) sets out specific aims as part of the diversity agenda. The programme team will provide support and guidance for students with for example, diverse abilities, through the formative approach to teaching and learning which is embedded in the programme. The Disability Link Tutor and works with colleagues in the Department and in Student Welfare to address specific student issues. The drive to retain students, and to enable them to progress, also means that the teaching team are strongly student-focused. The programme team will be working with statistics in order to identify trends in intake related to progression and retention, and with colleagues in Aim Higher and MRA for access to HE. We are mindful of statistics which identify trends in recruitment and retention, and will endeavour, through working with colleagues in for example Aim Higher, as well as working with local Colleges to encourage Access entrants, to address diversity and equality issues. The subject matter of a number of the modules is likely as well to challenge and to analyse particular economic positions on these agendas.
As a Combined programme, students have a range of choices to make. The Department offers combinations with Sociology, Politics and International Relations, but Combinations with programmes outside the Department are also available and appropriate.
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