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Economics

The problems of poverty, unemployment and inflation, the benefits and costs of economic growth and development, the economics of the family and education, the impact of government economic policies - these economic issues are central to the welfare of us all. At Cambridge, these issues, and many others, are studied in the Economics Tripos. The Economics Faculty, probably one of the most famous in the world, has always adopted a diverse approach to analysing economic debates and problems. A common feature however has been, and remains, a pragmatic approach to the subject that blends theory with evidence. Here at Cambridge we enjoy looking beyond textbooks to answer challenging problems in the real world.

Faculty website: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/

With a long and established tradition, St Catharine's provides the best of the Cambridge approach to Economics. There are currently three Fellows from the Faculty of Economics responsible for organising teaching:

Other economists among the College’s Fellows include:

  • Dr Simon Taylor, who specialises in microeconomics, banking and finance;
  • Mr Michael Kitson, who specialises in macroeconomic policy, international trade and industrial economics; and
  • Professor Peter Tyler, who specialises in applied economics, with a particular focus on the study of labour markets, business performance, and urban and regional economics.

Undergraduates at St Catharine's thus have the opportunity to work in a College at the forefront of economic research and policy analysis. The teaching that our students receive reflects the energy and commitment of an active and influential research community.

During their three years at Catz, undergraduates receive supervisions not only from the College's Fellows, but also from a wide range of other experts across the University. In common with all other colleges, students attend lectures in the Faculty of Economics, a seven-minute walk from the College Island site and three-minute walk from the St Chad’s site. Undergraduates are also encouraged to learn from each other, with the College's Fellows always on hand to provide support, advice, and encouragement, both academic and pastoral.

Studying Economics at Cambridge involves critical reflection on a range of issues and conflicting arguments and, thus, requires access to a wide range of publications. The College library is very well stocked and has been assessed as one of the best in Cambridge. Our computing facilities are also excellent.

Over the course of the year, there are various events that provide Catz students with a keen sense of how a degree in Economics has practical relevance to the real world, as well as adding to the experience of studying at Catz. In addition, the College has an active Economics Society which organises regular events, including a firm visit and networking drinks reception in London, as well as an annual Society Dinner at the College, where former students share their experiences with current undergraduates.

Each year on average, St Catharine’s tends to admit eight undergraduates to study Economics, drawing from a wide range of backgrounds. Applicants study a wide range of A-level subject combinations in arts and sciences, although (in line with the Faculty's recommendation) we require applicants to have taken, or to be taking, Mathematics at A-level or equivalent. We do not require candidates to take the STEP examination.

Applicants are welcome to consider taking a Part I in Economics followed by another Tripos, although historically not many students have chosen to switch out of Economics; in fact, the tendency is for the flow to be the other way around. The College also welcomes candidates who wish to spend a year out before starting their studies.

Economics candidates are required to sit the pre-interview assessment in Economics, after which they may be called for an interview, where a wide range of issues are discussed relating to economics and the application of economic analysis to real-world problems.

There is no special preparation required before applying – we are simply looking for students who are curious about the world and have the enthusiasm to tackle difficult issues. A wide range of publications that consider different aspects of economics and economic policy is now available online. Many interesting websites provide a wide range of material on economic issues: 

At the interview, candidates should expect to be asked a variety of questions relating to current economic issues and problems, as well as to their interests in the subject.

Graduates go on to pursue a wide range of careers, including the full range of business-orientated careers for which the study of Economics provides an excellent background. Recent St Catharine's graduates have secured positions in a variety of professions in the City, academia, government, and business, both in the UK and abroad.

Catz is a fantastic place to study economics. There is a strongly supportive culture, both between Catz students over all 3 years and with the Fellows. When studying such a wide-ranging and varied subject, it is inevitable that some parts of the course will prove especially challenging for certain people, while being areas of strength for others. But thanks to the bright people around me who are willing to give up their time to help me out, I have been able to achieve far more than I could have alone.
 
The topics in the Economics Tripos cover an enormous breadth of issues, which has allowed me to complement formal models with political and historical context. I have also enjoyed the choice available in second and third year papers, which has allowed me to focus on the areas of economics which are most interesting to me.

Ed Stuart-Bourne

Anyone curious about the multifacetedness of human behaviour and willing to approach it in a rigorous, analytical way will feel inspired by economics. The broad scope of the discipline is a testament to the power of economic thinking. At Catz, your interest will be encouraged. The College prides itself on the strength of its working relationships, both within the student body and between the students and teaching Fellows. You can expect a friendly environment amongst your peers, as well as support from the Fellows and students in the years above.

Dat Nguyen

The Catz Economics community is undoubtedly unique, with there being no other subject group within any college that, to my knowledge, is as close-knit, both professionally and socially, as ours.

As a Catz economist, you not only receive guidance and support from some of the most accomplished Fellows that the university has to offer, but also from some of its most intelligent and open undergrads. Students across all three years are always happy to help one another with any work issue that they may have, whether it be a particularly tricky optimisation problem or an elusive essay question. We build each other up rather than compete against each other, helping us to accomplish far more than we expected to when we initially arrived here – and allowing us to form really strong friendships with one another, which is by far my favourite thing about studying Economics at Catz.

Saliha Shariff