Why study Economics as part of a B.A. degree?
"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist." (J.M. Keynes)
Everything about us is has an economic dimension. Studying Economics gives you an insight into the various economic relationships in the real world around you and introduces you to the analytical tools you need to help you to explore and understand these relationships.
You may already have an interest in current affairs, in the economics of the market place, in economic factors influencing national and international politics or in how Economics have influenced the course of history. Choosing Economics as a degree subject gives you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of economic issues and to expand you knowledge of the world about you.
Employers in many different sectors favour students with Economics in their undergraduate degree. Studying Economics, you acquire analytical skills and you are enabled to think clearly and rigorously for yourself. These skills are useful in a wide range of areas of employment such as teaching and journalism, but which are also transportable and applicable in managerial positions in a many different industries such as banking and manufacturing.
Perhaps, like many students leaving secondary school, you are not sure what career path you would like to follow. Choosing Economics as a subject in your B.A. degree will be a decision that you will not regret - the skills and knowledge acquired studying Economics will prove a solid foundation for you whatever career path you choose at a later stage. Remember, most key decisions made by government or in business have an economic dimension, so graduates with Economics have a head-start!
What type of student is suited to taking Economics as part of a B.A. ?
Students with an interest in current affairs and politics enjoy studying Economics. If you are not quite sure yet where you want to work, taking Economics in the B.A. keeps your employment options open.
In first year of the B.A., we assume students have no prior knowledge of Economics. Therefore, students who consider the B.A. as an opportunity to explore new subject areas often choose Economics in first year and many continue with Economics to degree level.
What do you study?
The B.A. Economics programme introduces you to a way of thinking about the economic world around us and the various complex issues that arise. You acquire the analytical tools to explore these issues.
In First Arts, you study Economics by exploring:
- The decision-making behaviour of individual economic actors, for example, individual consumers, business entrepreneurs, bankers and government ministers - this is called microeconomics
- The collective behaviour of these actors, looking at how all these decisions interact - this is called macroeconomics
In Second and Third Arts, you delve deeper into microeconomcis and macroeconomics, and begin to apply the theories learned into other aspects of society. You consider GDP, employment, unemployment, inflation - you gain an understanding of many issues that are driving forces in the modern economy. Other courses offered include Irish economic history, monetary economics, public sector economics and health economics.
What other subjects are good combinations with Economics?
Any subject on offer is a good combination with Economics.
If you are already are interested in and like a subject, choose it with Economics. If you have already clear career aspirations, then choose subjects with Economics that are appropriate. For example, if you are considering a career as a teacher, History, Geography and modern languages are all good combinations with Economics, or if you are interested in Law, then choose Legal Studies with Economics.
If you think that you want to do a postgraduate programme in in Economics, then Mathematics is a good choice with Economics for the B.A.
Above all, however, remember that you undergraduate degree is a foundation on which you will build you future career, it is the stepping stone from which you will take off. Whatever subject combinations you choose with Economics in your B.A., you will have many doors open to you on graduation and you will have developed the analytical tools, skills and knowledge that will enable you to move forward with confidence.
Where might you work with Economics in your degree?
With Economics in your degree, you can work anywhere. B.A. graduates with Economics follow three different broad career paths :
Economics - a good basis for a generalist
Economics is an excellent training, providing you with good analytical skills and a broad understanding of economic issues, and preparing you for a wide variety of work environments. The majority of our graduates find employment in generalist roles in all types of sectors: business, banking, insurance and public administration, where the skills and knowledge gained through studying Economics are invaluable assets. Because there is an economic dimension to most decisions in all sectors, graduates with Economics have a head start.
- Economics - a stepping stone to a specialism
Economics is an excellent degree on which to build a specialism. With Economics in your B.A. degree, you can follow many different career paths, taking postgraduate and other courses to specialise in specific areas like accountancy, HR management or marketing and you will be able to draw on the skills and knowledge gained from studying Economics to help you follow you chosen career path.
- Economics - training future economists
A small percentage of our Economics students follow their basic degree with further postgraduate study in Economics, at diploma, Masters or PhD levels. On graduating, these people find employment as economists, in government bodies and international organisations, for example, the European Union, the OECD or the World Bank. Others work in banks, as lecturers and researchers in third-level institutes, as consultants with organisations like the ESRI and the Department of Finance; as economists with companies like Price Waterhouse and Irish Life; and as strategists with organisations like IBEC and the Competition Authority.
What postgraduate options are available to you?
Given that the B.A. is a three year programme, a high proportion of graduates undertake further research or vocational training courses in preparation for employment in professions such as teaching, law, social work, politics, journalism, public administration and arts administration.
You can apply for entry to one of our taught postgraduate Economics programmes at NUI Galway or many other postgraduate programmes
Can I study abroad?
The B.A. International is a four-year version of the B.A. It involves a one-year period of study, in the third year of the programme, at an oversees university, where you study all of your academic subjects.
Typically, you would be taking at least one modern continental language, with Economics, to degree level and would spend the year abroad studying that language, and its literature, in an EU country where it is spoken. You also study Economics through that same language with emphasis on the European/Continental dimension. Recently this programme has been expanded to involve non-language areas of study in the U.S. and in Europe.