Mathematics for Economics

Number of credits: 40

Entry requirements: equivalent to at least C Grade GCSE in Mathematics


To provide a solid grounding in the key elements of pure mathematics and statistics to a good A-level standard for students approaching a degree in economics, finance or management,

Intended learning outcomes

Assessable outcomes

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • handle with confidence and accuracy the techniques of algebra required for the solution of equations, differentiation and integration
  • interpret a range of problems, selecting the relevant procedure needed for solution
  • find a graphical solution to linear programming and economic questions
  • recognise Normal and Binomial distributions and be able to calculate probabilities associated with them.

Additional outcomes

Students are expected to learn to work independently under pressure of time and present their solutions orally in a small group context. They should grow in confidence in the oral as well as written explanation of problems and group discussions should encourage lateral thinking. They should improve their ability to assess the essential elements of a solution and to think and express themselves clearly.

Outline content

The syllabus for Mathematics for Economics normally covers a total of 15 or 16 topics each of which takes between one and three weeks to complete. We start with the basic concepts of algebra and number theory moving on to set theory and inequalities. A study of functions and mappings, including composite and inverse functions, leads on to linear analysis and linear programming. This is followed by the calculus needed for maximisation and minimisation applications of the economic model. Permutations and combinations, together with probability theory usually complete this term.

During the second term, calculations with matrices are introduced. Graphical representation of curves is studied where differential calculus is applied to the theory of curve sketching. Methods of integration are also studied at this point, and the binomial distribution is introduced. We then study arithmetic and geometric progressions which lead on to compound interest applications. The module is completed in the Summer term by a study of the Normal distribution and the principles of hypothesis testing.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods

Lectures, group seminars and small group tutorials.

Student views of this module

Oumo Diallo (Nigeria)

'I chose to study this module because I need to be able to solve economics problems.

The most interesting aspect of the module is that it goes well with the Economics module and the more I practise the more interesting I find Economics. Studying Mathematics for Economics takes a lot of time and concentration and if you miss something it is difficult to catch up. But once you know about a topic you dont need to look it up again in a book to refresh you mind.

I would advise future students of this module to practise all the time and never leave it too late to understand things. It is also important that you do not lose your enthusiasm.'

Zhou Xiao Li (China)

'I chose to study this module because I will need a knowledge of Maths for my degree course in Business Economics.

Using the knowledge of Mathematics to solve problems in Economics is the most interesting aspect of this module. When I use Maths to deal with problems in Economics, everything is very clear and easy. I have found the wording of the questions in the tests to be challenging as you need to understand the questions to avoid making mistakes in your answers.

My advice to future students studying Mathematics for Economics would be to do the exercises carefully and go over the teaching notes. You should also ask the tutor about the questions you cannot solve.'

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