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Pursuing an economics degree - does it require further maths?

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(edited 5 months ago)
Original post by srxsin
I am currently a GCSE student and have recently applied to my sixth forms for A-Level Biology, Chemistry and Maths, (bare in mind this can still be changed on enrolment day) in hopes of doing Pharmacy or Biomedical Engineering.

However, I am now reconsidering as I am interested in working in the financial side of things. I now am considering doing A-Level Maths, Economics and Physics/Politics as I do not want to take 4 A-Levels and do further maths alongside those subjects.

Will not doing further maths put me at a major major disadvantage when applying to university for an economics BSc at a russel group university (Excluding LSE and Oxbridge)? Thanks.


No, it will not put you at a 'major major' disadvantage, particularly if your third A level is a numerate subject like physics. Why don't you want to do economics, maths and FM?
Original post by srxsin
If we do further maths, my school requires us to do 3 A-Levels alongside further maths, I feel like I can get better grades overall by doing 3 A-Levels + EPQ than doing further maths. I am not particularly looking to apply to LSE and Cambridge which are the most competitive for the course and they are the only universities who mention having further maths as being highly desirable/required.

I see. I'd do three A levels then and ditch the EPQ, which is usually a complete waste of time. As you say, FM is only really 'necessary' for a handful of unis, so I wouldn't worry about it too much: maths, economics + one other will be fine.
Original post by srxsin
Alright, thanks. I'd like to study at a Russel Group university such as KCL/UCL/Bath/QMUL/ICL and as far as I know and have researched they do not require further maths and do not mention anything about it on their website, so hopefully I am good to go :smile:


No problem, and yes - you sound like you've chosen sensible subjects to me. Just aim for A*AA or higher and you're sorted. :smile:
Original post by srxsin
I am currently a GCSE student and have recently applied to my sixth forms for A-Level Biology, Chemistry and Maths, (bare in mind this can still be changed on enrolment day) in hopes of doing Pharmacy or Biomedical Engineering.

However, I am now reconsidering as I am interested in working in the financial side of things. I now am considering doing A-Level Maths, Economics and Physics/Politics as I do not want to take 4 A-Levels and do further maths alongside those subjects.

Will not doing further maths put me at a major major disadvantage when applying to university for an economics BSc at a russel group university (Excluding LSE and Oxbridge)? Thanks.

The general consensus with further maths when applying for economics degrees (I'm assuming straight economics, or at least not economics joint with a STEM subject) is that FM is essential for LSE and Cambridge. Whereas it's helpful in your application if wanting to go to places like Warwick, UCL, etc but not essential. Then naturally unis below this it's definitely not essential.

Though it's worth recognising that FM may not be essential for most economics courses, but having it will actually help you cope with the degree material itself, even if it's not essential for acceptance onto the degree. In any case, I found FM far more enjoyable than the regular a-level anyway, some of the optional papers tend to overlap quit heavily with the basic maths in good economics degrees. Though getting top grades in 3 a-levels is more important than getting more mediocre ones in 4, so I understand your reasoning and don't necessarily disagree with it
Original post by BenRyan99
The general consensus with further maths when applying for economics degrees (I'm assuming straight economics, or at least not economics joint with a STEM subject) is that FM is essential for LSE and Cambridge. Whereas it's helpful in your application if wanting to go to places like Warwick, UCL, etc but not essential. Then naturally unis below this it's definitely not essential.

Though it's worth recognising that FM may not be essential for most economics courses, but having it will actually help you cope with the degree material itself, even if it's not essential for acceptance onto the degree. In any case, I found FM far more enjoyable than the regular a-level anyway, some of the optional papers tend to overlap quit heavily with the basic maths in good economics degrees. Though getting top grades in 3 a-levels is more important than getting more mediocre ones in 4, so I understand your reasoning and don't necessarily disagree with it

As someone who did FM I would say that it helps only with year 1 courses , after that it's practically useless

If I could I would have switched FM for econs , as I am doing Actuarial Science having more econs knowledge is more of a plus
Original post by srxsin
I am currently a GCSE student and have recently applied to my sixth forms for A-Level Biology, Chemistry and Maths, (bare in mind this can still be changed on enrolment day) in hopes of doing Pharmacy or Biomedical Engineering.

However, I am now reconsidering as I am interested in working in the financial side of things. I now am considering doing A-Level Maths, Economics and Physics/Politics as I do not want to take 4 A-Levels and do further maths alongside those subjects.

Will not doing further maths put me at a major major disadvantage when applying to university for an economics BSc at a russel group university (Excluding LSE and Oxbridge)? Thanks.


Don't go into economics, go into a STEM field like Pharmacy or Biomedical Engineering like you originally wanted to.
Original post by Ewanlee
As someone who did FM I would say that it helps only with year 1 courses , after that it's practically useless

If I could I would have switched FM for econs , as I am doing Actuarial Science having more econs knowledge is more of a plus

The OP said they were already considering switching to maths & economics anyway. And given they're asking about doing an economics degree, I think doing economics a-level is already a given. So not completely sure of the utility of arguing FM Vs economics at a-level in this thread, especially given you're not actually studying economics anyway
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by BenRyan99
The general consensus with further maths when applying for economics degrees (I'm assuming straight economics, or at least not economics joint with a STEM subject) is that FM is essential for LSE and Cambridge. Whereas it's helpful in your application if wanting to go to places like Warwick, UCL, etc but not essential. Then naturally unis below this it's definitely not essential.

Though it's worth recognising that FM may not be essential for most economics courses, but having it will actually help you cope with the degree material itself, even if it's not essential for acceptance onto the degree. In any case, I found FM far more enjoyable than the regular a-level anyway, some of the optional papers tend to overlap quit heavily with the basic maths in good economics degrees. Though getting top grades in 3 a-levels is more important than getting more mediocre ones in 4, so I understand your reasoning and don't necessarily disagree with it

How long ago did you take FM - there is far little overlap now A levels are linear.
Original post by srxsin
Thanks :smile:


I teach Maths - FMaths has changed and there isn't 'an overlap' now its linear. Stick with your plan ...
Original post by Muttley79
How long ago did you take FM - there is far little overlap now A levels are linear.

I did my a-level maths and FM about 6-7yrs ago. If the a-level FM syllabus still allows you to take those decision theory bits then I think a-level FM does really help with microeconomics. Having already seen a lot of game theory, auctions, network/graph theory, algorithms, matching markets, etc, it definitely gives you an advantage in theoretical and applied microeconomics. Naturally getting more exposure to statistics helps when learning econometrics too, and that's outside of the calculus and linear algebra benefits in FM. Though happy to be corrected if FM no longer provides much support to an Econ degree, but I assume it does given most of the top unis state they prefer you to have it.

Beyond that, simply doing any subject with a fair amount of maths in (e.g. FM) will just keep your analytical skills building which is important if entering a STEM or economics degree at a good university. Though like my first comment clearly said, FM is by no means essential for economics (other than LSE and Cambridge) and I actually think unis prefer you to have a combination of maths, economics and an essay subject then FM as a fourth if you want - have heard some unis don't particularly like just having Econ, maths and FM (or just Econ and mathematical subjects at a-level) given the non-insignificant writing component of an economics degree.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by BenRyan99
I did my a-level maths and FM about 6-7yrs ago. If the a-level FM syllabus still allows you to take those decision theory bits then I think a-level FM does really help with microeconomics. Having already seen a lot of game theory, auctions, network/graph theory, algorithms, matching markets, etc, it definitely gives you an advantage in theoretical and applied microeconomics. Naturally getting more exposure to statistics helps when learning econometrics too, and that's outside of the calculus and linear algebra benefits in FM. Though happy to be corrected if FM no longer provides much support to an Econ degree, but I assume it does given most of the top unis state they prefer you to have it.

Beyond that, simply doing any subject with a fair amount of maths in (e.g. FM) will just keep your analytical skills building which is important if entering a STEM or economics degree at a good university. Though like my first comment clearly said, FM is by no means essential for economics (other than LSE and Cambridge) and I actually think unis prefer you to have a combination of maths, economics and an essay subject then FM as a fourth if you want - have heard some unis don't particularly like Econ, maths and FM given the non-insignificant writing component of an economics degree.

You can't do decision as part of Maths A level [Edexcel] - it has to be FMaths and not all school offer the option now. Many tend to avoid it ... [a shame as I enjoy teaching it and we offer all options]

It isn't necessary for Economics and any uni that doesn't require it will teach you what you need to know. FMaths is harder as a linear option - no 'soft' modules like S1, M1 or D1 [which could be included in the past] are permissible. It's a 'different' A level now.
Original post by Muttley79
You can't do decision as part of Maths A level [Edexcel] - it has to be FMaths and not all school offer the option now. Many tend to avoid it ... [a shame as I enjoy teaching it and we offer all options]

It isn't necessary for Economics and any uni that doesn't require it will teach you what you need to know. FMaths is harder as a linear option - no 'soft' modules like S1, M1 or D1 [which could be included in the past] are permissible. It's a 'different' A level now.

I must've been unclear as when discussing decision maths I was referring to it within A-level FM and this being a benefit of doing FM if one is planning on doing economics at a top university. But yes, as you say, not all schools taught it even when I studied it which is a shame, though I think it's generally more accessible than some of the more difficult calculus and linear algebra to some.

Again, I also said FM wasn't necessary, just that it helps even if it's difficult (I didn't include those basic papers in FM). But I maintain it's more important to do well in 3 a-levels (incl maths) than to do less well in 4 (incl FM) and so the OP should weigh this up based on their circumstances.
Original post by BenRyan99
I must've been unclear as when discussing decision maths I was referring to it within A-level FM and this being a benefit of doing FM if one is planning on doing economics at a top university. But yes, as you say, not all schools taught it even when I studied it which is a shame, though I think it's generally more accessible than some of the more difficult calculus and linear algebra to some.

Again, I also said FM wasn't necessary, just that it helps even if it's difficult (I didn't include those basic papers in FM). But I maintain it's more important to do well in 3 a-levels (incl maths) than to do less well in 4 (incl FM) and so the OP should weigh this up based on their circumstances.


D1 was an AS Maths module when A level was modular and D2 was also an A level Maths module - neither were technically F Maths although you 'could' include these modules in F Maths - hence it was easier than it is now. The only way to learn this is within F Maths now ...

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