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BA/BSc for postgrad

Hi,
So i’m applying for BA economics and management at Durham and I’ve read some posts that the BA/BSc thing doesn’t matter as much since Durham only offers BA and it’s more tradition as it is at Cambridge.
But I was wondering, if I were to apply to postgraduate studies in economics/finance to high ranking unis such as LSE, UCL, Oxford, would they still consider the BA to be not as competitive as BScs (despite Durhams econ course requiring Alevel maths and has a core module in econometrics)?
It’s worrying me as students from Cambridge doing BAs would be in a strong position already but Durhams reputation wouldn’t exactly be classed as strong as Cambridge…

I’ve yet to firm my offer so any advice would be super helpful!
Original post by Carrotsroom
Hi,
So i’m applying for BA economics and management at Durham and I’ve read some posts that the BA/BSc thing doesn’t matter as much since Durham only offers BA and it’s more tradition as it is at Cambridge.
But I was wondering, if I were to apply to postgraduate studies in economics/finance to high ranking unis such as LSE, UCL, Oxford, would they still consider the BA to be not as competitive as BScs (despite Durhams econ course requiring Alevel maths and has a core module in econometrics)?
It’s worrying me as students from Cambridge doing BAs would be in a strong position already but Durhams reputation wouldn’t exactly be classed as strong as Cambridge…

I’ve yet to firm my offer so any advice would be super helpful!

Generally the BA Vs BSc distinction is only relevant when the university offers both, in which case the BSc is typically more quantitative and theoretical and the BA is more applied. For example, Manchester offers both, and the BSc has more advanced courses as compulsory relative to the BA. Whereas at places like Cambridge & Durham it doesn't matter.

The matter you may want to consider is whether the Durham course has enough econometrics in it for you to not struggle at postgrad level. One of my best friends did straight economics at Durham and was definitely under prepared for the LSE master's with respect to statistics/econometrics than most others. Apparently the econometrics is quite light at Durham, and I'm not sure whether it's even lighter if you're not planning to do the straight economics degree. Still a strong degree though.
Reply 2
Original post by BenRyan99
Generally the BA Vs BSc distinction is only relevant when the university offers both, in which case the BSc is typically more quantitative and theoretical and the BA is more applied. For example, Manchester offers both, and the BSc has more advanced courses as compulsory relative to the BA. Whereas at places like Cambridge & Durham it doesn't matter.

The matter you may want to consider is whether the Durham course has enough econometrics in it for you to not struggle at postgrad level. One of my best friends did straight economics at Durham and was definitely under prepared for the LSE master's with respect to statistics/econometrics than most others. Apparently the econometrics is quite light at Durham, and I'm not sure whether it's even lighter if you're not planning to do the straight economics degree. Still a strong degree though.


I see, from what I've seen from the module handbook, the compulsory modules for straight economics is the same for the economics with management course, the difference is that there are additional core modules for the management part. I am looking to apply for LSE, UCL and possibly oxford for postgraduate economics but was concerned about the amount of maths involved as you've mentioned. I was wondering if you could ask your friend how they prepared and handled the jump from BA economics to the masters at LSE and any advice they would give to prepare beforehand?
Original post by Carrotsroom
I see, from what I've seen from the module handbook, the compulsory modules for straight economics is the same for the economics with management course, the difference is that there are additional core modules for the management part. I am looking to apply for LSE, UCL and possibly oxford for postgraduate economics but was concerned about the amount of maths involved as you've mentioned. I was wondering if you could ask your friend how they prepared and handled the jump from BA economics to the masters at LSE and any advice they would give to prepare beforehand?

The amount of maths in the course is fine - the second year optional module in Intermediate methods of economics and finance (ECON2121) provides what I'd consider the standard level of maths from an economics degree (e.g. up to difference and differential equations, etc).

It's the amount of statistics that's more of a concern. The first year Economic Methods class just covers the standard entry stats content that you'd expect from any uni which is a bit underwhelming (as it's basically just a recap of the A-level maths statistics module). Then the second year Economic Data Analysis class again just teaches you the very standard entry econometrics content (e.g. OLS, GM assumptions and standard tests). In final year you have an option of taking Applied Econometrics, it doesn't go into much detail online but I know this covers fixed effects, binary choice models, AR & VAR models and volatility models (I'm guessing ARCH).

So to summarise, stats teaching in first and second year looks very standard, so below the level of unis I'd consider on equal footing with Durham for economics (e.g. Bath, Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester). The final year class, it's difficult to tell. Applied Econometrics classes vary massively, some teach you the theory really well and then let you apply it in Stata/EViews/R, while others are very light on the theory and you spend most of the time applying it on software. Both are important but postgrad economics focuses more on the theory.

I think whether you want to go to Durham and whether you think it preps you enough for top postgrad courses largely depends on your alternative options. You also need to factor in that you may want to do a master's (or pick optional modules to tailor your MSc) that is light on stats/econometrics because you're interested in bits of economics that doesn't use stats (e.g. macro theory, micro theory, behavioural economics, game theory, etc) - though I wouldn't expect someone still at school to know what they'd want to specialise in, not would I think it's good if you did know.

But either way, my friend said that if you want to do postgrad economics at a good uni and be able to cope, you sort of have to do the maths and econometrics optional modules, otherwise it'll be a gigantic uphill climb. I'd recommend looking at comparable syllabuses at places like Bristol and Notts for example. Normally they have separate modules in maths and stats in 1st year (often a data analysis one too). Then they have at least two Econometrics modules in second year, compared to Durham's one (and they tend to cover stuff beyond what I'd deem the minimum for 2nd year which Durham covers, i.e. they cover most of the topics Durham does in 3rd year but with theory as well as applied. Then both have at least two econometrics classes in final year, which cover advanced topics, whereas Durham has just one applied module.

So Durham is very light on stats/econometrics content. But it's difficult to know how important this content is for someone's career and master's (though normally econometrics is compulsory at MSc level), and Durham could make up for being light in this area by being strong in others, and the importance of this is difficult to determine. But also, it depends on your other options, Durham may still be much better than your alternatives despite it being light in econometrics so would still be worth going to if that makes sense
Reply 4
Original post by BenRyan99
The amount of maths in the course is fine - the second year optional module in Intermediate methods of economics and finance (ECON2121) provides what I'd consider the standard level of maths from an economics degree (e.g. up to difference and differential equations, etc).

It's the amount of statistics that's more of a concern. The first year Economic Methods class just covers the standard entry stats content that you'd expect from any uni which is a bit underwhelming (as it's basically just a recap of the A-level maths statistics module). Then the second year Economic Data Analysis class again just teaches you the very standard entry econometrics content (e.g. OLS, GM assumptions and standard tests). In final year you have an option of taking Applied Econometrics, it doesn't go into much detail online but I know this covers fixed effects, binary choice models, AR & VAR models and volatility models (I'm guessing ARCH).

So to summarise, stats teaching in first and second year looks very standard, so below the level of unis I'd consider on equal footing with Durham for economics (e.g. Bath, Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester). The final year class, it's difficult to tell. Applied Econometrics classes vary massively, some teach you the theory really well and then let you apply it in Stata/EViews/R, while others are very light on the theory and you spend most of the time applying it on software. Both are important but postgrad economics focuses more on the theory.

I think whether you want to go to Durham and whether you think it preps you enough for top postgrad courses largely depends on your alternative options. You also need to factor in that you may want to do a master's (or pick optional modules to tailor your MSc) that is light on stats/econometrics because you're interested in bits of economics that doesn't use stats (e.g. macro theory, micro theory, behavioural economics, game theory, etc) - though I wouldn't expect someone still at school to know what they'd want to specialise in, not would I think it's good if you did know.

But either way, my friend said that if you want to do postgrad economics at a good uni and be able to cope, you sort of have to do the maths and econometrics optional modules, otherwise it'll be a gigantic uphill climb. I'd recommend looking at comparable syllabuses at places like Bristol and Notts for example. Normally they have separate modules in maths and stats in 1st year (often a data analysis one too). Then they have at least two Econometrics modules in second year, compared to Durham's one (and they tend to cover stuff beyond what I'd deem the minimum for 2nd year which Durham covers, i.e. they cover most of the topics Durham does in 3rd year but with theory as well as applied. Then both have at least two econometrics classes in final year, which cover advanced topics, whereas Durham has just one applied module.

So Durham is very light on stats/econometrics content. But it's difficult to know how important this content is for someone's career and master's (though normally econometrics is compulsory at MSc level), and Durham could make up for being light in this area by being strong in others, and the importance of this is difficult to determine. But also, it depends on your other options, Durham may still be much better than your alternatives despite it being light in econometrics so would still be worth going to if that makes sense

Thank you for the advice, Its given a lot of light for my question! I went to an offer day Durham offered yesterday and they went into some details about the core modules for each year. From what I remember there was usually only one core module that was maths based and some optional ones. They did specifically say if people were aiming for the top postgrad unis then in third year we would have to take the Advanced Macro, Advanced Micro and EDA (I think it was called EDA but it was an econometrics course nonetheless) to be able to get the highest chance. However, I am worried that it might set me back from getting a 2:1 or first so I think that's a problem for the future ...
I did apply to Bristol and Manchester but they weren't for straight economics (although I could ask to transfer) but my parents aren't very keen on me moving away hours away when Durham is very close to us and can offer a good course at the same time.
But thank you for the advice, it will definitely be of help in the future!

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