BA in Economics
A detailed account of the structure of the Economics Tripos is contained in the relevant section of Cambridge University Guide to Courses. The account given here is a simplified version, with less detail about University regulations. If you are concerned about these (for example, if you have changed from another Tripos and wish to know whether this will allow you to take a non-standard combination of courses) you should consult the University Guide, as well as your Director of Studies or Tutor. However, the majority of students will find that the information given below covers what they need to know.
The Economics Tripos is a three years degree program in economics and consists of three parts, known as Part I, Part IIA and Part IIB. The examinations for each part take place at the end of the first, second and third year, respectively, and are classed Tripos examinations (Firsts, Upper Seconds (2.1s), Lower Seconds (2.2s) and Thirds). The exams are stand-alone examinations, and marks are not carried forward to later years. The candidates will, however, be required to pass the relevant examinations (i.e., to obtain at least a Third) if they are to continue from Part I to Part IIA or from Part IIA to Part IIB.
Candidates for Part I of the Tripos are required to study for, and be examined in, five papers (the terminology used for a “course”), all of which are compulsory. These comprise papers in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Quantitative Methods (Mathematics and Statistics), Political and Sociological Aspects of Economics, and British Economic History. Candidates for Part IIA normally study for, and are examined in, four papers. Three of the papers - Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics - are compulsory. The fourth paper is chosen from a list of four optional papers - Economic Development, Mathematics, Labour and one of three papers borrowed from the Politics, Psychology and Sociology Tripos: Analysis of Modern Politics, Modern Societies, or International Relations I. Students may, if they wish, choose to be examined in more than one optional paper, though few take advantage of this choice. Affiliated students (students who come to Cambridge to take a second undergraduate degree in two years) have the same choice of papers as those who have taken a Part I examination in Cambridge. Students who have completed one year of another Cambridge Tripos can take Part IIA of the Economics Tripos but only with the approval of the Faculty Board. Students in this position should consult with their director of studies for further advice.
All students taking Part IIB Economics (except those who take the course in a single year after switching from another Tripos) will be required to take the following papers:
- a. two compulsory papers (on Microeconomic Principles and Problems and Macroeconomic Principles and Problems)
- b. two optional papers, chosen from the following list of papers: Economic Theory and Analysis (Paper 4), Banking, Money and Finance (Paper 6), Public Economics (Paper 7), The Economics of Developing Countries (Paper 8), Industry (Paper 9), Theory and Practice of Econometrics II (Paper 10), World Depression in the Inter-War Years (Paper 14) and a range of options offered by the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Sciences
(Paper 16 and Papers 17a-d). Students are not allowed to take more than one option from among those offered by the Faculty Human, Social and Political Sciences.
- c. a compulsory dissertation, which counts as a single paper. The dissertation can be in the same field of Economics as either of the student’s optional papers, but cannot be associated with a paper offered by the Faculty Human, Social and Political Sciences, or with Papers 5, and 11 (a detailed guideline can be found at the back of the brochure).
Students can take an additional optional paper if they wish: if they do so, the marks will only count if it is to their advantage. Students who switch from another Tripos to Part IIB Economics after two years, and who are only studying Economics for a single year, will be required to take two compulsory and two optional papers, but are not required to submit a dissertation. ‘One-year’ students can also choose between taking Part IIA (but only with the approval of the Faculty Board) and Part IIB: either choice will allow them to graduate with Honours. Students in this position should consult with their director of studies for further advice.