Politics and Economics BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:LL21
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Politics and Economics
UCAS code
UCAS code
Politics and Economics | BA Jt Hons
3 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
None specific, but critical thinking and general studies not accepted; A in maths at GCSE required
IB score
Course location
University Park 
Course places
72 places for all joint honours degrees involving economics (ie. Politics and Economics; Economics and Philosophy; Economics and Maths; Politics, Philosophy and Economics)

This course may still be open to international applicants for 2016 entry. Please visit our international pages for details of courses and application procedures from now until the end of August.


This course covers political thinking and behaviour alongside economic principles and practice, and students graduate with a thorough knowledge of a wide range of concepts.
Read full overview

This three-year degree is run jointly by the School of Politics and International Relations and the School of Economics. Politics and economics are about understanding modern life - or the political and economic foundations of the contemporary world. It combines a study of political thinking and political behaviour with a study of economic principles and economic practice.

Year one

In year one, you will take modules in political theory and in comparative politics. Comparing political institutions and behaviour in western liberal democracies, you will gain a thorough understanding of the history of political ideas. You can choose to take modules within the area of international relations as part of your optional modules within the school.

In economics you will benefit from a Writing Economics module and you will be introduced to macroeconomics and microeconomics. You will have the opportunity to choose between two further fields of study for your remaining modules in the School of Economics and will also take a careers and employability module.

Year two

In politics you will choose one core module and will then have free choice of two additional modules from the school so that you can begin to tailor your degree to your personal preference. In economics you will study macro and microeconomics. 

You also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our many partner institutions for a semester.

Year three

In your final year, you will have the opportunity to undertake a politics dissertation under the supervision of a member of our academic staff, and will also choose optional modules in both politics and economics from the full range of options offered by both schools. You need to choose at least three modules from the international relations stream in your third year and can either choose to specialise further by adding more of the same, or broaden your knowledge base by taking modules from comparative politics and political theory. Once again you are permitted to take subsidiary modules during this year.


Entry requirements

A levels: AAA not including general studies or critical thinking

GCSEs: An A in GCSE maths is the absolute minimum requirement for all economics courses unless you are taking AS or A level maths

English language requirements 

If English is not your first language, you must fulfil, as a minimum, the following condition:

IELTS: 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any element

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

View the alternative qualifications page for details.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

We are looking for students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from our courses, and who will make a valued contribution to the department and the University. Candidates for full-time admission are considered on the basis of their Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) form.

Applications are considered solely on merit and academic potential. The selection process is normally based entirely on the UCAS application form - so it is important that this is completed correctly and fully. We do not normally interview applicants.



Typical year one modules

Core politics modules

Introduction to Comparative Politics

This module seeks to compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern democratic states. Topics to be covered will include: 

  • politics
  • government and the state
  • the comparative approach
  • constitutions and the legal framework
  • democratic and authoritarian rule
  • political culture
  • the political executive
  • legislatures
  • political parties and party systems
  • electoral systems and voting behaviour
  • the crisis of democracy

This module aims to:

  • study the structure and politics of modern democratic states 

The lectures and readings will include a number of contemporary examples, and the module will help the students to understand similarities and differences between politics as practiced in a wide range of countries. Moreover, the module will introduce students to the methods of comparative politics, and explore hypothesis construction and theory testing. 

Modern Political Theory

This module introduces students to the ideas of some of the canonical thinkers in the history of political thought, such as Burke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, and Marx. The module considers the impact of these thinkers on modern political thought and practice, with reference to key political ideas and historical developments (such as liberty and equality, and the Enlightenment). The course will be text based.  

This module aims to provide knowledge of:

  • the history of western political thought
  • some central issues and debates of political philosophy
  • the contexts in which the various thinkers wrote
  • the principal arguments of their canonical texts 
  • their analysis of key ideas such as property, liberty, the role of the state etc 

Plus two modules from a list provided by politics.

Core economics modules

Careers and Employability for Economists

This module provides a means for enabling students to reflect on their personal development and the implications this might have for their future career paths. It will include:

  • Guidance on recording and evaluating skills
  • Guidance on careers from the Centre for Career Development
  • Information, guidance and advice form a range of graduate employers and alumni

This module aims to:

  • raise the profile of employability issues within the undergraduate programme
  • provide students with the opportunity to reflect formally on their learning and wider experiences while at university
  • develop skills of reflection and recording amongst the student body
Introduction to Macroeconomics

This is a single semester introductory course in macroeconomics. Macroeconomics is the study of the aggregate economy, focusing on the cyclical pattern of aggregate output and co-movement of real and monetary aggregates in general equilibrium. This course introduces a series of basic models used in modern macroeconomics, with a particular focus on dynamic general equilibrium modelling tools and techniques necessary to build theoretical models.

This module aims to:

  • provide a sound basis in the fundamentals of macroeconomics and their application to both theoretical and real world situations
  • develop analytical skills using the major methods of mathematics and diagrams
  • engender the ability to communicate and report findings, particularly via tutorial essays, presentations and exercises
Introduction to Microeconomics

Introduction to microeconomics, including behaviour of firms and households in situations of competitive and imperfectly competitive markets. This module aims to:

  • provide a sound basis in the fundamentals of micro-economics and their application to both theoretical and real world situations
  • develop analytical skills using the major methods of mathematics and diagrams
  • engender the ability to communicate and report findings, particularly via tutorial essays, presentations and exercises
Writing Economics

This module aims to introduce students to the essential skills required for writing as an economist. It will be delivered in conjunction with Libraries, Research and Learning Resources (LRLR), who will cover content on key information skills relating to the library and learning resources.

The module will centre around economic approaches to analysing human behaviour and provide a guide to good economics writing. It will give an introduction to the language of economics and basic research skills. Among the topics covered will be:

  • academic integrity and plagiarism
  • time management
  • writing essays
  • writing quantitative projects
  • presentation skills
  • referencing and using the internet
  • revision and examinations

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the issues and methods underpinning effective study at the Nottingham School of Economics
  • highlight the resources that are available at the University and how to access them
  • highlight the practical techniques to get the most out of study time
  • indicate good essay technique
  • highlight how to perform well in examinations

Plus either:

Quantitative Economics
  • Introduction to mathematical economics: mathematical finance
  • Analysis of functions
  • Supply and demand
  • Matrix algebra
  • Differentiation
  • Elasticities
  • Maximisation/minimisation
  • Optimisation subject to constraints
  • Lagrange multipliers
  • Integration

This module aims to:

  • provide a basis in the fundamentals of Mathematics most relevant to the study of Economics
  • allow students to see how mathematical tools can be applied in the analysis of theoretical economic problems
  • facilitate the development of analytical skills leading to an understanding of which economic problems are susceptible to a formal treatment, and which results are capable of formal proof
Quantitative Economics II

The module introduces those statistical methods and concepts most applicable in Economics. The analysis of economic data necessarily proceeds in an environment where there is uncertainty about the processes that generated the data. Statistical methods provide a framework for understanding and characterising this uncertainty. These concepts are most conveniently introduced through the analysis of single-variable problems. However, economists are most often concerned about relationships among variables. The module builds towards the study of regression analysis, which is often applied by economists in studying such relationships.

This module aims to:

  • introduce such fundamental statistical concepts as probability, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, point estimation, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing
  • introduce the ideas behind regression analysis through simple linear regression


Introductory Economics

Econometrics has been described as "’the point where economic theory confronts reality". Besides the comparison of economic theoretical predictions with actual outcomes, this analysis allows quantitative flesh to be put on theoretical bones. Since the subject is essentially data analytical, econometrics relies heavily on statistical methods. Of course the study of econometrics requires a firm basis in the fundamental principles of statistical methodology.

The purpose of this module is to introduce some of these principles, so that its subject matter is basic statistical inference rather than econometrics proper. That subject matter has been applied in many branches of the sciences, social sciences and humanities. Here we concentrate on statistical distribution theory and statistical inference in the first half of the course. The second half deals with the linear regression model, whose extensions will be analysed in detail in subsequent econometrics modules.

This module aims to:

  • provide a sound basis in statistical theory, appropriate to the subsequent study of econometrics
  • introduce the principles of regression analysis, on which much of the subsequent study of econometrics is based
  • induce familiarity with these basic concepts to ease the understanding of material in the second and third years of the course
Mathematical Economics

The module is intended to provide an introduction to mathematical techniques used in economics. In particular, examples of economic issues that can be analysed using mathematical models will be discussed in detail. Particular attention will be given to providing an intuitive understanding of the logic behind the formal results presented. Students who wish to pursue a higher degree in economics will find the module particularly useful.

This module aims to:

  • provide a rigorous grounding in certain mathematical tools and methods of argumentation used in microeconomic theory
  • develop a clear perception of the role of mathematical tools and logical methods in the construction of the formal theory of individual decision-making
  • develop the ability to analyse economic problems through rigorous applications of the formal theory of individual decision-making

Optional politics modules include:

British Political History Since 1945

This module will introduce and interrogate British political history since 1945. The module will take students through key issues and controversies in post-war British politics and as they relate to leaders and governments (in lectures) and key debates over controversies (in seminars). 

The module will explore a range of issues relating to:

  • economic policy
  • social policy and the welfare state
  • industrial relations
  • foreign and defence policy
  • Europe
  • local government and nuclear deterrence

Seminars will employ a range of activity-based scenarios to develop student understanding of key crises experienced by leaders and governments since 1945.  

This module aims to:

  • give students a broad general knowledge and understanding of specific crises and controversies in post-war and contemporary British politics
  • provide knowledge of the specific historical context(s) within which political actors and institutions in British politics have operated over the period since 1945  
Culture and Values in a Changing World

This module explores the shift from modern to postmodern values, looking at questions like levels of trust in democracies, religion and secularisation, and nationalism. While exploring these themes, students will learn the principles of research design and data analysis using Microsoft Excel. Using the World Values Survey and a questionnaire designed by students themselves, students will learn how to compare countries and assess the role of culture in politics.

The module aims to:

  • introduce students to the study of postmaterialist beliefs and values, assessing their relevance to politics and political systems
  • carry out supported independent research on a relevant topic, using both primary and secondary data
  • assess the extent of cultural differences and their level of impact on political development
Problems in Global Politics

This module explores some of the major problems that exist in contemporary global politics. It introduces students to a wide range of challenges faced by states and non-state actors in the international system and engages with topics ranging from security concerns to economic issues. The module draws on a wide range of ideas and examples from around the world to help students to better understand global politics.   

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to specific problems and questions that have arisen in the "global" arena
  • provide a firm foundation for further study on theoretical, comparative, or institutional studies
  • encourage students to engage critically with key questions such as what constitutes a "state"  
Understanding Global Politics

This module introduces global politics through the major theoretical, historical and empirical ways of seeing international relations. We consider how different approaches understand global politics, the role of different actors in global politics and different approaches to organising international relations. In particular, the module highlights the major issues of war and peace, and global poverty.  

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the major theoretical, historical, and empirical ways of seeing international relations
  • provide detailed instruction on the study of global politics through encouraging students to engage with key concepts and theoretical interpretations
  • deepen students' appreciation of these issues through studying six key thinkers in the field  

Typical year two modules

Core politics modules

Approaches to Politics and International Relations

The module introduces students to alternative theoretical approaches to the study of political phenomena.

We consider the different forms of analysing, explaining, and understanding politics associated with approaches such as:

  • behaviouralism
  • rational choice theory
  • institutionalism
  • Marxism
  • feminism
  • interpretive theory 
  • post-modernism

The module shows that the different approaches are based upon contrasting 'ontological' suppositions about the nature of politics, and they invoke alternative 'epistemological' assumptions about how we acquire valid knowledge of politics and international relations. 

We examine questions such as: 

  • what constitutes valid knowledge in political science and international relations? 
  • should political science methodology be the same as the methods employed in the natural sciences? 
  • can we give causal explanations of social and political phenomena? 
  • can we ever be objective in our analysis? 
  • what is the relationship between knowledge and power? 


How Voters Decide

Elections are the foundation of representative democracy. The act of voting creates a link between citizens' preferences and government policy. This means that the choices voters make have important consequences. But, how do voters make these choices? Are they based on the policies that parties promise to enact in the future, or is it more about the policy successes (or failures) that parties have experienced in the past? Does the party's leader make a difference? Can campaigns or the media's coverage change how voters see their electoral choices? Finally, given the importance of elections, why do many citizens choose to abstain from the process altogether?

How Voters Decide will explore the choices that citizens make when they participate in elections and it will provide students with the skills necessary to evaluate arguments about electoral behaviour in Britain and beyond.

The module seeks to provide students with the core conceptual tools, theoretical insights, and practical skills for analysing elections, voting behaviour, and public opinion. It is designed for those interested in careers in public opinion polling and survey research, campaign management, broadcasting and journalism, or policy analysis research, as well as those interested in elections and voting more generally.


Core economics modules 

Macroeconomic Theory

This module will address both the fundamental and applied aspects of macroeconomic theory. In particular, the module will focus on:

  • Introducing the modern theory of expectations and economic dynamics
  • Using this approach to think about short run fluctuations
  • Studying the role of macro policy on short run fluctuations

The module will review the so-called modern approach to aggregate demand and aggregate supply. This entails incorporating into the classical approach to aggregate supply and aggregate demand insights from Keynesian economics. This will serve as a base to discuss the role of macro-policy in controlling for fluctuations in output and employment. This module aims to:

  • introduce the students to the main issues and developments of modern macroeconomics.
Microeconomic Theory

Intermediate microeconomics including general equilibrium analysis, welfare economics, elementary game theory, and strategic behaviour of firms. This module aims to:

  • build upon the microeconomics you encountered in year one
  • develop analytical skills by employing standard diagrammatic analysis and reference to the underlying mathematical techniques

Optional politics modules include:

Civilisation and Barbarism

This module explores some of the major themes in the study of International Relations. Themes include:

  • power and order 
  • strategy
  • war
  • imperialism
  • emancipation
  • race
  • law
  • 'civilization'
  • barbarism
  • terrorism
  • torture
  • human rights

The course is distinctive in two respects:

  • First - the study of these themes each week takes its bearings from a significant text, and that text in its entirety
  • Second - the emphasis is on the interplay between the form and style of these texts and the ideas they contain

Students read all sorts of texts – novels, reportage, essays, a manifesto, a treatise, perhaps even a film – to investigate the political and ethical dimensions of the work. This module aims to:

  • familiarise students with modern international relations texts that have become building-blocks of the literature, the schools of thought they belong to and/or have given rise to, and key themes and debates in the field
Comparative European Politics

This module aims to provide students with a systematic introduction to current debates in the comparative analysis of European politics. 

The module adopts a thematic approach and focuses on traditional fields of comparative enquiry, such as:

  • the study of party systems and representation
  • elections and voting behaviour
  • party competition and government formation
  • executive-legislative relations

It also looks at emerging fields of interest, such as:

  • political participation
  • extreme right politics
  • immigration
  • political corruption
  • the political and social challenges of globalisation and European integration 

The diverse experiences of liberal democracy in European countries and the political and social changes that they have undergone are discussed thematically in the seminars. In the seminars, a country-expert system is used whereby students are assigned a particular country to cover. The module covers both long-established democracies in Western Europe and newer democracies in Central and Eastern Europe.  

Democracy and its Critics

Democracy is a contested concept and organising principle of politics both ancient and modern. Its appeal seems to be universal, yet it has always had its critics. 

This module investigates the nature of democratic principles, the arguments of democracy's opponents and the claims of those who say that contemporary life is inadequately democratised. A particular feature of the module is the use of primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates.  

This module aims to:

  • provide an ability to assess the core constitutive ideas of democracy in its many manifestations 
  • give an understanding of the case made against democracy by its various opponents 
  • give an understanding of the appeal of democracy, but also why its establishment can be problematic  
Global Security

This module explores issues in global security since the end of the Cold War. It focuses on security in a broad sense, from issues relating to the use of force by states, through to violence by non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, and on to the concept of human security. 

The module builds on the first year modules 'Understanding Global Politics' and 'Problems in Global Politics', challenging students to deepen their theoretical as well as empirical knowledge in international security. It is also a preparation for the research-led third year modules that require a much more developed capacity of analysing empirical developments from a range of different theoretical perspectives.  

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to different theoretical approaches in global security
  • facilitate an understanding of the empirical development of global security since the end of the Cold War
  • investigate the breadth of issues within the field of global security
  • prepare students theoretically for advanced Level 3 modules in IR  
Political Parties and Party Systems around the Globe

This course will offer an overview of political party development and the functioning of party systems in democratic states around the world, with a special focus on post-transitional democracies in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. Applying a variety of analytical concepts, theoretical approaches and empirical indicators to the study of party politics, the course will highlight the institutional and sociological determinants of party organisation development and system stability as well as the consequences of party failure and party system collapse.

The module aims to:

  • introduce students to the major features of party system development and party organisation
  • introduce students to themes, debates and issues in the study of party politics in new democracies
  • develop students' understanding of theoretical and empirical indicators applying them to the study of party politics
Social and Global Justice

'Justice' has been one of the key themes of political theory at least from the time of Plato, as questions of who gets what, when, and why are absolutely central to political discourse. Recently, questions of distributive and social justice have taken on a global dimension. Does the developed world have obligations to distant others, and do they have rights against it? 

This module will look at these questions from a contemporary perspective, looking at ideas about justice from thinkers such as the utilitarians, John Rawls, Thomas Pogge, Susan Moller Okin, and Bhikhu Parekh. 

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to core concepts in political philosophy/history of political thought, especially the concepts of justice and equality
  • encourage students to think analytically about the meaning of these concepts and the extent to which it depends upon historical circumstances
  • encourage students to think about the practical application of these concepts to contemporary social and political problems  

Optional economics modules include:

Environmental and Resource Economics

This modules will look at the following:

  • Principles of environmental policy: Efficiency and sustainability
  • Market failure and the need for environmental policy; the Coase theorem
  • Instruments of environmental policy: efficiency advantages of market instruments; applications of market instruments, especially the EU Emission Trading Scheme
  • Valuation of the benefits of environmental policy
  • Biodiversity and its benefits
  • International trade in polluting goods
  • Mobile capital: Race to the bottom?

The modules aims to look at environmental issues from an economic perspective and provide an overview of the economic tools that are used to address environmental problems.

Experimental and Behavioural Economics

This module provides a foundation in behavioural economics and the role of experimental methods in economics. The traditional approach in economics is to explain market outcomes and economic decision-making using simple theoretical models based on perfectly rational, self-interested agents who maximise their well-being by carefully weighing up the costs and benefits of different alternatives. Behavioural economics, on the other hand, aspires to relax these stringent assumptions and develop an understanding of how real people actually make decisions. The module will introduce students to behavioural and experimental economics, discuss these fields from a methodological perspective and examine several areas of economic analysis in which they are applied. This will include individual choice under risk and uncertainty, decision-making in strategic situations and competition in markets.

The module aims to:

  • engender thinking about economics as an empirical science and what that entails
  • introduce students to attempts to relax conventional assumptions such as unlimited rationality and own-payoff maximisation
  • provide a foundation knowledge relating to the design and implementation of appropriate experimental tests of economic theories
  • engender presentation and communications skills
International Trade

This module is an introduction to international trade theory and policy. It covers the core trade theories under perfect and imperfect competition and applies them to understanding the pattern of trade, gains from trade and modern topics like foreign outsourcing. On the policy side, it examines the effects of different government trade policy instruments and the role of international trade agreements.

This module aims to:

  • provide an introduction to core theories of international trade
  • see how these theories help us think about the pattern of trade and welfare gains from international trade
  • evaluate the effects of government policies like tariffs, quotas and export subsidies
Public Sector Economics

his module looks at Public finances in the UK, Market Failures, Fundamental Theorems of Welfare Economics, Social Welfare Functions, Externalities, Public Goods, Natural Monopolies, Public Choice, Social Insurance: Social Security, Taxation and Equity, Excess Burden of Taxation and Tax Incidence.

The module aims to:

  • introduce students to the basic conceptual vocabulary of the economic analysis of public sector economics
  • lay the foundations necessary for an understanding of those Third Year courses drawing on such a conceptual framework
  • stimulate an interest in public sector issues
  • inform students of the current agenda of public sector analysis
  • instruct in the basic analytic techniques, thereby enabling students to make informed policy judgements in the field

Typical year three modules

Typical politics modules

Airpower and Modern Warfare

Today, war without airpower is an unlikely prospect and major military operations, as a rule, are launched with overwhelming air attacks. 

In recent years, the utility of 'strategic' airpower has increasingly come under question. Whilst technological innovation continues to strengthen airpower's capabilities, the relevance of these capabilities in contemporary conflicts cannot be taken for granted. 

This module critically assesses the role of air power in modern conflict within the broader framework of strategic and security studies. It will assess the evolution of air power theory since the First World War and examine the limits of its practical application with reference to specific air campaigns. 

Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of air power in the post-Cold War security environment, for example, in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaigns. 

This module aims to:

  • develop a comprehensive understanding of developments in airpower strategy and its role in warfare from the First World War until today
  • demonstrate the ability to relate the role and uses of airpower to relevant theoretical debates in contemporary strategic and security studies 
  • critically engage with the literature on airpower   
American Politics

This course will offer an overview of the main political institutions and the behaviour of political actors in the United States, applying a variety of analytic concepts and empirical tools to the study of American politics. It will in particular focus on rational choice theories of voters and politicians' behaviours addressing the incentives and constraints faced by politicians when choosing public policies. By employing theoretical and empirical tools to study public decision making at the federal and state level, the course will highlight the impact of different institutional arrangements on electoral accountability and policies in the United States.

The module aims to:

  • introduce students to the major features of US political institutions
  • introduce students to themes, debates and issues in the study of American Politics
  • develop students' understanding of theoretical and empirical tools applying them to the study of American Politics
This module enables students to undertake a sustained piece of research and analysis into a subject within the discipline of politics and international relations. 
Gender and Development

This module examines major themes, debates and issues in the field of Gender and Development. We will focus on the relationship between ideas and concerns of gender (in)equality and processes, policies, and practices of economic, social and political development. We will explore the key literature and major debates in the field of feminist political economy, linking academic, policy-related and practitioner/activist debates. We will cover theoretical and conceptual frameworks as well as key contemporary issues explored through thematic and sector/policy case studies. We will explore how political, economic and social processes of globalisation and development intersect, impact, and are in turn influenced by gender relations in the South.

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the major themes, debates and issues in the field of Gender and Development
  • develop an integrated understanding of the links between academic, policy-related and practitioner/activist debates in the field of Gender and Development
  • develop students' understanding and critical awareness of how political, economic and social processes of globalisation and development intersect, impact, and are in turn influenced by gender relations in the South
Immigration and Citizenship

This module will introduce students to the current issues around migration. They will learn to differentiate between different types of immigration such as asylum, labour, family, and irregular as well as different aspects, such as integration and citizenship. The module will identify and analyse political responses to immigration at both national and supranational levels.  

The module aims to :

  • introduce students to current issues of immigration
  • enable students to develop differentiated analysis of such concepts as asylum, integration and citizenship
  • identify and analyse the political responses to immigration at both national and supranational levels
Intervention in Africa

This module analyses political, economic, cultural and especially military intervention in Africa. It focuses on the role of external actors such as International Organisations, regional organisations, and NGOs, with a special emphasis on the role of France, the UK and the European Union. We will examine theories, concepts and case studies to explain the nature of contemporary intervention.

This module aims to:

  • promote a critical engagement with material in the International Relations and European Foreign Policy field
  • provide an insight into the link between theory and practice of intervention
  • provide an understanding of why and how European governments respond to Africa issues
  • provide a basis for further study or careers in government, international organisations, media and the military
Politics and Drugs

This module studies the implications of the growing abuse of narcotics for the political system from both a national and international perspective. It will examine the production, consumption and trade in drugs as an international problem. 

The development of and issues associated with contemporary British drug policy will be explored and the theoretical questions raised by drug control policy will be examined.  

This module aims to:

  • consider the extent of the contemporary drug problem and its implications for national and international politics
  • examine the nature of national and international policies to combat illicit drug use 
  • explore the political issues surrounding prohibition
  • undertake a critical evaluation of UK and international drug policy
Politics of East Asia

This module affords an understanding of the linkage between international and domestic politics in East Asia. The module is divided into three parts:

  • The first part offers conceptual and historical perspectives that enable one to analyse how international and domestic politics relate to each other.
  • The second part focuses on China and Japan, and examines their domestic transformation and foreign policy development in the post-cold war period. 
  • The third part focuses on key issues of the region, and examines how those issues affect domestic transformation of East Asian states, and in turn, how the domestic transformation affects those issues. 

This module aims to:

  • enable students to identify and discuss conceptual and historical perspectives found in the literature on the politics of East Asia
  • explore ways to analyse the links between global and domestic politics in East Asia and how they relate to the conceptual and historical perspectives in the literature
  • develop a framework of enquiry within which students can construct subject-related knowledge and relevant research skills 
The Politics of Ethnic Conflict

Questions relating to nationalism and ethnic conflict have become more prominent in political debate since the end of the Cold War, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated the continuing importance of constitutional crafting as a means to manage ethnic diversity within states. This module evaluates differing definitions of the 'nation' and 'ethnic group', examines different state strategies to manage diversity such as multiculturalism, assimilation and integration, and considers different explanations of conflict between different ethnic groups. 

It then examines in more detail strategies adopted by particular states to manage their diversity. The countries of India, America, France, Afghanistan, the UK, and Germany are focused upon, but students are encouraged to use material relating to other countries if they have particular knowledge of these cases.  

This module aims to:

  • offer a critical overview of a range of approaches to understanding concepts of nationalism and ethnicity
  • introduce students to the different strategies of ethnic conflict regulation
  • offer students the opportunity to assess critically how these strategies are applied in various states
  • encourage students to consider the comparative implications of the strategies discussed 
The Rights and Wrongs of Climate Change

What should the world do about climate change? How should we proceed in the face of persistent claims that it won't do serious harm, or isn't occurring at all? 

Should poor countries as well as rich ones be obliged to cut their carbon emissions? Is it wrong for individuals to fly? What if you offset your flight? How much weight should we accord harm that may come many years in the future? 

Arguments about climate change raise many of the most controversial issues in contemporary ethics and political theory. This module will examine these debates and the broader questions they hinge on. This module aims to:

  • familiarise students with some of the key debates surrounding climate change
  • expand students' knowledge of moral philosophy, political theory and environmental ethics 

Typical economics modules

Advanced Macroeconomics

Part I

  1. Introduction: adaptive expectations vs. rational expectations
  2. Single-equation, forward-looking linear rational expectations models
  3. Dual-equation, forward-looking linear rational expectations models and saddle-path dynamics
  4. Deficits, inflation and hyperinflation: the nonlinear seigniorage model
  5. The Lucas island model
  6. The Lucas critique of econometric policy evaluation

Part II

  1. Dynamic general equilibrium models
  2. Growth in dynamic general equilibrium
  3. Real Business Cycles (RBC) 

This module follows important developments in Macroeconomics over the last 30 years. The main objective is to provide a broad overview of the field at an advanced level.

Advanced Public Economics I

The module will introduce some major themes of public economics, using microeconomic tools to analyse public policy. The equity and efficiency implications of policies will be examined within an economic framework.

The first part of this module aims to introduce students to some of the important concepts and techniques required to identify the limits of what markets can achieve, and to evaluate the potential for benevolent government intervention to achieve better outcomes.

The second part questions some fundamental assumptions of the previous part:

  • the government’s benevolence (what about voting?)
  • economic efficiency as the sole government's objective (what about inequality and poverty?)
  • the effectiveness of government's policy instruments (what about tax evasion?)
Advanced Development Economics

Adopts a broad focus on factors influencing growth and development. Topics covered include: macroeconomic policies, aid, debt, trade; growth experiences in East Asia, China and Africa.

The specific aims to this module are to:

  • introduce some of the main economic issues facing developing countries
  • provide students with appropriate theoretical tools to analyse and understand these issues
  • provide students with guidance as to sources of empirical analysis and evidence, which they can follow up via the reading list and in work for tutorials
  • introduce key policy issues relating to the topics discussed
  • more generally, to illustrate the application of relevant economic theory and analysis to real economic issues
Advanced Financial Economics

This module examines issues related to the impact of financial frictions on the financial system and the economy. Potential topics include:

  • the effects of financial constraints on the ability of firms to raise funds from different sources
  • the impact of financial constraints on consumer credit
  • the role of financial intermediaries

The module will also examine the transmission of shocks from the financial system to the macroeconomy and discuss relevant policies.

The primary aims of the module are to:

  • analyse the role of financial markets in the presence of frictions
  • examine the implications of financial frictions for corporate and consumer finance
  • examine the impact of financial shocks on the economy
International Trade Policy

This module looks at:

  • Trade policy: theory and evidence
  • Trade policy and imperfect competition
  • Trade and distortions
  • The political economy of protection
  • Trade policy reform

This module aims to:

  • provide a coherent theoretical framework that will give students a firm basis for the analysis of trade policy issues under competitive and uncompetitive conditions
  • show how that framework can be used to analyse and empirically estimate the costs and effects of trade policies
  • provide the basis for the further study of trade policy issues in the semester two modules on the Economics of International Trade and International Trade Policy and the European Community
Health Economics

This module will cover the following:

  • introduction to health and health economics
  • healthcare as a commodity (Grossman model, market complications, such as rationality, externalities, uncertainty)
  • implications of health and healthcare demand (prices, insurance, supply-induced demand, consumer protection)
  • health behaviour (illness prevention, such as tobacco smoking, vaccination, cancer screening), economic aspects of the UK National Health Service (excess demand, efficiency, equity)
  • healthcare supply (factor substitution, economies of scale, technology diffusion)
  • international aspects of healthcare

The module aims to:

  • explore the behavioural theories relevant to the analysis of health and healthcare
  • analyse the implications of alternative methods of healthcare delivery
  • demonstrate how economic analysis can inform and appraise decisions on health policy
Advanced Monetary Economics

This module will provide an outline of the elements of monetary theory and of theoretical policy issues. The module will begin with the nature of a monetary economy and will examine the characteristics of a classical monetary model. We will then consider the modifications offered by the Walrasians, Keynesians and the Monetarist, and the treatment of money as a financial asset in a liquidity spectrum will be covered in the lectures on portfolio theory. A guest lecture by a senior staff member from the Bank of England will explain how monetary policy is implemented each month by the monetary policy committee.

This module aims to:

  • convey all the basic rudiments of monetary economics

The objectives will be to cover each element of monetary economics in self-contained modules of lectures.

Advanced Microeconomics

The module will cover topics in advanced microeconomics and decision theory. 

This module aims to develop students' understanding of microeconomic theory with particular emphasis on showing the role information plays in markets. The material allows students to build on their prior learning in microeconomics.

Advanced Econometric Theory

This module generalises and builds upon the econometric techniques applied to the multivariate linear regression model covered in the year two module, Econometrics I. This will involve introducing a number of new statistical and econometric concepts. In particular we study large sample, or asymptotic, theory. This is needed in order to obtain tractable results about the behaviour of estimators when the standard modelling assumptions - which frequently cannot be verified in practice - are relaxed. We also extend the analysis from a single equation model to simultaneous equation models.

There are three specific aims for this module are to:

  • provide the necessary statistical techniques needed to conduct asymptotic econometric theory
  • develop the analytical skills required to demonstrate theoretical asymptotic properties of different econometric estimation and testing procedures under weakened modelling assumptions
  • provide a proper understanding of the applicability and limitations of asymptotic theory in econometric analysis
Advanced Labour Economics

The module covers an economic analysis of the labour market, with an emphasis on policy implications and institutional arrangements.

The module examines some current issues in labour economics paying particular attention to worker compensation schemes, and the effect different compensation packages have on firm productivity and profits.

The module focuses on the UK labour market, and includes both a theoretical and empirical content throughout. 

Advanced International Trade Theory
  • Models of intra-industry trade
  • Trade policy in oligopolistic industries
  • Mathematical enterprises
  • Testing trade theories
  • The WTO and "new issues"

This module aims to:

  • provide a coherent theoretical framework that will give students a firm basis for the analysis of policy issues in the area of trade in imperfectly competitive markets
  • discuss how alternative trade theories might be distinguished empirically
  • identify and analyse changes in the nature and scale of protection in both developed and developing countries and to discuss the likely impacts of international agreements on trade and related policies
International Money and Macroeconomy

This module will provide an introduction to international monetary issues, including the determination of exchange rates, the functioning of the international monetary system, and international macroeconomic policy co-ordination. The first part of the module deals with fixed exchange rates, explaining the consequences of a fixed parity for monetary, fiscal and external policy. The second part deals with floating exchange rates and the market forces, which arbitrage away differentials in goods and asset prices across international borders.

This module aims to:

  • provide an introduction to the international monetary economics

The objectives include an understanding of the exchange rate markets, exchange rate policy, balance of payments and international monetary arrangements.

Industrial Organisation

This module provides an advanced economic analysis of the theory of organisation of firms and industries. It will analyse a variety of market structures related to the degree of market competition with a special emphasis on imperfectly competitive markets. It will also analyse issues related to the internal organisation of firms.

The specific aims of the module are to:

  • provide a detailed understanding of alternative theories of market structure
  • provide a rigorous analysis of issues related to the internal organisation of firms 
Advanced Experimental and Behavioural Economics

The module complements the existing second year module Experimental Economics I. Its objective is to provide a broader review of the emerging discipline of experimental economics. 

The aims of the module are to:

  • develop understanding of principles of experimental design in experimental economics
  • provide a wide-ranging review of the types of experiment that can be undertaken in economics and to enable students to assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • acquaint students with the central findings of the experimental research programmes considered and to encourage consideration of their implications for economics
Political Economy

The module will cover the following:

  • Foundations: the rational political individual?
  • Collective action
  • The Rational Society?
  • Core: The economic approach to voters, parties and bureaucracies
  • Core: The politics of markets and government intervention
  • Political economy in action

The module will close with a discussion of two to three contemporary problems in applied political economy.

Specific module aims are to:

  • acquaint students with the modern literature in theoretical and applied political economy
  • provide an opportunity for interdisciplinary study within the economics degree
  • promote understanding of what economic techniques have to offer political science
  • enrich students' study of economics with insights from political science and political philosophy
Advanced Mathematical Economics

The module is intended to provide an introduction to mathematical techniques used in economics. In particular, examples of economic issues that can be analysed using mathematical models will be discussed in detail. Particular attention will be given to providing an intuitive understanding of the logic behind the formal results presented. Students who wish to pursue a higher degree in economics will find the module particularly useful.

There are three main aims for this module and they are to:

  • provide a rigorous grounding in certain mathematical tools and methods of argumentation used in microeconomic theory
  • develop a clear perception of the role of mathematical tools and logical methods in the construction of the formal theory of individual decision-making
  • inculcate the ability to analyse economic problems through rigorous applications of the formal theory of individual decision-making
Topics in Econometrics

This module seeks to illustrate the application of econometric techniques to the modelling and analysis of a series of economic problems, applying econometric modelling methods acquired in earlier econometrics modules. This module aims to:

  • introduce a range of state-of-the-art techniques used in modern time series econometric modelling and analysis, including an understanding of how these techniques relate to and are motivated by stylised features of economic data
  • provide an appreciation and understanding of the possible pitfalls associated with and opportunities provided by time series econometric modelling
Advanced Time Series Econometrics

This module is a continuation of the module on time series analysis taken in the second semester of the second year. While the earlier module was devoted to basic time series model building methodology, applicable over a broad range of disciplines, the present module concentrates on those developments which can be applied in the subject of Economics. In particular, the emphasis will be on aspects of the behaviour of typical economic time series, and the implications of that behaviour in practical analysis, such as the construction of models linking economic time series.

This module aims to:

  • introduce the concept of unit autoregressive roots, and the consequences of that concept for the analysis of economic time series - in particular, the importance of co-integration analysis and error-correction models
  • introduce other time series - analytic concepts and tools that have found applicability in economics
Advanced Environmental and Resource Economics

This module covers the following:

  • Principles of resource policy: efficiency and sustainability
  • The depletion of non-renewable natural resources: resource use under social optimum and in imperfectly competitive markets
  • Renewable resources: the economics of fisheries and forestry
  • Climate change and intertemporal efficiency
  • Energy markets and policy: the economics of electricity markets, market power, renewable energy

The module aims to look at natural resource use from an economic perspective and provide an overview of the economic tools that are used to address resource management and energy policy issues.

Numerical Methods

This module covers the following:

Static numerical methods

  • Numerical solution methods
  • Numerical static optimisation methods
  • Applications: resource allocation, computable general equilibrium

Dynamic numerical optimization

  • Discrete dynamic programming
  • Implementation of the methods
  • Applications: optimal growth, rational expectations, asset management

Agent-based economic modelling

  • Foundations of agent-based modelling
  • Basics of computer programming
  • Applications: evolutionary games, markets   

The specific aims of the module are to:

  • provide a detailed understanding of numerical methods used in economics
  • develop an understanding of how the discussed methods can be applied to various economic problems

Listen to our lecturers talking about some of the modules on offer in our virtual module fair.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.


Study abroad

The University of Nottingham has one of the biggest and most diverse study abroad programmes in the UK, and those who have studied abroad often say that it was the highlight of their time as a student.

On this course, you can apply to spend part of your second year at the University's campuses in China or Malaysia or take a semester or a full year at one of our international partner universities in locations such as Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico and the USA. You'll get the opportunity to broaden your horizons and enhance your employability by experiencing another culture and will study similar modules to your counterparts back in Nottingham (teaching is in English).

Find out more.



At Nottingham you will acquire a strong academic foundation and a range of excellent transferable skills, such as the ability to study independently and communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. You will leave us with specialist knowledge of international issues and political systems that will enhance your global career prospects. You will also have the capacity to grasp complicated economic concepts, whether they are mathematical or philosophical in nature.

Our graduates develop careers across the private, public and charitable sectors. Private sector destinations include print and television journalism, broadcasting, television and film production, advertising, marketing and personnel as well as the commercial and financial sectors. Some go into party politics as parliamentary assistants, councillors in local government and even MPs; others work for the civil service and in research and data analysis.

Third-sector careers include working for non-governmental organisations, charities and development agencies. Some graduates opt for further study or take vocational qualifications in postgraduate law or teaching.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 95% of first-degree graduates in the School of Politics and International Relations who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,728 with the highest being £35,000.*

In 2015, 93% of first-degree graduates in the School of Economics who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £29,505 with the highest being £65,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home first degree undergraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. For the last three years Nottingham has been one of the two most targeted universities in the country by employers.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


There is assessment associated with this programme that is not attached to a specific module. During first year students complete two assessed, non credit bearing courses on Writing Economics and Careers and Employability for Economists. Writing Economics help students adapt to university study, as well as providing information and support for effective study.  

Careers & Employability for Economists allows reflection on personal development and implications on students' future careers. It will include workshops on work experience, interviews and job application in sessions led by leading employers, graduates and the Careers Service. 

How to use the data


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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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