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Economics (BCom and BBusSc)

The School of Economics at UCT is one of the largestdepartments in the University offering tuition to more than 3500 undergraduatestudents and approximately 100 postgraduate students. At UCT, as atuniversities all over the world, enrolments in economics classes are growingmore rapidly than in any other discipline. This is not surprising. There existsever broadening scope for students who have specialised, or majored, ineconomics during their studies who wish to pursue a career in the field.

Why Take a Programme with a Strong Economics Component?

Economics is the study of Economic life. It asks what, how and why goods are produced, and who benefits. Economics covers micro subjectslike the economics of the firm (profit maximisation etc) and macro issues likeunemployment, inflation and economic growth. All of UCT s Economics programmesrequire that you do core micro- and macro- courses in first, second and thirdyear. Other economics courses (some optional, some compulsory depending on theprogramme) include International Trade, Labour and Development Economics,Public Sector Economics and Resource Economics

The more economics you do, the more you will understandeconomic policy dilemmas, the complexities of the economic growth crises, etc.You will, in other words, be able to talk much more sensibly about economicissues than you would if you just took core economics subjects. Having this skill will enrich your business life (and certainly make you appear more intelligent in an interview!). It will also improve your attractiveness to manyemployers. Graduates who can think clearly and logically about the broadereconomic environment have a lot to offer potential employers especially thosein asset-management, stock broking, merchant banking, investment guidance andmanagement consulting. Most jobs in business require further training, and abackground in economics is usually a good signal to employers that you arecapable of analytical thinking and are worth training further.

Philosophy, Politics & Economics

The PPE is the Schools mainstream undergraduate economicsprogramme, offering students the full range of the disciplines areas andapproaches, with a range of carefully chosen related subjects. The UCT PPEdegree places a unique focus on the special economic, political and ethicalaspects of private sector and public sector policy formation in the age ofaccelerating commercial and information globalisation. PPE seeks to preparecitizens of the world, with skills applicable to a broad range of challenging careers.

The PPE degree is designed to open a variety of careeropportunities. Students who are interested in formulating economic policy,taking account of the implication of such policies for the political and ethical governance of the world, will find the PPE programme the ideal field of study for South Africa. Graduates will obtain an excellent first degree, which,especially if combined with postgraduate studies in Economics or relatedfields, will be a sound foundation for a career in policy making in the publicand private sector. It is also an ideal beginning for a student who aspires toa career as an international trade diplomat or private/ public sector tradepolicy analyst.

Economics & Finance

The Economics and Finance programme combines a full major inEconomics with courses in financial options and management that togetherprovide students with the skills needed to understand and operate in the worldof finance. Students interested in careers in investment banking, assetmanagement, equity consulting and other areas of finance that required bothtechnical expertise and a critical understanding of economic forecasting willfind this an ideal first degree.

Economics & Statistics

The Economics and Statistics programme combines full majorsin both Economics and Statistics. It provides a highly distinctive first degreefor students interested in careers as economic forecasters and econometricians(the name of the profession that measures such crucial concepts of dailyattention and importance as GDP, the inflation rate, the national savings rate,etc.) A student who completes this programme thereby sends an unusually strongand convincing signal to the market that he or she has strong technicalaptitude and confidence, attributes of which the employment market is alwaysshort.

Economics & Law

The Economics and Law programme is intended only for students who are interested in a law career with a commercial background or who wish to continue with an LLB degree.

Frequently Asked Questions

How, where and when do I register as a professionaleconomist?

Economists do not have to register with a professional bodyor write a qualifying exam before they can work as economists. In fact, veryfew economics graduates will ever be appointed in positions carrying the jobdescription of Economist.

Economics is offered in three faculties, and in this Facultyin four different programmes. How do I know which programme is right for me?

The answer depends to a large extent on the career that youhope to follow. While you can easily switch between economics programmes duringthe first two years, each programme takes a different focus in year three.Consult a student advisor and study the programme content carefully to help youdecide which is best for you.

What are the possibilities for further study at postgraduate level?

Graduates from all economics programmes will be eligible toapply for Honours level (and beyond) study in economics at UCT or abroad. Theschool of Economics also offers a Masters by dissertation and coursework andPh.D. degrees.

Graduates with a PPE degree will also be eligible for postgraduate study in Political Science, Public Administration, Philosophy,Mathematics, Accounting or Finance, depending on the students choice of second major. A graduate of the Economics and Finance programme will also be eligiblefor postgraduate study in Finance, and a graduate of the Economics andStatistics programme will be eligible for postgraduate studies in Statistics.UCT s Economic degrees carry full international recognition because of their carefully designed content, which make them complementary with all similar programmes abroad.

Visit the Department of Economics' Website.