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Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

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frostbyte13 Male
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  #1 Old 18-06-2011 Default Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

Hi, as the title implies, I was hoping to get some starting points on the know-hows of studying economics. I am currently in my Cambridge A-level, taking Economics, Maths, Chemistry and Physics, and have only sat of my institution's internal exams. I have not sat for my AS trials or my actual AS, as I am a January intake student. So, basically my questions are as the following :

1. I don't plan to study overseas, but I will consider twinning. My A-level results won't really help me get a place in any IPTA. So, I need to ask, which local private institution offers a good economics degree ? Prefer to know about those under external degree programs by overseas universities.

2. I have set my secondary option as Singapore. Which is a reputable university I can study in for a degree in economics ? And will my Cambridge A-level be enough as the entry requirements ? Scholarship info would also be useful.

3. Is the difference between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics really significant ? In another forum, I was told both have almost equal exposure to the needed mathematics for studying Economics, with the former emphasizing more in order to study Econometric.

4. Are the prospects of an Economics degree profitable in Malaysia ? Or will I need to seriously consider working in the public sector or even overseas ?

5. Are there any seniors in this forum who has taken or are undergoing a degree in Economics ? I would like to ask you guys personally the experience of studying it

Thanks
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  #2 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

I'm glad that you like Economics. I, too, for one am very passionate about learning economic theories ever since I was first introduced to it when I was a freshman. Perhaps you can share with us what is it about economics that you find appealing, before we give more suggestions to you?
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  #3 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

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Originally Posted by frostbyte13 View Post
1. I don't plan to study overseas, but I will consider twinning. My A-level results won't really help me get a place in any IPTA. So, I need to ask, which local private institution offers a good economics degree ? Prefer to know about those under external degree programs by overseas universities.

2. I have set my secondary option as Singapore. Which is a reputable university I can study in for a degree in economics ? And will my Cambridge A-level be enough as the entry requirements ? Scholarship info would also be useful.

3. Is the difference between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics really significant ? In another forum, I was told both have almost equal exposure to the needed mathematics for studying Economics, with the former emphasizing more in order to study Econometric.

4. Are the prospects of an Economics degree profitable in Malaysia ? Or will I need to seriously consider working in the public sector or even overseas ?

5. Are there any seniors in this forum who has taken or are undergoing a degree in Economics ? I would like to ask you guys personally the experience of studying it

Thanks
1. Why not? If money is something that's bugging you, consider applying to the 6 need-blind universities in the USA. read (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need_blind), these universities will automatically fund you if they decide to admit you. (as in automatic scholarship). Also, I don't need to remind you that the economics programs in top US universities are unrivaled. (The top 15 universities for Economics are ALL from the US). If you read a lot of economics theories, papers, non-fictions etc, you'll realize that most if not all of them are from the US.

2. NUS/NTU/SMU are all quite good in Economics. (I recommend this to be your primary option if you are ONLY considering twinning.) You will need A levels + SAT 1 and 2 (if you're using forecast results for A levels). SAT also helps if you're aiming for the US.

3. BSc Economics is generally more sought after because of its mathematical nature. BA Economics is more theoretical. However, at top institutions like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, UChicago, Berkeley, Oxbridge - Economics is only offered as a BA program (MIT Economics is a Bachelor of Science program though). Having a BA in Economics in these institutions will in no way put you at a disadvantage. Personally I think BSc and BA only makes a difference if the university is not very well-known.

4. Sorry not much input on this, but Economics majors are highly respected in the US and UK. (also its one of the most competitive courses)

5. I'm going to pursue a degree in Economics starting August this year, so I might still be too much of a greenhorn to give advice.

Hope this helps
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Last edited by IAmYourNightmare; 18-06-2011 at 04:15 PM.
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  #4 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmYourNightmare View Post
4. Sorry not much input on this, but Economics majors are highly respected in the US and UK. (also its one of the most competitive courses)

5. I'm going to pursue a degree in Economics starting August this year, so I might still be too much of a greenhorn to give advice.

Hope this helps
I think there is a little too much optimism in your views regarding an economics major.

In reality, for the school that I went to (where the PhD Program is ranked within the top 15), economics major is considered a safety net for those who cannot get into the business school. Also, when it comes to competitiveness, i would not consider Economics as one of the most competitive courses. Many courses around campus are easily more competitive, challenging, and sought after compared to economics. For example, any forms of Engineering, Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Finance, Pre-Med, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Physics, Computer Science, and to some extent statistics, are easily more quantitative and challenging compared to Economics.

Regarding the respect for Economics major, while it is true that a student will not be disrespected for having an Economics major, this field certainly doesn't get additional respect more than other fields. While I understand that many economists in the States are well-known and highly influential, they mostly hold a PhD in Economics, which is entirely different than a B.Sc. / B.A. in Economics. Most of them had a double major in math/ comp science as an undergraduate major, some don't even have Economics as their main major.

I was about to suggest topping an Economics major with a more quantitative major, like Mathematics or Computer Science. But since the tread starter might be going into the UK system, this suggestion may not be too feasible.
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Last edited by Seiryu; 18-06-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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  #5 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmYourNightmare View Post
1. Why not? If money is something that's bugging you, consider applying to the 6 need-blind universities in the USA. read (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need_blind), these universities will automatically fund you if they decide to admit you. (as in automatic scholarship). Also, I don't need to remind you that the economics programs in top US universities are unrivaled. (The top 15 universities for Econromics are ALL from the US). If you read a lot of economics theories, papers, non-fictions etc, you'll realize that most if not all of them are from the US.
Thank you IAmYourNightmare for providing such a detailed and comprehensive advice. Nevertheless, I just want to remind frostbyte that: (if you want to apply to US)

There are differences between "need-blind" and "meet full need".

Yale, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst are need-blind AND they will meet your full need if you are admitted. This means:

(a)need-blind: whether you are admitted or not is independent of your ability to pay
(b) meet full need: if your family can only pay USD 2000 per year (determined by the college you applied based on the documentation you provided), that's what you are going to pay, the rest will be provided by the college grant (free money), loan (depends) and work-study.

This is not the same as an automatic scholarship. If your parents are multi-millionaires (or very rich), you will not receive any money from the university no matter how excellent you are. This is the case for Ivy-League University, because they do not give merit-based scholarships.

(in other words, they only give need-based scholarships/financial aid)


Just because a school is need-blind, doesn't mean they guarantee to meet your full financial need.

E.g. Cornell University.

Some schools are not need-blind (i.e. need-aware), so applying for financial aid will hurt your chance at admission. Some of the more "famous" examples are:

Columbia University, Stanford University
-------------------------------------
For more information, check out usapps2011.wordpress.com - helping Malaysian dreamers who want to study in the USA.

-------------------------------------
(sorry, I don't know anything about econs >.<)
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  #6 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmYourNightmare View Post
1. Why not? If money is something that's bugging you, consider applying to the 6 need-blind universities in the USA. read (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need_blind), these universities will automatically fund you if they decide to admit you. (as in automatic scholarship). Also, I don't need to remind you that the economics programs in top US universities are unrivaled. (The top 15 universities for Economics are ALL from the US). If you read a lot of economics theories, papers, non-fictions etc, you'll realize that most if not all of them are from the US.

2. NUS/NTU/SMU are all quite good in Economics. (I recommend this to be your primary option if you are ONLY considering twinning.) You will need A levels + SAT 1 and 2 (if you're using forecast results for A levels). SAT also helps if you're aiming for the US.

3. BSc Economics is generally more sought after because of its mathematical nature. BA Economics is more theoretical. However, at top institutions like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, UChicago, Berkeley, Oxbridge - Economics is only offered as a BA program (MIT Economics is a Bachelor of Science program though). Having a BA in Economics in these institutions will in no way put you at a disadvantage. Personally I think BSc and BA only makes a difference if the university is not very well-known.

4. Sorry not much input on this, but Economics majors are highly respected in the US and UK. (also its one of the most competitive courses)

5. I'm going to pursue a degree in Economics starting August this year, so I might still be too much of a greenhorn to give advice.

Hope this helps
Thanks for the tips on needs-blind I seriously will still need to reconsider USA though, because of the costs of living there is pretty high. From your Wiki link, I sorta understand that many people still don't go to these universities to study in the end, despite getting an offer because of deficient financial awards (should be referring to living costs). One of my friends is aiming for one of those unis listed for engineering, Cornell University. Wow, I never knew that it was the US that had the best Economics reputation. All this while I thought it was the UK haha, because of LSE. Well, I have not considered taking SAT yet, but I might now, seeing that SAT is pretty much going to be needed for Singapore, should I want to go there. By the way, I've never heard of twinning to Singapore, got any info for which university or college offers that ? And I get that you are telling me a BSc would be more secure am I right ? Despite having the maths foundation, what scares me is the how will the maths look like. I've only gathered that so far, extensive use of calculus and probability will be used, since they are the key elements in econometric. And might I ask, where are you going to pursue your economics degree ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
I think there is a little too much optimism in your views regarding an economics major.

In reality, for the school that I went to (where the PhD Program is ranked within the top 15), economics major is considered a safety net for those who cannot get into the business school. Also, when it comes to competitiveness, i would not consider Economics as one of the most competitive courses. Many courses around campus are easily more competitive, challenging, and sought after compared to economics. For example, any forms of Engineering, Mathematics, Actuarial Science, Finance, Pre-Med, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Physics, Computer Science, and to some extent statistics, are easily more quantitative and challenging compared to Economics.

Regarding the respect for Economics major, while it is true that a student will not be disrespected for having an Economics major, this field certainly doesn't get additional respect more than other fields. While I understand that many economists in the States are well-known and highly influential, they mostly hold a PhD in Economics, which is entirely different than a B.Sc. / B.A. in Economics. Most of them had a double major in math/ comp science as an undergraduate major, some don't even have Economics as their main major.

I was about to suggest topping an Economics major with a more quantitative major, like Mathematics or Computer Science. But since the tread starter might be going into the UK system, this suggestion may not be too feasible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cactus View Post
Thank you IAmYourNightmare for providing such a detailed and comprehensive advice. Nevertheless, I just want to remind frostbyte that: (if you want to apply to US)

There are differences between "need-blind" and "meet full need".

Yale, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst are need-blind AND they will meet your full need if you are admitted. This means:

(a)need-blind: whether you are admitted or not is independent of your ability to pay
(b) meet full need: if your family can only pay USD 2000 per year (determined by the college you applied based on the documentation you provided), that's what you are going to pay, the rest will be provided by the college grant (free money), loan (depends) and work-study.

This is not the same as an automatic scholarship. If your parents are multi-millionaires (or very rich), you will not receive any money from the university no matter how excellent you are. This is the case for Ivy-League University, because they do not give merit-based scholarships.

(in other words, they only give need-based scholarships/financial aid)


Just because a school is need-blind, doesn't mean they guarantee to meet your full financial need.

E.g. Cornell University.

Some schools are not need-blind (i.e. need-aware), so applying for financial aid will hurt your chance at admission. Some of the more "famous" examples are:

Columbia University, Stanford University
-------------------------------------
For more information, check out usapps2011.wordpress.com - helping Malaysian dreamers who want to study in the USA.

-------------------------------------
(sorry, I don't know anything about econs >.<)


Thanks Seiryu and Cactus, you managed to highlight my worst fear, jobs prospects locally I don't really have the intention of working overseas (despite how much I've hated the government since this year, thanks to JPA) Not to mention, the job prospects in the USA are only luxurious if you have the postgraduate certs to show for it. So, you suggest a double major ? So far, I've only seen that in Singapore and not locally. NTU and NUS offers a variety of Engineering with Economics (I can do engineering, but reluctant to because of the intense Physics involved later) Actuarial Science is also one offered but it's not what I want to study, Maths too but the same reason as Actuarial Science. Law and Business in NUS however seems OK to me. I'm just worried now, should I start preparing to my SAT or wait until I make a final decision SMU offers only a major in Economics too ... And yeah, it's not fixed yet whether I will be going to the UK or not. I'll only apply for admission for Singapore Unis and possibly UK and USA Unis when I have my trial results.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
I'm glad that you like Economics. I, too, for one am very passionate about learning economic theories ever since I was first introduced to it when I was a freshman. Perhaps you can share with us what is it about economics that you find appealing, before we give more suggestions to you?
Exactly ! It's the theories that have made me find a passion for it Please don't tell me that passion for you died down after the years I don't really mind the graphs. I've already drawn so many in class, that I'm too used to it already And yeah, to me, it's surprising to me, just how much I took for granted how simple our economic system works domestically and internationally. Economics has shown me just how diverse the world works with capital, and individual behavior with their income and purchases.

Last edited by frostbyte13; 18-06-2011 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #7 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostbyte13 View Post

1. I don't plan to study overseas, but I will consider twinning. My A-level results won't really help me get a place in any IPTA. So, I need to ask, which local private institution offers a good economics degree ? Prefer to know about those under external degree programs by overseas universities.

Thanks
for external program, there is 1 program offered by HELP UC.
they call it University of London International Programme
http://www.help.edu.my/uol_bsc_economics

And BTW, IMO, with your subject combination, it is somehow hard to get a offer for top unis in UK, but it is not impossible to get any as math is the sole requirement subject.

u can refer this very useful table from the The Student Room:
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1382873
and
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=658957

Last edited by poteryu; 18-06-2011 at 06:32 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #8 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

Quote:
Originally Posted by poteryu View Post
for external program, there is 1 program offered by HELP UC.
they call it University of London International Programme
http://www.help.edu.my/uol_bsc_economics

And BTW, IMO, with your subject combination, it is somehow hard to get a offer for top unis in UK, but it is not impossible to get any as math is the sole requirement subject.

u can refer this very useful table from the The Student Room:
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1382873
and
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=658957
What is a "strong" subject combination for economics? Please enlighten me...
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  #9 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

Quote:
Originally Posted by poteryu View Post
for external program, there is 1 program offered by HELP UC.
they call it University of London International Programme
http://www.help.edu.my/uol_bsc_economics

And BTW, IMO, with your subject combination, it is somehow hard to get a offer for top unis in UK, but it is not impossible to get any as math is the sole requirement subject.

u can refer this very useful table from the The Student Room:
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1382873
and
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=658957
What would be the best available possible subject combination then to get a candidate into UK top unis for economics?
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  #10 Old 18-06-2011 Default Re: Studying Economics for a Bachelor's degree

=.= are u all so lazy to click on the link?
nvm, i will just quote it out..
Quote:
So what make a stronger application in terms of academics?
Factors include:
i) Good AS grades (a's and b's and more a's than b's)
ii) Good Subject choices (Maths, Economics, Further Maths (1 of 4 rather than 3) an essay subject, a science)
iii) Good Number of subjects (4-6 AS-levels, 3-5 A-levels)

And what makes a weaker application in terms of academics?
Factors include:
Not having the properties listed above.
(Special mention for Maths (mandatory at most strong unis) and Economics prefered at most unis and held by 80-90% of students at Top 5 unis))
In addition check out the generic thread I started on Soft and Hard A-level. That thread documents both uni blacklists and how many students at top unis have each A-level.

Here are some econ application specific points. Avoid
i) Overlapping subjects (e.g. Business and Economics)
ii) Less preferred (i.e. blacklisted) subjects e.g. ICT. see the LSE list. The Cambridge blacklist used to be here. But it is no longer there. So check out my thread for what the Cambridge preferences are.

Note if you don't have an essay based subject as one of your main A-levels, doing GS as an extra subjects is one way of showing that you can write an essay. But GS will only do you much good outside the Top 10.

Last edited by poteryu; 18-06-2011 at 07:47 PM.
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