Why aren't economics degrees respected? Watch

confuzzledteen
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I come from a family of medicine, engineering & accountancy degrees. Whenever I speak to an aunt/uncle, and they ask me what I'm planning to pursue at university, they seem to purse their lips & look slightly disapproving when I say "economics." Why is this? It kinda sucks, because I feel as if I'm being looked down on. Like surely it can't be the salary, because the median engineer salary is $80k, accounts make a median salary of about $70k whilst economists have a median salary of $105k. People also think that economics is an easy degree - I even had a cousin refer to it as an "artsy subject." Why do you think this is?
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londonmyst
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Economics degrees are generally respected.
It sounds like your family members just prefer degrees in medicine, engineering & accountancy and have chosen to close their minds about other degrees.
Don't let their opinions dictate your academic choices and future career decisions.
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Tolgarda
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What londonmyst said. I think this is less to do with the populace's general perception of the degree's worth and more to do with your family's perception.

On that note, I personally believe that they felt that it was some sort of esteemed family tradition and that you were, in their minds, supposed to be studying one of the aforementioned degrees. But you know what? Sod it. No tradition should dictate your academic future. I've fallen into that trap before, and the path made by others for you doesn't really get any better once you go down it, regardless of the creators' intentions.

In the end, you should find yourself in a good place, especially with your economics degree!
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Reality Check
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(Original post by confuzzledteen)
I come from a family of medicine, engineering & accountancy degrees. Whenever I speak to an aunt/uncle, and they ask me what I'm planning to pursue at university, they seem to purse their lips & look slightly disapproving when I say "economics." Why is this? It kinda sucks, because I feel as if I'm being looked down on. Like surely it can't be the salary, because the median engineer salary is $80k, accounts make a median salary of about $70k whilst economists have a median salary of $105k. People also think that economics is an easy degree - I even had a cousin refer to it as an "artsy subject." Why do you think this is?
We don't have the dollar as a currency in the UK. We have our own currency with its own symbol: £. Are you comparing the right things?
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gjd800
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I'm grateful to come from a family of brickies and bus drivers. Nobody ever second guessed my educational choices, they thought whatever I did was boss
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Reality Check
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(Original post by gjd800)
I'm grateful to come from a family of brickies and bus drivers. Nobody ever second guessed my educational choices, they thought whatever I did was boss
PRSOM.
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User135792468
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(Original post by confuzzledteen)
I come from a family of medicine, engineering & accountancy degrees. Whenever I speak to an aunt/uncle, and they ask me what I'm planning to pursue at university, they seem to purse their lips & look slightly disapproving when I say "economics." Why is this? It kinda sucks, because I feel as if I'm being looked down on. Like surely it can't be the salary, because the median engineer salary is $80k, accounts make a median salary of about $70k whilst economists have a median salary of $105k. People also think that economics is an easy degree - I even had a cousin refer to it as an "artsy subject." Why do you think this is?
Economics degree is definitely easier than say biology, physics, chemistry and medicine at university. I’d say an economics degree is level with accountancy but engineering is much harder.

At the end money doesn’t matter too much. As long as you have a basic £35-40k a year then who cares about extra money? Just focus on what you find interesting. Money isn’t everything
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gjd800
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(Original post by Celal2001)
Economics degree is definitely easier than say biology, physics, chemistry and medicine at university. I’d say an economics degree is level with accountancy but engineering is much harder.
What are you basing this on? Have you done all these things at university?
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Oxford Mum
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I know two students at Cambridge, one who is studying medicine and one who is studying economics. The medic claims that the economics course looks a lot harder

Plus economics is a good route to prestigious investment banking jobs, but enjoyment of the course, not salary should be the main consideration.

The economics courses at Oxbridge are very highly regarded and are very hard to get into
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User135792468
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(Original post by gjd800)
What are you basing this on? Have you done all these things at university?
I’m basing this on the fact that STEM subjects require far more contact hours than any other degrees. The fact that STEM students have far more contact hours shows that they need to learn more content and hence it is harder than an economics degree
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Celal2001)
I’m basing this on the fact that STEM subjects require far more contact hours than any other degrees. The fact that STEM students have far more contact hours shows that they need to learn more content and hence it is harder than an economics degree
Just because there are more contact hours, it does not mean STEM subjects are harder. STEM and economics degrees are both hard in their own way.
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Acsel
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(Original post by Celal2001)
I’m basing this on the fact that STEM subjects require far more contact hours than any other degrees. The fact that STEM students have far more contact hours shows that they need to learn more content and hence it is harder than an economics degree
I'm a final year STEM student. I currently have 6 contact hours a week, and never had more than 12. The idea that STEM subjects always have more contact hours isn't accurate.

Additionally the quantity of the content isn't the only indicator of difficulty, nor is it always truly representative. More hours does not imply more content, it may imply concepts that take longer to teach, or are more difficult to grasp. Difficulty is better defined by a number of other things. Specifically the type of content being taught and the type of student studying that content. I'm sure plenty of Oxbridge STEM students would look at non-STEM courses from lower ranked unis and struggle, particularly creative courses where there's no right answer. And plenty of non-STEM students look at STEM and think it's confusing because it's so "mathsy and sciency". Difficulty is not always an objective thing.

Be careful when making wide sweeping statements.
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Quick-use
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(Original post by Celal2001)
I’m basing this on the fact that STEM subjects require far more contact hours than any other degrees. The fact that STEM students have far more contact hours shows that they need to learn more content and hence it is harder than an economics degree
As with other Humanities degrees, I imagine a degree in Classics would have much less contact hours than STEM courses. But, could you ever argue that studying and reading classical texts in Ancient Greek and Latin would be an easy task? Not in the slightest.

Ergo, contact hours don't correspond to the difficulty of a degree.
Last edited by Quick-use; 4 weeks ago
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Zoqua
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(Original post by Celal2001)
Economics degree is definitely easier than say biology, physics, chemistry and medicine at university. I’d say an economics degree is level with accountancy but engineering is much harder.

At the end money doesn’t matter too much. As long as you have a basic £35-40k a year then who cares about extra money? Just focus on what you find interesting. Money isn’t everything
As someone planning on doing Economics, I very much disagree with the later part. An Economics degree is more lucrative than any of the pure science degrees, and about on the same level with engineering and medicine. Why do you think I've chosen Economics over Physics or Maths? I like and am very good at either subjects, but they aren't as enjoyable and generally earn less (I'm talking about the pure degrees Maths or Physics not Engineering). Money is quite important by the way, I wouldn't be doing Economics if I didn't think I could make money out of it as well as pursuing a subject I like.

(Original post by confuzzledteen)
I come from a family of medicine, engineering & accountancy degrees. Whenever I speak to an aunt/uncle, and they ask me what I'm planning to pursue at university, they seem to purse their lips & look slightly disapproving when I say "economics." Why is this? It kinda sucks, because I feel as if I'm being looked down on. Like surely it can't be the salary, because the median engineer salary is $80k, accounts make a median salary of about $70k whilst economists have a median salary of $105k. People also think that economics is an easy degree - I even had a cousin refer to it as an "artsy subject." Why do you think this is?
I also want to do Economics, and come from a family of people who did Maths, Engineering and Medicine, however they don't seem to care at all. You are right, an Economics degree usually earns more than Engineering and Accounting, and as Oxford Mum said, it leads to highly prestigious jobs like Investment banking (probably what I wish to do), so if I were you I'd just go ahead. Where do you want to go? I'm thinking of one of Oxford or Cambridge, or Warwick or LSE. Good luck in advance
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User135792468
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Just because there are more contact hours, it does not mean STEM subjects are harder. STEM and economics degrees are both hard in their own way.
For me:

More contact hours= More content
More content= More memorisation
More memorisation= More difficult degree

I’m not saying an economics degree is easy but it is probably much easier than STEM subjects. Subjects like biology have complex cycles, processes and nitty gritty detail you have to remember whereas economics is mainly about assessing the flows of capital, different graphs and mathematical methods
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User135792468
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(Original post by Acsel)
I'm a final year STEM student. I currently have 6 contact hours a week, and never had more than 12. The idea that STEM subjects always have more contact hours isn't accurate.

Additionally the quantity of the content isn't the only indicator of difficulty, nor is it always truly representative. More hours does not imply more content, it may imply concepts that take longer to teach, or are more difficult to grasp. Difficulty is better defined by a number of other things. Specifically the type of content being taught and the type of student studying that content. I'm sure plenty of Oxbridge STEM students would look at non-STEM courses from lower ranked unis and struggle, particularly creative courses where there's no right answer. And plenty of non-STEM students look at STEM and think it's confusing because it's so "mathsy and sciency". Difficulty is not always an objective thing.

Be careful when making wide sweeping statements.
What do you study? How do you only have 6 contact hours? Most STEM courses are 9-5
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Celal2001)
For me:

More contact hours= More content
More content= More memorisation
More memorisation= More difficult degree

I’m not saying an economics degree is easy but it is probably much easier than STEM subjects. Subjects like biology have complex cycles, processes and nitty gritty detail you have to remember whereas economics is mainly about assessing the flows of capital, different graphs and mathematical methods
Medicine means a lot of fact learning.
Economics - you have to interpret your findings.

Believe me, economics is not a noddy degree and you have to be really good at maths for the Cambridge course, on top of everything else.
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User135792468
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(Original post by Quick-use)
As with other Humanities degrees, I imagine a degree in Classics would have much less contact hours than STEM courses. But, could you ever argue that studying and reading classical texts in Ancient Greek and Latin would be an easy task? Not in the slightest.

Ergo, contact hours don't correspond to the difficulty of a degree.
Would you not say learning a European language is easier than learning biology? I mean English has Latin and Greek roots. Most words can be deduced
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Joinedup
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(Original post by Celal2001)
Would you not say learning a European language is easier than learning biology? I mean English has Latin and Greek roots. Most words can be deduced
At uni it's not just going to be about knowing (or being able to deduce) the meaning of a lot of foreign words... at least that's not what I presume the language students are getting up to.
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Quick-use
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(Original post by Celal2001)
Would you not say learning a European language is easier than learning biology? I mean English has Latin and Greek roots. Most words can be deduced
Are you suggesting that Ancient Greek or Latin would be easy to learn because you know English...? :confused:

Have you ever studied Ancient Greek or Latin at degree level? Or, read classical texts in either language with fluidity? Are you native level in another language aside from English and could you read any type of literature, be it scientific, philosophical or otherwise, in that foreign language? In other words, do you know how difficult a language degree is? Do you even know how difficult a degree in STEM courses is?

I say all of this fully well knowing that you're still in school and have yet to even take your A level exams.

And, no - I personally wouldn't say doing a degree in a European language is easier than Biology. In fact, Biology or Biochemistry are generally considered to be 'soft' when considering other rigorous and academic degrees such as Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Economics, languages and History etc all of which offer much better graduate prospects.
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