The Economics Tripos allows candidates a broad range of options. There is a provision for the study of politics, sociology and training in the mathematical aspects of economics.
Economics will appeal to those interested in the study of society, whatever their speciality in school may have been: students trained in mathematics and natural sciences will find as much scope for their abilities as those who have specialised in history, geography, or languages.
The Cambridge course is based on a solid core of economics, theoretical and applied. It examines issues such as employment, unemployment, economic growth, price fluctuations, international trade, efficiency of financial markets, industrial organisation, economic development and transition to free market economies, resource allocation and the income distribution.
The Economics course (or 'Tripos'), like other Cambridge Triposes is split into Part I and Part II
Part I of the Tripos (the first year) provides an interesting consolidation and extension of studies for those who have taken Economics at Advanced level, but it is in no way a requirement to have done so. It covers key topics in micro- and macro-economics, selected aspects of political economy, political and sociological aspects of economics and british economic history.
Part IIA (the second year) covers compulsory papers on micro- and macro-economics plus economics and social statistics. The emphasis is on analytical tools and their use and provide much of the theoretical background required for Part II. In addition students can begin to explore other areas such as Economic Development, Sociology and Mathematics for Economists and Statisticians.
In Part IIB (the third year), there is considerably more scope for specialisation. Whilst students continue to study compulsory units in micro- and macro-economic principles, they can also study a range of topics from economic theory to mathematical economics; the economics of developemnt to statistics; economic history to a subject in the field of sociology or politics.
We usually aim to make four or five offers in Economics each year, although this will depend on the strength of the field and the space available in the College. We usually have between three and four applicants per place.
Where possible, candidates are encouraged to attend the Magdalene College Open Days which are organised between April and July. These provide the candidates with an opportunity to obtain both general information about student life at Magdalene and specific details about the Economics Tripos.
Candidates for Economics at Magdalene are judged on five main areas.
- Mathematical ability: a strong ability in Mathematics is essential.
- Analytical ability: a passage is given to candidates before the subject interview which they will be expected to analyse and discuss in the interview. Candidates may also be asked to read and think about a short passage before their second interview.
- Motivation and broader interest in the subject. This may draw upon information given in your personal statement.
- School references about the candidate's academic potential and other achievements.
- Examination and assessment results and predicted/final grades.
Candidates for Economics will normally be expected to have studied Mathematics at A-Level (or equivalent). Economics at A-Level will be useful but it is not essential. Further Mathematics A-Level or AS-Level is expected if it is offered at candidate's school.
The typical offer for Economics is A*A*A, with an A* usually expected in Mathematics. Occasionally, conditional offers for Economics may include a STEP condition, although most do not.
Typical grades in the IB are 42 points overall, with 7,7,6 at Higher Level.
IB applicants starting the new IB Mathematics syllabus are expected to take IB Higher Level 'Analysis and Approaches' for any course where Mathematics is a requirement. If this option is not available at your school, please contact the College for further advice and guidance.
Interviews and Written Assessment
Candidates invited for interview will have two interviews, each lasting approximately 25 minutes. One interview will be with the Director of Studies and another economist; the second is likely to be with an economist and a second Fellow from a related discipline. Applicants may be asked to read and think about a short passage before either interview.
Applicants will also need to take a written assessment. The assessment for Economics is a pre-interview assessment. This means that you will have to register to sit the assessment at an assessment centre near to you (for most applicants this will be your school or college). Registration for the pre-interview assessment is separate from your UCAS application and it is essential that you are registered by your centre before the deadline, which is 15 October. More information about registering for the assessment can be found here.
The admissions assessment for Economics will last for two hours and consist of two parts. More details about the format of the assessment, including some sample questions, can be found here (under the 'Entry Requirements' tab). Please note that your performance in the pre-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.