Few disciplines seek to understand such complex and multilayered systems as does economics.
With concerns ranging from the relatively simple household budget to the ever-changing geopolitical relationships between the nations of the world, economists must develop incredibly complex models and theories to describe and predict the flow of goods, labor, and wealth through the various actors and markets in the world.
Further adding to the complexity and challenges of the discipline, the history of economic thought is rife with competing and conflicting theories that intersect with political ideologies and give rise to globe-spanning controversies and conflicts.
An understanding of these competing schools of thought is necessary in order to trace the forces and choices throughout history that have led to the modern world.
World-famous figures like Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes are just some of the many thinkers behind the multitude of schools of economic thought that seek to describe the interactions and exchanges of individual humans and major societies alike.
Few countries have played such a critical role in both producing economic thinkers and as the site of economic models as has the United Kingdom.
With the founder of the classical school of economic thought, Adam Smith, hailing from Scotland, and Great Britain as an example of the advanced economies Karl Marx predicted would give rise to socialism, it comes as no surprise that many of the best economics schools are found in the UK.
Below are our picks for the ten best economics schools in the United Kingdom. This ranking was made according to where each school places on the Guardian’s List of the Best Economics Schools in the UK in 2022.
10. Durham University
The business school at Durham University offers five different Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics, ranging from economics and management to philosophy, politics, and economics.
Each of these degree options takes three years to complete and prepare students for the next phase of their economic education or career.
Each of the degree tracks provide multiple opportunities for students to learn in small classes or one-on-one with the course tutor.
As the degree course progresses, a greater emphasis is placed on individual research, culminating in a dissertation project.
Durham University offers four Master of Science degrees in economics.
The different degree programs allow graduate students to focus on specific aspects of the field, such as natural resources and the environment, public economics, and experimental economics.
For those interested in further research in economics, the school offers a PhD program in economics and finance.
9. University of Strathclyde
Strathclyde University’s business school offers undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue an honors-level Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.
The internships and experience to be gained at the department’s Fraser of Allander Institute make Strathclyde’s economics program an attractive option for many aspiring economists.
The triple-accredited business school provides students the opportunity to learn from real-world problems in business through its Management Development Program for the first three years of study, while the fourth year of study has students produce a dissertation after performing extensive research on a topic in economics.
Graduate students at Strathclyde can further develop their knowledge, skills, and marketability through one of its three Master of Science programs, or by pursuing a PhD in the economics department.
Master’s degrees in applied economics, finance and economics, and economics and policy of energy and climate change prepare future leaders to wrestle the large-scale challenges facing the world.
8. University College London
The economics department at University College London makes use of its research-based education and Centre for Teaching and Learning Economics to provide its undergraduate students with a leading economics education.
Economics students at the school choose from three Bachelor of Science degree programs to complete their undergraduate studies.
Students may complete the regular course of study in three years, or take an additional year before graduating to study abroad or work with an outside organization to broaden their understanding of the field.
In addition to the three Bachelor of Science degrees, the department works with many other departments across the university to offer a range of joint degrees.
The Master of Science in Economics program at University College London is a one-year program that is capped with a dissertation.
7. London School of Economics
Aspiring economists have an excellent range of opportunities to study at the London School of Economics, as the name suggests.
The multitude of Bachelor of Science degree programs at the school couple the study of economics with other disciplines such as history, philosophy, politics, geography, and mathematics.
Many of these programs can be taken at the home campus or from abroad, and are expected to take three years to complete.
In keeping with the multitude of options available for undergraduates, graduate students in economics have a plethora of choices as well.
Those interested in economic research will pursue a Master of Philosophy with the option to move into the PhD program, while those interested in applied economics will choose from one of the many Master of Science degrees in economics and related fields.
6. University of Warwick
Economics students at the undergraduate level in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick have the choice of pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics, a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Industrial Organization, or an interdisciplinary program in economics, politics, and international studies.
These courses of studies can lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, depending on what the student chooses to emphasize in the course.
The school’s economics department further offers a number of joint degrees with other departments in the school, allowing students to gain an education in economics while pursuing studies in fields such as language, philosophy, and psychology.
The University of Warwick provides four Master of Science degrees in economics, allowing students to specialize their degrees in specific areas like finance and behavioral science.
5. University of Glasgow
The Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow is accredited by the three major business school accreditation bodies: EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA.
With such prestigious backing, any economics student at the school can rest assured that they are receiving a top-tier education at the university.
Students studying business at the university will take four years to earn a Master of Arts (with Honours) and may study abroad for a year at one of the many schools partnered with the University of Glasgow.
These students are offered a wide range of specializations through the school, allowing them to tailor their education to the specific area of the field they wish to enter.
Those aspiring to continue their education in economics will be enticed by the school’s Master of Research opportunity in the field.
The program offers students the choice of graduating in one year with a Master of Science in Quantitative Economics degree or continuing for a second year in preparation for a PhD.
4. University of Stirling
Offering two honors undergraduate courses of study in economics, the University of Stirling provides students the opportunity to graduate with a specific focus in economics, or a broader education in politics, philosophy, and economics.
Students in either program may take three or four years to earn their Bachelor of Arts degree with honors.
Both the Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics programs offer opportunities to study abroad and can be taken as full-time or part-time.
The Bachelor of Arts in Economics course allows students to combine it with a range of other courses of study, while the Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics course requires students to specialize within the program.
Upon completion of an undergraduate course of study in economics, students at the University of Stirling may pursue a Master of Philosophy in Economics or earn a PhD in the same field.
3. University of St. Andrews
The University of St. Andrews provides students of economics multiple options for attaining a degree.
Those with a scientific background will be interested in pursuing the school’s Bachelor of Science degree, while students who wish to incorporate a background in the arts will be enticed by its Master of Arts degree.
Regardless of the degree path chosen, students in either program will study the same content and have the choice to add additional subjects to their studies through the school’s joint-degree option.
Students who wish to continue their education in applied economics can choose from three Master of Science degrees in economics, finance and economics, and finance, while those who wish to contribute further research in the field can pursue a PhD in one of the school’s four main thematic areas.
2. Oxford University
The world-renowned Oxford University regularly ranks as one of the globally leading institutions of higher learning, and its Economics Department is no different.
The department combines history, philosophy, politics, and management with the study of economics to offer three different degree courses to its students.
Students attaining one of the three Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degrees from the institution know that they have received one of the best educations in economics among any in the world.
Each of the three degrees is earned over the course of three years and prepares students for further education in the field if they so desire.
Graduate students of economics at the university have the choice of pursuing Master of Philosophy, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees across a wide range of courses combining economics with other fields of study.
1. University of Cambridge
Another of the world’s most prestigious universities, the University of Cambridge holds among its list of previous faculty members such notable scholars of economics as John Maynard Keynes and Alfred Marshall.
Undergraduate students of economics have a range of options of study, all of which culminate in a Bachelor of Arts degree after three years in the program.
Upon completion of undergraduate study, students can pursue Master of Philosophy degrees in preparation for professional careers in economics or research and academia.
For those who wish to enter professional fields, the Master of Philosophy in Economics and Master of Philosophy in Finance and Economics degrees provide the necessary technical expertise for success.
The Master of Philosophy in Economic Research course is a year-long program of study that prepares students to complete their studies with the school’s PhD in Economics.