Study economics in the UK

Sheffield IC students working together

Economics is a social science that explores how people interact with value; it’s concerned with the consumption, production, and distribution of services and goods. The study of economics involves how economies work, and the interactions and behaviours of people, companies and organisations. Economists analyse how individuals, governments, businesses, and countries decide how to allocate resources. The field of economics can be split into macroeconomics, looking on the economy overall, and microeconomics, which focuses on individual businesses and people. If you’re considering studying an economics degree, read on for five of our top reasons to study economics in the UK.

Reasons to study economics

1. Economics and the world

Why study economics? Economics is everywhere and is relevant to almost every part of our lives, which is why studying economics is important. Economists carry out forecasting and present their findings to companies and governments so they can make economically sound decisions. Economics is responsible for providing answers to many health, political, and social issues and also drives decisions on everyday matters such as:

  • inflation
  • tax
  • wealth
  • interest rates
  • emerging markets
  • inequality
  • the environment

Economics helps us understand our world and how people, governments, businesses and markets make their economic decisions.

Studying economics will provide you with problem-solving and analytical skills, which will in turn enable you to progress to a range of career paths such as finance, law, actuary and foreign affairs.

2. High salaries

After graduating with an economics degree, you can expect starting salaries of around £25,000 to £35,000, and once you are a few years into your career, you could earn £40,000 or over. Senior economists can earn a healthy salary from £50,000 to £75,000 or over (Prospects). As with most professions, salaries for economists fluctuate depending on experience, location and sector. If you want to earn a higher salary, you may want to choose a career in financial services, consulting or banking.

3. Excellent career prospects

Economics is so adaptable and relevant to everyday life that graduates often have great job prospects. Employment in economics is high already and the profession is expected to grow over the next ten years. Companies in a variety of industries use quantitative methods and analysis to accurately forecast for trends in their respective markets. Demand for economics professionals and graduates is high, especially those who can work with big data in advertising and pricing.

4. Combine with other subjects

Economics is so widely applicable that students can combine it smoothly with other subjects of interest. As economics is a social science, it can comfortably combine with anthropology, sociology, psychology, and political science. All social sciences study group and individual human behaviour. Economics is closely related to the other social sciences, and they all complement each other.

5. Transferable skills

By studying economics, you will learn plenty of subject-specific skills, such as the use of financial markets, and application of economic principles and models. Additionally, your degree will also equip you with transferable skills that will be useful to many other career paths. Some of these skills include:

  • Problem solving – finding information, coming to meaningful conclusions, and writing recommendations
  • Communication – explaining complicated information and showing results
  • Time management – managing priorities, working under pressure and completing tasks to deadlines
  • Numeracy – applying maths methods and statistical analysis to everyday problems
  • Computing – Using numerous types of IT software
  • Analytical skills – looking at data, analysing results and making recommendations

How to study economics in the UK

If you are wondering where to study economics. many international students begin their studies at the University of Sheffield International College. Here, you’ll receive academic and pastoral support as you settle into the UK and start your studies. Whether you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate student, we have pathway programmes designed to prepare you for your economics degree and for life in the UK.

Undergraduate economics pathway

The International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities is your first step towards a career in economics. This foundation year will prepare you for your chosen undergraduate economics degree at Sheffield. The programme that has been designed in collaboration with the University, especially for international students like you. As well as subject specific modules, you’ll also learn valuable study skills and improve your English proficiency, so you’re prepared to succeed in your economics degree programme.

Postgraduate economics pathway

The Pre-Masters in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities is designed to prepare you for postgraduate degree study at Sheffield. The programme will introduce you to subject specific elements of your economics degree as well as learning general academic skills. The International College will also support you as you settle into UK life.

Why study at the University of Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield is ranked in the world’s top 100 universities, and has a global academic reputation. Sheffield is also a member of the Russell Group of leading UK research universities. When you join Sheffield, you’ll be part of a wide international community.

  • 95th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2022)
  • 14th in the UK (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021)
  • Top 5 for student experience (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018)
  • You’ll have the chance to get real world experience on a year-long paid placement – recent placements have been with the Bank of England, Lloyds Bank, IBM, ASOS and Mercedes-Benz
  • Department of Economics is Top 10 in the Russell Group for overall student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2020)


Why is studying economics important?

Economics play a role in everyday life, they provide answers to a range of health, social and political issues. 

How much does it cost to study economics in the UK?

As with all university level degrees, the cost of studying economics will be high. Which is why you need to ensure you are choosing the right degree and institute for you. 

What can I do with an economics degree in the UK?

Jobs that require an economics degree are plentiful. There are multiple sectors you can work in including: banking, accountancy and consulting. With just one degree you are able to work in many different fields, all with mid to high salary ranges.