Clare College Cambridge



Number of students per year: 8-10
Typical offer: A*A*A or 7,7,6 (42+ overall) in the IB or the equivalent in other educational systems. For Scottish Highers and Advanced Highers - Offers usually require AAA at Advanced Higher Grade; bands may be specified.
Essential subjects: A-level/ IB Higher Level Mathematics.
Written assessment: All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Economics at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).


What is Economics?


Economics is the study of those phenomena most closely related to the way that society decides what goods and services to produce, how to produce them and for whom. As such Economics covers an extraordinarily diverse range of topics, addressing such questions as:

  • How do households allocate their own resources between different needs and wants?
  • How do firms decide what to produce and what factors affect the price of the things they sell?
  • How does international trade affect an economy?
  • What is economic growth and what factors influence a country’s rate of growth?
  • Why do countries tend to experience economic cycles, with periods of rapid growth usually being followed by periods of low or negative growth?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of a market economy and under what circumstances should governments intervene in markets?

Why Study Economics?


For many people the appeal of Economics lies in the fact that the issues it studies play such an important role in almost every aspect of life, with just about every local, national and international event having both Economic causes and consequences. Thus to study Economics is to study the workings of contemporary society, with new and unexpected phenomena emerging all the time.

A second source of the subject’s appeal is nicely captured in the following quotation from the Cambridge Economist John Maynard Keynes, who famously wrote that an Economist must “…be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher—in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words…” Such is the breadth of the field that Economists must draw on a wide range of different disciplines (including not just Maths, History and Philosophy, but also Statistics, Politics, Geography and others). Thus Economics exposes students to many different forms of intellectual enquiry and, in turn, demands a variety of skills; students may find themselves writing an essay on the role of informal lending in developing economies one day, while having to solve a set of maths problems the following day and to assess various claims using a statistical model of the economy the day after.

In terms of careers, an Economics degree is usually considered to open many doors and to close very few. Our own recent graduates have gone on to work in a range of different sectors, including academia, finance, the Civil Service, teaching, NGOs and many others.


Link to University Subject Page


See Student Profile: Leah Grant