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Does an economics degree require you to be good at English?

I saw an economics degree past paper and it included multiple essays (25-50 marks) and I heard other degrees are mostly multiple choice questions. I am really bad at English, just wondering if a degree in economics requires more essays compared to another degree such as maths, medicine, biology etc. thank you.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by Zoe__
I saw an economics degree past paper and it included multiple essays (25-50 marks) and I heard other degrees are mostly multiple choice questions. I am really bad at English, just wondering if a degree in economics requires more essays compared to another degree such as maths, medicine, biology etc. thank you.


Most if not all UK based degrees require a good level of written English. And most other degrees are not multiple choice based either - degrees tend to have exams that are either problem based (where you still need to write out all your working and usually include some brief comments explaining it) or long/short answer based (which may be long form essays or more shorter paragraph style answers on particular topics). Also even those with less essay/writing oriented exams will normally have other written assignments (e.g. lab reports, writing something up in the form of a journal article, presentations, etc). Finally the vast majority of degrees will require you write an 8-12k word dissertation in final year as well. So it's pretty much inevitable...

Maths is probably the degree you can get away with a minimum of extended prose writing, but it is still there.
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 2
Original post by artful_lounger
Most if not all UK based degrees require a good level of written English. And most other degrees are not multiple choice based either - degrees tend to have exams that are either problem based (where you still need to write out all your working and usually include some brief comments explaining it) or long/short answer based (which may be long form essays or more shorter paragraph style answers on particular topics). Also even those with less essay/writing oriented exams will normally have other written assignments (e.g. lab reports, writing something up in the form of a journal article, presentations, etc). Finally the vast majority of degrees will require you write an 8-12k word dissertation in final year as well. So it's pretty much inevitable...

Maths is probably the degree you can get away with a minimum of extended prose writing, but it is still there.

Thank you for your help. Do you think there would be a large difference between economics and maths degree
Original post by Zoe__
Thank you for your help. Do you think there would be a large difference between economics and maths degree


In general yes, economics will have more essay components. Exactly to what extent varies though - some degrees are much more mathematical than others (e.g. LSE). However you would still have less work of that type in a maths degree. No matter what, you can't wholly avoid any kind of written English communication in a degree taught in English.
Reply 4
Original post by artful_lounger
In general yes, economics will have more essay components. Exactly to what extent varies though - some degrees are much more mathematical than others (e.g. LSE). However you would still have less work of that type in a maths degree. No matter what, you can't wholly avoid any kind of written English communication in a degree taught in English.

Thank you. English is my first language and I got a 6 in English Lang GCSEs it’s just I’m bad at essays and way better at maths related parts then English so want to do a degree that I’m most likely to do well in :smile:
Original post by Zoe__
Thank you. English is my first language and I got a 6 in English Lang GCSEs it’s just I’m bad at essays and way better at maths related parts then English so want to do a degree that I’m most likely to do well in :smile:


There is a big difference between struggling with the use of English as a language, and struggling with writing long form prose. If you are a native speaker of English, you will be "good enough" at English for any degree in the vast majority of situations, unless you have experienced language development issues which mean your English is not at native proficiency, somehow.

Essay writing does not require exceptional grammatical form or excessive florid prose, just basic, correct, simple English - but with good ideas behind it that are clearly and consistently developed in a logical way throughout the essay. That is a skill that does need to be developed but also you need that skill in any subject. A mathematical proof is in a sense no different than the thesis of an essay, in a purely abstract view. Both are logical arguments to demonstrate or prove some point or perspective.
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 6
Original post by artful_lounger
There is a big difference between struggling with the use of English as a language, and struggling with writing long form prose. If you are a native speaker of English, you will be "good enough" at English for any degree in the vast majority of situations, unless you have experienced language development issues which mean your English is not at native proficiency, somehow.

Essay writing does not require exceptional grammatical form or excessive florid prose, just basic, correct, simple English - but with good ideas behind it that are clearly and consistently developed in a logical way throughout the essay. That is a skill that does need to be developed but also you need that skill in any subject. A mathematical proof is in a sense no different than the thesis of an essay, in a purely abstract view. Both are logical arguments to demonstrate or prove some point or perspective.

Thank you so much that has really reassured me. I think I’m just worried about uni in general and now receiving an offer as gave me imposter syndrome 🙃
Some universities will have more essay components than others. Ultimately, you'll need some level of English, but requirements are usually at grade 4 at GCSE. I'll use my university, for example. At York, the first year gives a wide introduction to Economics, with one essay based module, and the the rest are mathsy ones. In my second year, I chose solely maths based modules.

Economics at university at a decent university can have as much or as little essay writing as possible. Avoid Leeds and Durham, though, they have a lot of mandatory essay modules. Look at module choices per university.

If you're more interested in maths, look into an Economics and Econometrics degree. Econometrics involves a lot of linear algebra, real analysis, statistical theory etc.
Reply 8
Original post by econhelp525
Some universities will have more essay components than others. Ultimately, you'll need some level of English, but requirements are usually at grade 4 at GCSE. I'll use my university, for example. At York, the first year gives a wide introduction to Economics, with one essay based module, and the the rest are mathsy ones. In my second year, I chose solely maths based modules.

Economics at university at a decent university can have as much or as little essay writing as possible. Avoid Leeds and Durham, though, they have a lot of mandatory essay modules. Look at module choices per university.

If you're more interested in maths, look into an Economics and Econometrics degree. Econometrics involves a lot of linear algebra, real analysis, statistical theory etc.

Thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it. I have received an offer for economics at Southampton. Do you know if they require much essay stuff?? I have looked online but can’t find anything
(edited 2 years ago)
Hi, I'm a current economics student at Durham. Economics is a social science so it's quite normal to have some essays, but it's nothing to be scared of. English is not my first language but I'm still managing to do relatively well my essays. The most important point for an essay is having good and sound ideas and either books or articles that support them. I personally find way more difficult to find what I want to say than actually writing it, especially because professors are not looking for pompous language but just something written in plain english with some good ideas in it.
You can find if you have essay to write on the uni website. You go to the economic page, go to modules and for each module you can check the assessments.
Reply 10
Original post by XanaXoid
Hi, I'm a current economics student at Durham. Economics is a social science so it's quite normal to have some essays, but it's nothing to be scared of. English is not my first language but I'm still managing to do relatively well my essays. The most important point for an essay is having good and sound ideas and either books or articles that support them. I personally find way more difficult to find what I want to say than actually writing it, especially because professors are not looking for pompous language but just something written in plain english with some good ideas in it.
You can find if you have essay to write on the uni website. You go to the economic page, go to modules and for each module you can check the assessments.

Thank you for your help and putting my mind at ease. I will try to find out if Southampton require lots of essays :smile:
Original post by Zoe__
Thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it. I have received an offer for economics at Southampton. Do you know if they require much essay stuff?? I have looked online but can’t find anything


Southampton requires a dissertation at the end of the degree.

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