The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

Appendix BA Economics: an example of a programme specification

1. Rationale

Include information about:

  • potential demand for the new course (using marketing information from the UCAS website);
  • main competitors;
  • the gap in the market that would be filled by the provision of this programme;
  • distinctive features of the programme;
  • target recruitment.

2. Educational aims

  • To provide an in-depth knowledge of economics and to enable students to apply the knowledge and understanding gained in this subject area.
  • To enable students to study and apply the principles of economics to different types of practical situation that will be useful for future employment.
  • To encourage ongoing critical, evaluative and strategic ways of thinking in all areas.
  • To recognise the importance of the industry–education relationship and to offer opportunities for learning in other environments.
  • To enable students to undertake relevant postgraduate study.
  • To provide successful graduates of the programme with an educational and training profile that will equip them for employment in a range of sectors.

3. Outcomes

Programme outcomes

To complete the course successfully and gain the award the student will have demonstrated the ability to critically evaluate and apply the theories and techniques of economics. Specifically, students will acquire:

A Knowledge and understanding of:

  • A1 Fundamentals/principles of economics
  • A2 The basic tools of economic analysis
  • A3 Economic theory and practice
  • A4 Quantitative methods and computing techniques relevant to the study of economics
  • A5 The use of data, both quantitative and qualitative, relevant to the study of economics
  • A6 The relevance of economics to the study of society
  • A7 The application of specialist knowledge

Teaching and learning strategies and methods

Teaching and learning are achieved by lectures supported by seminars, workshops and surgery sessions. The understanding of theory taught is reinforced by the arrangement of common core units in each year. Pastoral support is provided by the departmental duty tutor system, which has strong operational links with the course management team.


Assessment is via a mixture of continuous assessment and exam. Continuous assessment includes individual and group work, presentations, essays and assignments.

B Cognitive (intellectual or thinking) skills – able to:

  • B1 Identify, define and explore economic issues [using logical and creative approaches]
  • B2 Identify tacit assumptions and limitations of data and information
  • B3 Analyse and evaluate evidence
  • B4 Expound findings whether orally or in a written format
  • B5 Apply study skills necessary for successful learning
  • B6 Discuss hypotheses, interpret data and produce cogent and analytical practical reports
  • B7 Deploy a high level of analysis and critical judgement in relation to theory and methods
  • B8 Apply skills of mathematical and statistical analysis

Teaching and learning strategies and methods

Lectures will provide the starting point for the development of cognitive skills by means of encouraging students to think about the evaluation and application of theories, principles, etc. in different situations. Seminars, tutorials, case studies and lab work will then provide the main vehicle for further development of these skills. In these sessions, students will be encouraged to interact with lecturers, peers and practitioners, making use of relevant examples, new developments and current research. Creativity of thought and application of theories to the solution of problems will be developed by the use of case studies and current research done in the main subject areas studied.


All cognitive skills will be assessed by means of seen and unseen written examinations and/or continuous assessment.

C Practical (professional or subject specific) skills - able to:

  • C1 Use techniques for planning and scheduling work/projects
  • C2 Use computers to generate documents (graphs, charts, etc.) to illustrate and clarify arguments
  • C3 Use word-processing and data analysis packages, and undertake computer-based literature searches
  • C4 Use interpersonal skills to relate to, and collaborate effectively with, colleagues
  • C5 Use the internet to retrieve and manipulate text and data
  • C6 Manage and process data-using spreadsheets and other specialised software packages
  • C7 Use computer skills in a variety of learning contexts

Teaching and learning strategies and methods

As part of the development of practical skills, all students will be provided with an introduction to the library and other key sources of information (including electronic) as part of the course induction programme. Practical skills will be further developed as part of specific units and the dissertation component of the degree course. Students will be required to display a range of practical skills as an integral part of work undertaken within various seminars and tutorials. Coursework assignments and the dissertation will require students to make use of all practical skills, collecting and interpreting data, applying relevant models, organising and controlling resources, producing reports, and presenting and justifying results and recommendations.


Seen and unseen written examinations will be used to assess some practical skills. These and all other practical skills will be assessed within coursework assignments and the dissertation. As part of the coursework and dissertation, students will be required to present and justify complex arguments and to provide evidence of their ability to organise and control resources in order to meet output targets.

D Transferable and key skills – able to:

  • D1 Communicate effectively using graphical, written, verbal and IT means
  • D2 Use information technology
  • D3 Engage in problem solving
  • D4 Apply number skills appropriate to the field of economics
  • D5 Improve own learning and performance
  • D6 Work with others as an effective team member

Teaching and learning strategies and methods

Acquiring key skills is integral to all activities within the course programme. Students will develop skills in the use of information technology for collecting, analysing and presenting information and data in a number of units. Seminar and tutorial sessions provide a means of developing all key skills, with a particular emphasis on communication skills and working with others. The key skills of application of number and problem solving will be emphasised throughout the course, with specific emphasis on these areas in the quantitative and workshop units taught throughout the course. These skills will then be further tested when students apply their quantitative knowledge to subject areas such as managerial economics, industrial economics, applied economics and business economics. Students will be encouraged to monitor and improve their own learning and performance throughout the course. These skills, and working with others, will also be essential elements of the dissertation undertaken at level 3.


Unseen and written examinations, coursework and the dissertation will all contribute towards assessing the key skills listed.

4. Programme structure

The course is offered in full-time mode over three years. Each academic year consists of two semesters. Progression to the next level is dependent on achieving 120 credits at the previous level.

Sample course structure:
Linear programme structure with a declining core and restricted options
BA Economics

Stage 1
Semester 1 Quantitative Economics 1 Introduction to Economics Britain and the International Economy Foundation Studies Current Economic Issues 1 OPTION
Semester 2 Statistical Analysis for Economists Microeconomics Macroeconomics Economics Workshop 1 Current Economic Issues 2 OPTION

Options: Introduction to Accounting (S1 & S2), Science, Technology and Society (S1), English Legal System (S1), General Principles of Contract Law (S2), Business and Financial History (S2), Language (S1 & S2)

Stage 2
Semester 1 Intermediate Macroeconomics Intermediate Microeconomics Economics Workshop 2 Quantitative Economics 2 OPTION OPTION
Semester 2 Personal and Career Development Introduction to Econometrics OPTION OPTION

Options: Economics of Insurance and Investment (S1), Banking and Financial Structures (S1), Introduction to Environmental Management (S1), Economics of Technical Innovation (S1), Introduction to International Trade (S2), Business Law (S2), Economic Foundations of Investment and Finance (S2), Language (S1 & S2)

Stage 3
Semester 1 Further Macroeconomics OPTION OPTION OPTION OPTION OPTION
Semester 2 Further Microeconomics OPTION OPTION OPTION OPTION OPTION

Options: Regional and Local Economic Analysis (S1), Development of Globalisation (S1), E-Commerce – a Critical Evaluation (S1), International Trade Policy (S1), European Economic Integration (S1), Economics of Corporate Finance (S1), Economics of International Financial Management (S1), Project Appraisal (S1), Project Management (S1), Business Forecasting Using Time-Series Models (S1), Econometric Analysis (S2), Game Theory (S2), Marine Resource Economics (S2), International Banking (S2), Classical and Radical Economic Ideas (S2), Business Finance and the Financial Environment (S2), Economics of Corporate Investment Policy (S2), South American Economies (S2), European Community Law (S2), Discrimination and Conflict in Employment Law (S2), Taxation (S2), Dissertation (S1 & S2), Language (S1 & S2) 

5. Admissions

Entry to Year 1

High School Certificate or Diploma (grades average or GPA xx)
or Form XII (grades over xx%)
or International Baccalaureate (xx pts)
A-level (xx pts) or xxx UCAS Tariff Points
and GCSE Maths (Grade x) or equivalent
English – IELTS x or TOEFL xxx (xxx computer version)
Minimum age xx

6. Progression

Exit Award (3)

BA (Hons) degree – 360 credits
Adv. Dip. HE – 300 credits

Exit Award (2)

Dip. HE – 240 credits (maximum 120 level 1)
Adv. Cert. HE – 180 credits

Exit Award (1)

Cert. HE – 120 credits

7. Key skills mapping

Example: level 1, semester 1, core units only


Key Skills Level 3 (unless stated otherwise)

  Communication Information Technology Application of Number Problem Solving Learning and Performance Working with Others
Unit name C3.1 C3.2 C3.3 C3.4 I3.1 I3.2 I3.3 N3.1 N3.2 N3.3 P3.1 P3.2 P3.3 P3.4 L3.1 L3.2 L3.3 W3.1 W3.2 W3.3
Level 1                                        
Quantitative Economics x x     x     x x x x     x x     x    
Introduction to Economics     x         x x   x         x        
Britain and the International Economy     x         x x   x         x        
Foundation Studies x x x                       x x   x x  
Current Economic Issues 1 x         x                         x  

8. Assessment mapping

Example: level 1, semester 1, core units only

  Coursework Examination
Unit name Total (%) Essay Presentation In-class test Total (%) Mode Duration (hrs)
Level 1              
Quantitative Economics 50     50 50   2
Introduction to Economics 25     25 75   1.5
Britain and the International Economy 40 20 20   60   1.5
Foundation Studies 60 20 20 20 40   1
Current Economic Issues 1 60 30 30   40   1.5

9. Curriculum skills mapping

Example: level 1, semester 1, core units only

Programme outcomes
A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6
x x x x x   x     x x x       x           x x x x x x x
x x x     x       x   x     x x             x   x x x  
x x x     x       x   x     x x             x   x x x  
                              x   x x   x x   x     x x
x x x x x x   x x x x x       x x   x       x x x   x x

10. Support for student learning

Students will have access to university facilities. A wide range of support for student learning is provided, including:

  • an induction programme on entry;
  • library provision;
  • online access to electronic journals and databases;
  • extensive computer facilities, including personal email accounts and access to the internet;
  • academically qualified staff with relevant experience, including research, consultancy and links with industry;
  • access to learning support facilities;
  • pastoral care, with all students having a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor;
  • access for all students to university student counsellors, welfare and careers advice.

11. Evaluation and additional information

a Mechanisms for review and evaluation

  • Unit review
  • External Examiners’ comments and reports
  • Reports to Board of Teachers and Board of Studies
  • Annual Course Report to Department of Economics Departmental Quality Review

b Responsibilities for monitoring and evaluation

  • Course Leader
  • Course Management Team
  • Board of Studies
  • Economics Departmental Quality Review
  • Unit Assessment Board and Award Board of Examiners

c Mechanisms for gaining student feedback

  • Informal feedback from students via unit co-ordinators and personal tutors
  • Formal feedback from individual students via unit evaluation questionnaires and course evaluation forms
  • Formal feedback from student representatives on Staff–Student Consultative Committee and Board of Studies
  • Meetings with external examiners

d Staff development priorities

Identified via:

  • Unit evaluation
  • Meetings of Course Management Team

Additional information may be found in:

  • Course Approval Documents
  • Student Handbook
  • Undergraduate Prospectus
  • Assessment Regulations
  • Quality Assurance Agency Quality Assessment Report
  • Quality Assurance Agency Quality Audit Report
  • University web pages
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