The Student Room Group

Applying to course at Oxford which recommends A-Level maths?

I am a year 12 student studying History, Economics and Spanish. I love economics and would love to study it at uni but most top unis require maths A-Level. The next best courses for me are courses such as PPE and history + economics. However, at Oxford and some other top unis, they still ‘recommend’ but don’t require A-Level maths. I got an 8 at GCSE - is it worth applying to these courses or not?
(edited 2 years ago)
Over 95% of successful applicants to PPE in most years recently have A-level Maths, and when I last looked 100% of successful applicants to history and economics had A-level Maths (both at Oxford) for the last several application cycles. It's "recommended" but functionally should be viewed as a requirement unless your school doesn't offer A-level Maths at all.

Also note that degree level economics is rather dissimilar to A-level Economics as it is not an essay based subject but primarily a mathematical problem solving based subject. Hence, A-level Maths is widely required and even if you didn't take it, you would have to cover that material in the degree (and then more). There are some other economics related courses that are not so mathematical though, such as political economy or economic history.

If you are keen on applying to those courses at Oxford then you can try your luck but you should probably prepare for the eventuality of needing to take a gap year and A-level Maths to make a competitive application, realistically. Note that the Oxford history course (single honours, or joint honours with other non-economics subjects) does include potentially an option in first year exploring economic approaches to history and I imagine you will have plenty of scope to explore economic history topics in various papers (and some may be very amenable to that).
It's only January of year 12 - I'd suggest you go talk to the maths teacher on Monday, explain the situation, and see if you can join the class. Yes, four subjects will be tough especially as you have several months' work to catch up with (and they will probably insist you don't drop one of the other subjects yet), but if you're a viable Oxford candidate, ability-wise, it should be doable. Another option is to carry on with your three subjects and plan to apply as a post A level candidate with your three achieved grades, while taking maths in one year.

If you've realised economics is what you want to do, limiting your options by not having maths is daft. If you didn't take maths because it's really not for you, then it's important to look into how mathematical economics at university would be. It's possible to really like a subject qualitatively but find it horrific once you start trying to do quantitative stuff.

Quick Reply

Latest