BSc Economics

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Studying Economics

Unit code ECON10011
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

“Studying Economics” is a unique module in your Economics degree in that its aim is to provide a broad base upon which Economics can be more effectively learned. As such there is little economic “content” per se. Rather the module is designed to provide a set of skills and wider context to students so that they might gain a more holistic appreciation of their studies. There are two main aims of ECON10011. The primary aim is to introduce students to Economics as a lens through which to understand what Marshall called [hu]mankind in the ordinary business of life”, what economists actually do and the skills we use to communicate our ideas to each other and the wider world. The secondary aim is to get students started on the path towards using Economics in their professional lives upon graduating. Thinking about a post-university career begins in the first week of university and we will be jump-starting this process. By the end of this module students will have a better understanding of the nature of Economics and of how to improve their chances of getting in to the profession of their choice after graduating.

At the end of this course unit it is expected that you will:

  • be able to explain what it is economists do
  • understand the role of models in economic thinking
  • understand the power and limitations of economic analysis

Pre/co-requisites

Pre-requisites: this course is for BSc Economics students ONLY.

This course unit if for BSc Economics students only.

Aims

“Studying Economics” is a unique module in your Economics degree in that its aim is to provide a broad base upon which Economics can be more effectively learned. As such there is little economic “content” per se. Rather the module is designed to provide a set of skills and wider context to students so that they might gain a more holistic appreciation of their studies. There are two main aims of ECON10011. The primary aim is to introduce students to Economics as a lens through which to understand what Marshall called [hu]mankind in the ordinary business of life”, what economists actually do and the skills we use to communicate our ideas to each other and the wider world. The secondary aim is to get students started on the path towards using Economics in their professional lives upon graduating. Thinking about a post-university career begins in the first week of university and we will be jump-starting this process. By the end of this module students will have a better understanding of the nature of Economics and of how to improve their chances of getting in to the profession of their choice after graduating.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course unit it is expected that you will:

  • Be able to explain what it is economists do.
  • Understand the role of models in economic thinking.
  • Understand the power and limitations of economic analysis.
  • Understand the importance of ethics to an economist and the distinction between positive and normative economic analysis.
  • More effectively write about Economic ideas and evidence.
  • More effectively present about Economic ideas and evidence.
  • Be able to handle economic data
  • Be able to engage in self-evaluation and peer-review.
  • Understand academic malpractice and how to avoid it.

Syllabus

This course is about what Economics is, what economists do and how my students can use Economics in their lives. It is my overarching goal to engender within my students the endless fascination I myself have with economic ideas and methods, and the insight economic thinking can offer. We look at developing a number of skills that will be relevant to students’ entire course of study and in their professional lives. While we will consider some general skills (eg how to properly cite and reference), this is not a general “study skills” module. Our focus tends to be narrower both in terms of who the students will focus on (themselves) and the skills being developed for the study, discussion, and appreciation of Economics in particular.

 

An indicative syllabus is:

       How to work at Uni

       What is Economics? What do Economists Know?

       Evidence: Data and Theory/Exploring Future Options

       Communicating Economics

       What are Economic Models?

       Topical Issues in Economics

Teaching and learning methods

Online Learning and Guided self-study

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Develop ability for critical reflection and self-evaluation.
Oral communication
Develop practical presentation skills.
Problem solving
Develop practical data skills.
Written communication
Develop practical writing skills.
Other
Understand the potential for development and transferability of personal and professional skills between various contexts. Identify the different career paths available to graduates. Develop a CV. Develop an understanding of what skills and activities will improve your job market prospects. Using library, electronic and online resources to find information and data (Information Retrieval). Using library, electronic and online resources to find job/internship/placement opportunities.

Assessment methods

Personal Development Plan (PDP)       
Weighting: 20%      Length: Variable.      Structure: to be confirmed.

You Are What You Read (YAWYR)       
Weighting: 20%      Length: several short written pieces.        Structure: to be confirmed

 

Essay.         
Weighting: 60%.     Length: 1500 words.            Structure: to be confirmed

Feedback methods

       Through discussion in classes, open door sessions and discussion boards

       Peer evaluation and feedback on elements of YAWYR

       Feedback from teaching staff on elements of YAWYR

       Feedback on final essay.

Recommended reading

The most important thing is that you read about interesting economic topics (inequality, climate change, unemployment, financial markets, etc). Do read often and widely but do make sure that you take in readings from good quality sources (like The Economist, The Financial Times, etc). If you want to read a book I recommend the following two:

 

Dani Rodrik, Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of The Dismal Science. New York: W.W. Norton; 2015.

 

Deirdre N. McCloskey and Stephen T. Ziliak , Economical Writing, Third Edition: Thirty-Five Rules for Clear and Persuasive Prose (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ralf Becker Unit coordinator
Peter Backus Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For every 10 course unit credits we expect students to work for around 100 hours. This time generally includes any contact times (online or face to face, recorded and live), but also independent study, work for coursework, and group work. This amount is only a guidance and individual study time will vary

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