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.
Knowledge and Understanding Theoutcome 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.All module descriptors have learning outcomes related to knowledge and understanding.
Thinking or Cognitive Skills Certain thinking and cognitive skills are key outcomes for economics students and these include:
To critically understanding relevant mathematical and statistical techniques.
To critically understand analytical methods, both theory and model-based.
To have the opportunity to appreciate the history and development of economic ideas and the differing methods of analysis that have been and are used by economists.
To apply core economic theory and economic reasoning to applied topics.
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.
To understanding of 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 ofthe relevant statistical data,
Practical Skills The 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.
Relevant quantitative methods and computing techniques.
The nature, sources and uses of economic data,both quantitative and qualitative.
Appropriate methods that the economist might use to structure and analyse such data.
Economic principles that can be used to design, guide andinterpret commercial, economic, social and environmental, policy.
Analysis ofgovernment policy and assessment ofthe performance of the UK and other economies.
Key Skills A number of the skills an economics graduate will possess will be generic graduate skills found in all degree programmes such as literary and information-processing, and interpersonal skills. including communication. These key skills are facilitated and ecnouraged within an economics degree. Theyinclude:
Application of Number
Information Literacy and Technology
Improving own learning and performance
Working with others
Transferable Professional Skills The benchmark suggests three areas of transferabillityand 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.
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 SO5002 Quantitative Methods for Economics by offering grounding in statistics which enables the econometric application in SO5002.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, History of Economic Thought (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, SO5002 Quantitative Methods for Economics. They will also have the option of taking SO5003 History of Economic Thought. In addition they will have the option of taking 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) has 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 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.
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.
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 Disabilities 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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