BSc (Honours) Economics

1.  Programme Intended Learning Outcomes:

A.  Subject Knowledge and Understanding:

On successful completion of this programme, students should  be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

A1.  A coherent core of economic principles. The understanding of these may be verbal, graphical or mathematical.  These principles cover the microeconomic issues of decision and choice, the production and exchange of goods, the interdependency of markets, and economic welfare. They also include macroeconomic issues such as employment, national income, the balance of payments and the distribution of income, inflation, growth and business cycles, money and finance. The understanding will extend to economic policy at both the microeconomics and macroeconomic levels.

A2.  Relevant quantitative methods and computing techniques. These cover mathematical and statistical methods, including econometrics. Students will be exposed to the use of such techniques on economic, financial and social data.

A3.  Appropriate methods that an economist might use to structure and analyse both quantitative and qualitative economic data.

A4.  Applying core economic principles and reasoning to a range of applied topics. They will also demonstrate the use of economic principles in the design and interpretation of commercial, economic and social policy. This includes the ability to discuss and analyse government policy and to assess the performance of the Egyptian economy and other economies.

B.  Subject-Specific Cognitive Skills:

B1.  Apply core economic theory and economic reasoning to applied topics.

B2. Analyse the verbal, graphical, mathematical and econometric representation of economic ideas and analysis, including the relationship between them.

B3.  Explain the history and development of economic ideas and the differing methods of analysis that have been and are used by economists.

B4.  Use relevant mathematical and statistical techniques.

B5.  Apply the analytical methods, both theory- and model-based.

B6.  Use appropriate techniques to enable manipulation, treatment and interpretation of relevant statistical data.

B7.  Relate differences in economic policy recommendations to differences in the theoretical and empirical features of the economic analysis, which underlie such recommendations.

B8.  Discuss and analyse government policy and assess the performance of the Egyptian economy and other economies.

Teaching, learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to be achieved and demonstrated

  1. Learning and teaching is provided through lectures, tutorials, seminars, computer-based laboratory workshops, group work, web-based guided study, presentations, independent research and guided independent study.
  2. Contact and feedback is typically provided through projects, coursework assessment (essays, short answer and multiple choice), lectures, tutorials, presentations, seminars, computer-based laboratory workshops, group work, web-based guided study/self tests, guided independent study, and one to one contact with staff within the personal tutoring system and office hours with lecturers and subject tutors.
  3. Students will receive a departmental handbook detailing procedures on how to contact staff, how to get help, assessment criteria, programme outline, module specifications, module outlines, essay writing and presentation of coursework, note taking and potential prizes awarded for academic achievement. This information will also be available to students on the University’s website.
  4. In the final year students undertake a 40 credit weighted Honours Dissertation. 

 C.  Subject-Specific Practical Skills:

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to demonstrate the subject specific skills, which are also highly transferable skills, of:

  1. Analysis and decision making.
  2. Effective oral and written communication.
  3. Numeracy and computation.
  4. IT, information handling and retrieval, including library skills.
  5. Independent study and group work.
  6. Time management.

More specifically students should be able to demonstrate the following:

Abstraction. From the study of economic principles and models, students see how one can abstract the fundamental features of complex systems and provide a useable framework for evaluation and assessment of the effects of policy or other exogenous events. Through this, the typical student will acquire proficiency in how to simplify while still retaining relevance. This is an approach that they can then apply in other contexts, thereby becoming more effective problem-solvers and decision-makers.

Analysis, Deduction and Induction. Economic reasoning is highly deductive, and logical analysis is applied to assumption-based models. However, inductive reasoning is also important. The typical student would have been exposed to some or all of these and should thus be able to use some of them. Such skills also enhance their problem-solving and decision-making ability.

Quantification and Design. Data, and their effective organization, presentation and analysis, are important in economics. The typical student will have some familiarity with the principal sources of economic information and data relevant to industry, commerce and government, and have had practice in organising it and presenting it informatively. This skill is important at all stages in the decision-making process.

Framing. Through the study of economics, a student should learn how to decide what should be taken as given or fixed for the purposes of setting up and solving a problem, i.e. what the important 'parameters' are in constraining the solution to the problem. Learning to think about how and why these parameters might change encourages a student to place the economic problem in its broader social and political context. This `framing' skill is important in determining the decision-maker's ability to implement the solutions to problems.

The skills listed above are developed heterogeneously throughout the modules of the degree programme. For example, the Data analysis module focus on numeracy and computational skills, quantification, IT, information handling and retrieval skills, whereas Macroeconomics, Microeconomics and other courses develop communication skills, abstraction, analysis and decision making skills, numeracy, independent study, group work skills and time management skills.

Examinations indicate how well the student can demonstrate their mastery of an area by selecting appropriate material from memory and applying it using their subject specific key and transferable skills, outlined above, to a typically unseen question in a limited period of time.

Coursework may take many forms, for example presentations, multiple choice tests, short answer tests through to timed essays, short projects, group work and a fourth year project. In all cases learning is encouraged, enhanced and feedback given in order to help the student assess and review their subject specific knowledge and subject specific skills.

D.  Key Transferable Skills:

In learning economic principles, the typical student acquires competence in some key concepts that are likely to be present in most of the problems that they will face subsequently in their careers. These include:

Opportunity Cost. A problem solver or decision-maker must routinely ask "what would have to be given up if …” where the answer does not always involve a simply calculated financial cost. It is often the case that actions are proposed that fail to recognise foregone alternatives. Opportunity cost allows the economist to think about the costs in terms of all resources. Also, there are many examples of economic policies which enhance efficiency yet damage equity and vice-versa. All of these encourage an appreciation of inevitable trade-offs.

Incentives. Economists are trained to identify and evaluate the incentives implied by particular rules, and how to establish sets of rules that actually lead people to react in ways that give rise to some intended outcomes. The ability to think rationally about these issues is crucial in the effective design of both policy and strategy.

Equilibrium, Disequilibrium and Stability. These are concepts that economists make heavy use of and the typical graduate will have seen these deployed in economic argument with great regularity. The concept of equilibrium is a state where no participant has any incentive to change behaviour. The ability to recognise disequilibria and appreciate their stability properties and to think coherently about reactions to this, are vital ingredients of good decision-making.

Strategic Thinking. Economists learn the importance of strategic thinking, and the roles of opportunities, strategies, outcomes, information and motivation in the analysis of strategic actions, including conflict, bargaining and negotiation.

Expectations and Surprises. Economists learn that behaviour partly depends on experience and partly on peoples' perceptions of what is expected to happen. Thus behaviour may change when unanticipated events occur. Effective decision making requires the skill of reacting in a context where people's behaviour is based on expectations that may be confounded by subsequent surprises. Students in Economics would have been exposed to these issues and this will enhance their potential effectiveness as decision-makers.

The Relevance of Marginal Considerations. Economists are trained to recognise that important decisions often relate to small variations in key variables and parameters. An action is worth undertaking if the additional benefit that accrues is greater than the additional cost incurred. The typical student in Economics will be fully aware of the importance of the margin relative to the average.

Specifically students should be able to:

  1. Gain confidence and facility in systematic approaches to researching sources, managing large and often incomplete bodies of knowledge and through writing research, improved their writing and communication skills.
  2. Reach sources, managed large and often incomplete bodies of knowledge.
  3. Take responsibility for their own learning.
  4. Acquire confidence and facility in systematic approaches to problem solving, and should have improved their writing and communication skills.
  5. Analyse the characteristics of alternative macroeconomic models.
  6. Draw conclusions concerning various macroeconomic issues and apply both to effective policy and strategy.

Programme Structure for Economics 2018-2019

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