UCL Department of Economics


Economics Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find a range of our most frequently asked questions related to applying to our BSc Economics programmes.

Please use the links below to jump to the FAQs that you are interested in. 

Before you apply

Can I visit the Department of Economics?

The best way to visit us, virtually or in-person is at one of our Open Days. UCL's Open Days normally take place in June and September, when the Department of Economics is open to visitors and staff are available to discuss our degrees. Economics Offer Holder Open Days are usually held from November to March for UK-based offer holders.

You can take a self-guided tour of UCL's campus by following the self-guided tour map. Alternatively, UCL runs campus tours on selected afternoons where you can look around UCL with a student guide. To book a place on a tour, you should contact Campus Tours at campustours@ucl.ac.uk

Am I eligible to apply?

Our undergraduate entrance requirements are available on the UCL website. If your qualifications are not included in the list of standard entrance requirements, please contact us at: econ-ug-admissions@ucl.ac.uk or call +44 (0)20 8138 7798.

Am I eligible to apply with an A grade in A Level Mathematics if the A* grade was not available when I sat the examination?

We would consider your application in relation to the grade criteria that was available at the time the qualification was taken. The admissions selector would also look closely at individual module results for evidence of ability to obtain an A* grade.

Is it worth applying for admission to a BSc Economics degree with a predicted grade in A Level Mathematics lower than A*?

Applicants who are not likely to achieve a grade A* in A Level Mathematics are advised not to apply as it is an entrance requirement and mathematics plays an important part in the course.

Will resitting A Level modules affect my chances of success?

Unfortunately, due to the level of competition for places, we don't consider resits even if you meet our requirements.

How much competition is there for places on the BSc Economics degrees?

Competition for places on our programmes is intense. We receive approximately 3900 applications for 257 places, with the majority of these being from suitably qualified applicants. Therefore, meeting our entrance requirements does not guarantee that an application will be successful.

The Application Process

How do I apply?

You can find information on how to apply at this link.

Can I defer my entry? 

We accept applications from students who wish to defer a year. It is not possible, however, to hold an offer beyond the following year of entry. If you're not able to attend the course at either the next year of entry or the following year of entry, you should delay submitting your application until the appropriate admissions cycle.

What is taken into consideration during the selection process?

The admissions selector considers all the information contained in the UCAS application form. When making a decision, the personal statement, referee’s report, academic record and predicted examination results are all taken into account.

How important are my GCSE grades in the selection process?

The admissions selector looks at each application on its own merits, but those applicants with a high number of GCSEs passed at grade 8 are more likely to be successful.

Are A Level Mathematics and A Level Further Mathematics considered as two separate subjects?

Yes, we regard these A Levels as two separate A Level subjects.

Are Critical Thinking and General Studies accepted as A Level subjects?

Critical Thinking and General Studies can only be accepted at A2 level as a pass in a fourth AS level subject.

Will I be offered an interview?

We don't conduct interviews for our Economics programmes, you'll be assessed entirely on your application form.

How will I be informed of the outcome of my application?

As soon as a decision on your application has been reached, it will be sent to you via UCAS. If you are offered a place, you will also receive a letter from the Faculty Tutor with details of the offer.

If I am unsuccessful, will it be possible to receive more detailed feedback or have my application reviewed?

Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we are unable to provide feedback in addition to the comments that are communicated to unsuccessful applicants via UCAS. Please note that revised predicted grades will not be accepted after a decision has been made.

If I receive a conditional offer, do I need to send my examination results to UCL?

Results for A and AS Levels, Scottish Advanced Highers or Highers, Irish Highers and some International Baccalaureate are sent to UCL directly by the awarding bodies via UCAS. 

If your offer is conditional on other exam results, you should forward these results to the Central Admissions Office as soon as you recieive them and no later that the 31 August. You should be prepared to produce original evidence of your entry qualifications – either the original results certificate or a certified photocopy (stamped by your school and signed by your tutor as a ‘true copy’). 

If you have a query relating to the submission of results certificates, you should contact the Central Admissions Office.

Is it possible to apply for the BSc Economics degrees through Clearing or the UCAS Adjustment process?

The number of offers made exceeds the number of places available to allow for those who choose to go elsewhere or do not meet their offer conditions. This means that we rarely have any available places in August/September and do not participate in either the Adjustment process or Clearing, nor do we operate a waiting list.

What happens if I do not achieve the offer conditions?

As the BSc Economics degrees are heavily oversubscribed, there is very little scope for lowering offer conditions and unfortunately the offer of a place is unlikely to be confirmed.

Questions for all BSc Economics programmes

What is the course structure?

You'll take a total of 12 course units during this three-year course. Some course modules are valued at 1.0 units and others at 0.5 units. You'll take 4.0 units each year and normally graduate with 12.0 units in total. The minimum number of units to qualify for an Honours degree is 11.0.

For students on L101 or L102, your third year would take place abroad or you'd undertake a placement

Degree Structure

YEAR Three (l100) OR YEAR FOUR (L101/L102)
  • Economics
  • Applied Economics
  • Introduction to Mathematics for Economics
  • Introduction to Mathematics for Economics II
  • Statistical Methods in Economics
  • Optional courses
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomic Theory and Policy
  • Quantitative Economics and Econometrics
  • Optional courses
  • Optional courses

Examples of options include:

  • Behavioural Economics
  • Econometrics for Macroeconomics and Finance
  • Economic Policy Analysis
  • Economics of Financial Markets
  • Experimental Economics
  • Game Theory
  • Industrial Economics
  • International Trade
  • Issues in Economic Development
  • Microeconometrics
  • The Economics of Growth
  • The Economics of Money and Banking
  • Urban Economics
How important are Mathematics and Statistics skills?

The study of economics at university level requires a good grounding in school mathematics and a willingness to use mathematics as a tool of reasoning and communication.

You'll take two mathematics courses in your first year which will teach the mathematics you'll need for the rest of your degree. You will also take a first year statistics course, and a second year quantitative economics and econometrics course. In addition, mathematically and statistically oriented optional courses are available in the second and final years if you wish to take them.

How many weeks of tuition will I recieve each year? 

The academic year is divided into one 12-week Autumn Term, one 11-week Spring Term and a 7-week revision and examination term in the summer.

How will it be taught? 

You'll be taught in lectures and small-group classes. Each course delivers two lectures per week. Classes are given in groups of about 15 students and take place four or five times a term, depending on whether the course is optional or compulsory. In all courses you'll be required to submit written exercises or essays. The classes then review this work, and enable you to discuss ideas from the course with your teacher and fellow students. Attendance at classes and submission of written work are compulsory, and both are monitored.

How many hours of work should I do per week?

You'll have approximately 15- 20 hours of timetabled lectures and small group classes per week. In addition to timetabled sessions, you're advised to complete approximately 30 hours of personal study per week.

How will I be assessed?

There is a varied set of assessment forms used in the modules in the BSc Economics degree. Assessments range from formative course work for feedback that does not count towards your final mark for a module, to quizzes, essay assignments, research projects, presentations and other work that will be assessed and count towards your final mark. In order to progress to the next year, or to graduate, you'll normally need to pass examinations in at least 90 credits out of the 120 each year, have a year-average of at least 40.00 and overall fail no more than 60 credits in 3 years (stricter progression rules apply to L101 and L102 students). At the end your degree will get “honours” based upon the weighted mean of your average across the first, second, and last year. Year 1 has a weight of one (approximately 11%), year 2 a weight of three (approximately 33%) and the last year has a weight of five (approximately 56%).

Is it possible to transfer directly into the second or third year of any of the BSc Economics degrees?

We do not permit students to transfer directly into the second or third year of our BSc programmes and credits from other universities are not accepted. This policy applies to all students, including students from within UCL as well as those from other universities.

Can I take modules in other departments?

In your first year there is an extensive list of 'automatically approved' outside options you can apply to take. You can select up to 30 credits from this list. This includes all Language options, as well as options in Political Science, Geography, History, Philosophy, Computer Science, Management Science, Accounting, and many other subject areas. 
This list is updated before the start of every academic year and is subject to change, depending on the availability of modules and/or any changes that have been made to module by the Departments teaching them. You can apply to any module on the ‘automatically approved’ list, however, entry cannot be guaranteed, for example if your timetable clashes with the module you’d like to take or if the module is oversubscribed.
In your second and third years you can request permission from the Department Tutor to take modules that are not on the 'automatically approved modules' lists."

Give me some ideas to read, listen or watch before coming to UCL Economics

Absolutely! You don't need to do anything to prepare but you can find some resources below to help you get started before joining the Department: 


Classic books

  • Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (Oxford Paperbacks)
  • David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. [Freely Accessible] (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
  • John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (Penguin Classics)
  • John Maynard Keynes, A Tract on Monetary Reform (Prometheus Books)

Blogs and Press

Other resources

What type of accomodation is available to UCL undergraduates?

UCL offers a wide range of student accommodation including catered Halls of Residence, self-catering Students Houses and assistance with privately let flats and lodgings. All single first-year undergraduate students are guaranteed a place in student accommodation provided they submit their application by 31 May of the year of entry and have spent no previous period of time living in a residence associated with an institution of higher education in the London area (i.e. within the M25 motorway).  Further information is available on the UCL website accomodation pages.

BSc Economics with a Year Abroad (L101) 

How competitive is application to BSc Economics with a Year Abroad?

Places available at host institutions are limited and the application process is competitive.

Can I apply for both the three-year BSc Economics degree and the four-year BSc Economics with a Year Abroad?

Yes, applications can be made to both programmes.

How are marks factored into the degree while studying abroad? 

You are assessed at the host institution during your year abroad and the modules you have completed are recorded generically as ‘shell modules’. Once we have received a transcript from the host institution detailing your results we will evaluate and record them as Pass/Fail against the Year abroad shell modules.

Passing the year is a programme requirement but results are not factored into your degree classification.

How is my final degree classification determined?

As described above, at least 90 credits must be passed during the year abroad. The final degree classification will be based on marks obtained at UCL during years 1,2,4 under the same scheme used for BSc Economics degree classification.

Can I choose where I study abroad? What are the options? 

You'll take your year abroad at an approved institution. Previous student destinations have included:

Columbia University
Georgetown University
Università Commerciale di Bocconi
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
University of British Columbia
University of Melbourne
University of Chicago
University of Pennsylvania
University of Toronto

The list of approved institutions is subject to change annually and spaces at each partner institution are limited. Attempts will be made to accommodate student preferences, in accordance with an allocation process in the second year, but it is not possible to guarantee that students will secure a spot at one of their preferred destinations.

BSc Economics with a Placement Year (L102) 

Can you guarantee me a placement? 

Most employers who offer placement opportunities for 9 months or more require you to apply through a competitive process. We will support you through these processes but cannot guarantee that at the end you'll be offered a placement.

You should take the lead in identifying suitable placements and applying for them. 

What types of organisations can I apply to?

An approved placement will enable you to gain direct professional experience and provide opportunities for you to achieve the learning and research objectives related to your degree. A placement must be approved by the BSc Director. We expect the placement to be in the UK. 

You may want to consider organisations such as, the Bank of England; the Goverment Economics Scheme (GES), and the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM).

What support will I recieve?

The Department will give you bespoke support in applying and preparing for placements.

UCL Careers also offers support in terms of employer fairs and presentations. You can also book one-to-one appointments for careers guidance, application/CV checks, and practice interviews.

What happens if I am unsuccessful in applying for a placement?

In the event that you are not successful in securing a placement, you would usually, (provided you meet any requirements) be able to request to transfer to the three year BSc Economics degree at the end of second year.

Is there any additional workload associated with the placement year?

During the second year you'll need to spend time researching, applying and preparing for your placement and during the third year there will be academic assignments to complete in addition to working full-time. This is an essential part of your learning, and will add to your workload. You will also participate in our Economics Skills Lab in the second and final years to help you enhance your workplace skills.

Are there any academic requirements I must meet in order to be permitted to go on placement?

You must meet the progression requirements for the degree in order to go on placement. You'll need to complete and pass all first and second year units, including any compulsory modules, and have secured a placement offer from an employer and meet any conditions stated in the offer, before starting the placement in year 3. If you don't meet these requirements you may be able to transfer to the three year Economics degree.

Can I go on placement abroad?

No, currently the placement must be based in the United Kingdom (UK).

Can I found my own company or start-up as a placement opportunity?

No, currently you must undertake a placement year at an established organisation where you work as an employee.

What are the fees for the Economics with a Placement Year degree?

Students will pay reduced tuition fees to UCL during the placement year. For further information about UCL tuition fees please see Fees & Funding.

I’m a student on Tier 4 visa, will I be able to work on a placement year?

You must ensure that you have the right to stay in the United Kingdom (UK) as a student for four years and that you have the right to work on an academic placement in your third year.

For further information you can visit the Immigration and Visas webpage. 

Will I be paid for my placement?

We believe it’s important to offer our students paid placements and as such we only advertise placements that comply with UK minimum wage rates.