Explore how economic theory can be applied to key societal issues with our BA Economics degree.
This three-year course focuses on how economic tools can be applied to different markets and situations. You will acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding that will enable you to solve the problems that are challenging policy makers and businesses all over the world.
We also offer a BSc Economics degree at the University of Reading, which covers a narrower range of economic markets and social policy issues but focuses more on techniques for working with data.
Choose economics at the University of Reading
- Established for more than 50 years
- 100% of our research impact has been classed ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ (REF 2021, combining 4* and 3* submissions – Business and Management Studies, and Anthropology and Development Studies).
- The University of Reading is ranked in the top 200 in the world for Economics (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023)
Our BA programme will allow you to understand what’s happening in the world and how policy makers can respond to it: how do economies grow, how can policy makers manage business cycles, is inflation a problem, how can unemployment be reduced, is a 5-day week really necessary and so on. You will analyse these issues using a range of economic theories and methods including the theory of games and strategic interactions, natural and behavioural experiments.
Your degree will help you to understand the levers of policy and provide policy advice in response to Economics problems.
You'll study practical economic issues and examine the relationship between economics and society more widely, including:
- Economic Institutions
- Economics of Social Policy.
You will also be trained in empirical methods used by professional economists to identify economic relationships and make predictions using different types of data.
- Development Economics - understanding of the causes and consequences of underdevelopment and the policies that help to bring people out of poverty.
- Economics of Banking - exploring the weaknesses in the banking sector, the strategies adopted by banks to address risks, and the rationale for government intervention in the financial sector and banking regulation.
- Economics of Sport and Games - studying how the competitive and controlled environments within sport can provide laboratories to study human behaviour, to test theories, and to observe the impacts of policy.
- Public Economics - offering you the chance to assume the role of a government adviser and write policy briefs that address public policy issues.
Your learning environment
Our research in the Department of Economics has real-world applications and has informed policy decisions by governments, major multinational organisations, and agencies such as the UN and the World Bank.
At Reading, our researchers are addressing some of the key issues of the twenty-first century, such as the environmental impact of economic growth.
- Read about Dr Stefania Lovo’s research into calculating the cost of a clean environment.
Elsewhere, our innovative research into leisure and sport is providing vital economic insights.
- Dr James Reade combines his interests in sports and mathematics to understand what drives people’s economic behaviour.
What you study throughout your degree will be aligned with our research clusters, keeping you up to date with the latest developments in economics. This learning is complemented by guest speakers from outside the University and the student-led Economics Society.
Popular optional modules on the BA Economics programme include:
As well as lectures, you’ll take part in small-group tutorials, enabling you to discuss and analyse both theory and practice through case studies, group presentations and open debate.
Supporting your learning
The Department of Economics will support your learning in several ways.
- Economics Surgeries offer one-to-one appointments with staff allowing you to discuss the topics you’ve studied and get help with specific study skills.
- Economics Conversations provide the opportunity for you to discuss an economic issue in the news with staff and other students from across the department in a relaxed, informal setting.
- The Economics Society is a student-led body that you can get involved in. It arranges social events for students, careers-focused events as well as lectures and discussions with economists on a range of topical matters, such as the economics of health and feminism.
Work placements with BA Economics
Enhance your employability and build your network by applying for work placements during your degree.
We have a dedicated placement coordinator who can provide advice and support in your search for a placement.
Previous students from the Department of Economics have undertaken placements with:
- Bank of England
- HP Enterprise
- Johnson & Johnson
- NHS England
- the Government Economic Service (including the Treasury, the Office for National Statistics, and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office).
If you are interested in doing a year-long placement, you can opt for our four-year BA Economics with a Placement Year degree, which includes an integrated professional placement between your second and third years.
As part of your degree, you can apply to study for a year or a term abroad at one of our partner universities in Australia, Canada, the USA, or across Europe.
Visit our Study Abroad website for more information.