Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2019

Economics with a Placement Year BSc (Econ)

This programme combines a rigorous foundation in economic concepts and tools with an opportunity to apply for a year on placement, developing and applying those tools in a real-world context. Our highly regarded department will support you in your search for a placement. In the event you cannot secure a placement, you will be able to request to switch to the three-year Economics BSc (Econ), subject to meeting any progress requirements for that degree.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2019
UCAS code
Full-time: 4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2019
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Mathematics grade A* required, plus grade A in Economics if offered.
(contextual offer)
A*AB (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
Mathematics grade A* required, plus grade A in Economics if offered.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A score of 19 points in three higher level subjects including grade 7 in Mathematics and grade 6 in Economics if offered with no score lower than 5.
(contextual offer)
38 (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
A Score 18 in three higher level subjects including 7 in Mathematics and 6 in Economics if offered with no score lower than 5

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

D2,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, to include Mathematics D2, plus D3 in Economics if offered.

A1,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A1,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher), to include Mathematics at A1, plus A if Economics being offered at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades A*AA. To include Mathematics A*, plus grade A in Economics if offered.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • You will develop core economics skills and be able to apply these first-hand during the placement year.

  • You will learn in one of Europe's leading centres for research in economics. Our research informs policy advice to international governments and agencies, such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

  • We are recognised for our internationally distinguished research, and in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014), UCL received the highest percentage in the UK for research in Economics and Econometrics, 99% rated either 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent).

  • You will benefit from our prestigious annual Gorman Lectures series presented by eminent economists, and from the activities of two economics-related student societies - the Economics and Finance Society and the Economist's Society which publishes The Drayton Tribune magazine.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

The department's fundamental premise is that students should learn how to do economics themselves, rather than just learn how the academic staff or other economists do it. In the first year you take compulsory modules on the core concepts of economics, applied economics, mathematics and statistics, and have the opportunity to take optional modules.

In your second year, principles of model-building, problem-solving and quantitative techniques are emphasised, and you will take compulsory core modules. Students apply for placements in the second year. Support in applying and preparing for placements is available. A placement cannot be guaranteed.

Assuming you have been successful in securing an approved work placement, your third year will be in an organisation on a minimum 36-week placement. To connect your academic studies with the placement, you will need to demonstrate engagement and reflective learning via monthly logs, attendance at three seminars and submission of a draft dissertation proposal.

Most final-year modules introduce you to research papers and current research, including that of staff members. You will benefit from instruction by staff whose research impacts directly on the policy process, for example via contact with the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Students will also complete a compulsory undergraduate dissertation linking their experience in the workplace with academic enquiry and embed employability skills in the Advanced Skills Lab module.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Applied Economics
Mathematics for Economics
Statistical Methods in Economics

Optional modules

You will select a total of 1.0 credit from a wide range of options.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Macroeconomic Theory and Policy
Quantitative Economics and Econometrics

Not-for-credit compulsory modules
Economics Skills Lab
Preparation for Placement

Optional modules

You will select 1.0 credit from a wide range of options. Options may include:

Economics of Development
Economics of Education
Economics of Finance
Economics of Labour
Economics of Regulation
Economics of Science
Economics of Tax Policy
Economics of the Public Sector
Environmental Economics

Year on placement at an approved organisation for 36 weeks or more. A placement cannot be guaranteed.

Core or compulsory module(s)
?Engagement on Placement (Economics)

Core or compulsory module(s)

You will select a total of at least 2.0 credits from the list of third-year economics modules which must include:

Economics UG Thesis

Not-for-credit compulsory module
Advanced Economics Skills Lab

Optional modules

You will select 2.0 credits from a wide range of options, of which 1.0 credit must be taken from the list of second and third-year economics modules. Third-year economics modules may include:

Behavioural Economics
Econometrics for Macroeconomics and Finance
Economics of Financial Markets
Economics of Information
Economics of Money and Banking
Economic Policy Analysis
Ethics in Applied Economics
Experimental Economics
Game Theory
Topics in Industrial Economics
International Trade
Issues in Economic Development

Your learning

The cornerstone of each module is a lecture series. Through demonstration classes and small-group work you will learn how to put economic models together, how to undertake quantitative analysis, and, potentially, formulate your own model to address a new problem. In the later parts of the programme, there is an increased emphasis on collaborative work and group presentations.


Your progress is monitored throughout the year on a module-by-module basis, which will provide feedback aimed at improving your understanding and technique. You will be assessed by year-end written examinations and other forms of term-time assessment including, for example, multiple-choice quizzes, in-course essays and research project work.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Economics with a Placement Year BSc (Econ).


Many useful skills can be gained through the study of economics, for example: finding solutions to real-world problems, mathematical skills and an enhanced understanding of contemporary political and economic events. The placement year provides the opportunity to apply core economics skills in a professional context and develop key work-place proficiencies, including the ability to communicate ideas effectively to others and work successfully in a team.

About one-third of our graduates move directly into graduate study, including MScs in Economics, MBA programmes and conversion courses in computing and law. Students have also proceeded to doctoral programmes including those in major US economics departments such as at Columbia, Yale and Chicago.

Graduates entering employment predominantly move into management, banking and finance and the civil service.


Please see first destinations of recent graduates (2013-2015) from the Economics BSc (Econ) at UCL for a selection of representative careers.

Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013-2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2018/19 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2018/19 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2018/19)
Overseas students
£20,340 (2018/19)

Overseas fees for the 2019/20 academic year are expected to be available in July 2018. Undergraduate UK/EU fees are capped by the UK Government and are expected to be available in October 2018. Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Additional costs

If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc. on this programme, please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

Departmental scholarships

The scholarships listed below are for 2018 entry. Funding opportunities for students applying for 2019 entry will be published when they are available.

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

Academic entry requirements reflect the strong competition for places. In addition to academic qualifications we seek candidates who can demonstrate that they have researched what an economics degree involves, and how it is different from a business or management degree. Evidence that you are interested in how economists in public and private sector organisations develop solutions to current real-world economic problems will be looked on favourably. Applicants should also show interest in and enthusiasm for the placement and research aspects of the programme.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2019


UK-based applicants who have been made an offer are then given the chance to attend an open day. Each admissions cycle has open days with about 100 applicants attending on each occasion.

At our open days you will attend talks by the Admissions Tutor and, typically, a representative of the Economist's Society. You will then have the opportunity to meet informally with academic staff and students before taking a tour of UCL.

Our admissions selectors will assess your application to determine your academic potential and motivation for this degree programme, as well as the core skills it requires.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.