BAEcon Development Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The BA(Econ) is an interdisciplinary course allowing you to specialise in Economics along with other social science units such as philosophy, politics, and sociology.

You have the flexibility to either delve into technical units in Economics such as Econometrics and Mathematical Economics or combine Economics units covering inequality and climate change with social science units. This will enable you to develop a well-rounded understanding on social issues.

The Development Studies pathway is taught by experts in Economics, Politics, Sociology, Social Anthropology, and Social Statistics.

The course offers a rich and coherent basis for understanding the processes and solutions to the problems of development.

It is an interdisciplinary field of study concerned with the issues, problems and policy options facing the development world, such as: 

  • inequality;
  • poverty; 
  • hunger; 
  • wellbeing.

Economics, Development Studies, and all joint social science pathways share a common first year, allowing you to switch to a different pathway should you discover interests in other social sciences.

Special features

Leading research

World-leading research and teaching in economics has been at the heart of higher education in Manchester since the early days of the University. Three winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics have worked at Manchester.

We are proud to be a leading centre for economic research, scholarship and research-led teaching in all areas of the discipline, including microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, financial economics, environmental and resource economics, development economics and industrial/business economics.

Study abroad

If you would like to broaden your horizons and your degree, you can apply to study overseas for a year at one of our partner universities. You apply in Year 2 to spend a year abroad in Year 3. If successful, you will put together a programme of study at the host university in consultation with your Academic Exchange Advisor, to complement your studies at Manchester. You will then come back to Manchester to study for a fourth year and graduate with a degree title including 'with International Study'. See The University of Manchester Study Abroad pages for more information, including eligibility criteria, destinations, costs and funding.

Professional Experience Year

In year 1 you can apply to boost your employability through a paid Professional Experience Year.

If you meet the criteria, the Professional Experience Team and Careers Service will work with you to find a suitable placement in your 2nd year.

You will then complete your Professional Experience Year in your 3rd year extending your degree to four years, before returning to the University to finish your final year.

Your degree title will be extended to include 'with Professional Experience', giving you the added advantage of relevant work experience when entering the competitive graduate jobs market.

Teaching and learning

Course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars, where you explore the contents of lectures and recommended reading in greater depth. 

Tutorials and seminars are key in improving your written and oral communication skills through group discussions, essay-writing, and presentations. 

You are assigned an Academic Advisor who takes a friendly interest in your progress, and can advise you on selecting course units and career opportunities.

Coursework and assessment

The way that you study and are assessed will depend on which course units you choose. Our methods are designed to promote in-depth learning and understanding, including: 

  • essays, coursework, and other mid-term evaluations; 
  • dissertations; 
  • presentations; 
  • group projects; 
  • exams.

Course content for year 1

Year 1 gives you a broad introduction to Economics and Social Sciences. This will help you decide what to study in Years 2 and 3.

You take 120 credits overall made up of:

  • 40 credits of Economics;
  • 20 credits of either Introductory or Advanced Mathematics/Statistics (depending on your A-level qualifications or equivalent);
  • 10 credits of an introductory core unit in social sciences;
  • 40 credits from a list of Social Sciences optional units (eg, Politics, Philosophy, Sociology, Social Anthropology and Data Analytics);
  • 10 credits of a core introductory Development Studies unit.

At the end of your Year 1, you have an option to switch to a different pathway if you want to.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Power and Value: Perspectives from Social Sciences SOCS15001 10 Mandatory

Course content for year 2

In Year 2, you study your chosen pathway in depth and take 120 credits over the year.

Single pathway

You take a maximum of 80 credits in your single pathway and up to 40 credits from other pathways from the BA(Econ).

If you choose to specialise in Development Studies, you will take compulsory units in Development Economics, as well as a 20-credit optional Social Sciences unit on a topic of development, such as the `Politics of Development' or `Political and Economic Anthropology' (the list is subject to change).

Joint pathway

You also take a maximum of 80 credits in any one pathway but have the freedom to split these between the two disciplines depending on what you would like to study.

Free choice units

You can also take up to 20 credits from across the University, such as:

Course content for year 3

In Year 3, you take 120 credits depending on your chosen pathway.

Single pathway

There are no compulsory units in Year 3.

You will choose at least 80 credits of Economics and Social Sciences units on the topic of development that you are interested in.

You also have an option to do a Development Studies Dissertation, working with a Supervisor from either Economics, Politics or Sociology to develop your thesis.

Joint pathway

You will choose a selection of units in each of the two pathways to fulfil your credit requirements.

Free choice units

You can also take up to 20 credits from across the University, such as:

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Development Studies Dissertation ECON30910 20 Optional

Course content for year 4

If you are selected for the Professional Experience opportunity in Year 3, then you will take Year 3 course content in Year 4.

If completing a year abroad, you will take the Year 3 course content in Year 4.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: