UCL Department of Economics


Opportunities for School and College Students


UCL has a long and proud history of diversity and inclusivity, and we at UCL Economics, one of the oldest economics departments in the world, share this commitment to social mobility and access to higher education. We are also proud of the high quality, award-winning economics education that we provide here at UCL, and are keen to share our enthusiasm about economics, a field that is both applicable to the everyday world around us and prepares students for a diverse range of career options. 


This page provides an overview of the programmes that UCL Economics runs (in conjunction with UCL’s Widening Participation office and otherwise) for students at various levels. If you are a student interested in economics (or social science more broadly), a parent or a teacher, click on the links below to find out more about our exciting programmes. If you would like to know more or to participate, please contact us at: economics.reception@ucl.ac.uk 


GCSE Students- Economic Challenge

The UCL Economics Challenge is an opportunity for GCSE students to learn what the study of economics entails, through a multimedia activity. This activity is based on the first unit of our introductory economics module which is mandatory for all first years taking economics as part of their degree (including joint degrees), and so provides the core motivations for studying economics. The theme serves to highlight that economics is the study of the world around us and anyone who is interested in answering the pressing questions of the day such as the ones shown below, will find economics a stimulating and useful subject of study.

  • Why have many developed countries become more unequal over the past 30 years?
  • What is the effect of globalization on local communities?
  • Is austerity the best strategy for a government to follow in times of recession?
  • Are carbon permits the best way to tackle climate change?


The UCL Economics Challenge is based on our award-winning First Year Challenge (FYC) competition. In the FYC, we ask students to be creative, research-driven and true to themselves in their submissions. This year’s FYC submission topics include the effects of the regeneration of the Kings Cross area, a study of child poverty starting with Dickensian descriptions, a set of public interviews on whether the arts should be subsidized by the government, and a radio play on the costs and benefits of private education. Participants in the Economics Challenge will focus their inquiries on their own local area and context.


This initiative involves two evening events, the first an introduction to the Challenge and to Economics at UCL, and the second a celebration of participants’ work on the Economics Challenge and a chance to meet with past and former students and hear from lecturers about their path to economics, what they teach and what they’re looking for in potential students. For more details and to apply, go the UCL Widening Participation Office’s dedicated Economics Challenge page or contact Dr Parama Chaudhury.

A Level Students - Exploring Economics Day

Exploring Economics at UCL 

The 2019 UCL Exploring Economics day, sponsored by the Royal Economics Society, provides an opportunity for Year 12 state school students, studying maths at A-levels, to find out 'What Economists Really Do'. Places are limited and will be allocated to the strongest applications from schools whose student groups are underrepresented in university economics degree programmes. 
Would your Year 12 students benefit from knowing more about what it is like to study economics at university? Would they like to understand better what professional economists actually do? 

The Exploring Economics day is organised by the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Economics (CTaLE) at UCL, and is part of the Royal Economics Society Discover Economics  programme, provides an opportunity for up to twenty Year 12 state school students to be inspired to delve deeper into the broad world of economics. This event will be held at UCL’s Bloomsbury Campus on Wednesday March 13th 2019 and will run from 10.00am until around 4:30pm.

During the day students will:

  • Gain an insight into how economics is taught at university;                                                                                     
  • Find out about different careers paths in economics from professional economists; 
  • Hear about what universities are looking for in applications for economics degrees; 
  • See students present their own research at Explore Econ, UCL’s annual undergraduate research conference
  • Learn about economic history on a guided Economics Walk around Bloomsbury; and 
  • Have the opportunity to meet students from other schools, including the school that wins our parallel competition, the UCL Economics Challenge

Funding will be provided for travel costs to and from UCL, up to a maximum of £80 per school group. Lunch and other refreshments will be provided free of charge during the day. Students will be given a pack during the day, including economics tattoos, a water bottle and RES post-it notes and pens.

Who can apply?

Places at our Exploring Economics day are for student groups who are currently underrepresented in economics degrees in the UK. We are looking to offer places to up to five state schools, with a maximum of four students from each school. Priority will be given to non-selective state schools. We would encourage teachers to ensure that the students put forward represent as wide a range of diversity as possible.
The students in the group must be highly able and have the potential to meet entry criteria for the majority of economics degrees in the UK. Students should be in Year 12 and:

  • Be studying maths at A-level
  • Have achieved at last five 5-9 grades at GCSE
  • Be likely to achieve a minimum of ABB at A-level.

Please note that entry requirements for economics degrees vary significantly across universities. For example, the entry requirements for the BSc Economics at UCL is A*AA, with the A* in Maths, or A*AB for students who meet our UCL access criteria. The grade requirements for the Exploring Economics day are not sufficient for entry to UCL but would be sufficient for a range of other economics degrees in the UK.

How to apply

Teachers are asked to apply on behalf of up to four students from their school. If you are a Year 12 student, encourage your teacher to apply on behalf of a group of classmates. 
Each teacher needs to complete the online application form providing information on each of the students in your group. You must also submit a short statement (250 words) why you think your students would benefit from having this opportunity. Please confirm, in the form, that the students in the group and a teacher are available to attend the Explore Economics day on Wednesday March 13th 2019.
The closing date for applications is Friday January 25th 2019 at 5.00pm.

Economist Historical Walks

UCL Economics Walk: Learning history of economics from London’s streets 


Since joining UCL and CTaLEDr. Ramin Nassehi has initiated a bespoke “Economics Walk” around Bloomsbury, London. With the UCL Economics department being the oldest in England, this walk incorporates the history of key economic figures who spent time in the area and how they are linked to present day events. It is an innovative way of teaching the history of economics that touches upon three prominent aims:

  • Democratisation: the walk is designed to give a short history of economics to non-experts
  • Contextualisation: placing the life and ideas of economists in the wider social and political history of London
  • Relevance to contemporary debates: to connect economics from the past to today with the mindset of “what would people in the past say about the events of today?”

The history of economics is often taught in the classroom with the teacher standing and going through the facts in a chronological order. Ramin tries to do things differently and emphasizes the method of conversation. By engaging participants with a tour through the streets, the teacher and student are on an equal footing. This creates opportunities for open dialogue, connecting the different buildings and figures to weave the story of economics. A lecture room is an abstract space but when you walk in the streets of London you start to think of all the fascinating interconnections between the history of economics and the real world. This embodies CTaLE’s commitment to innovative ways of teaching economics.

If you can't make one of these walks, you can find self-guided walks and information about Famous London Economists here !