Economics (Graduate Diploma)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2017


Central London


Fully Approved


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time


3-4 evenings a week full-time or 2 evenings a week part-time, September to June

Our Graduate Diploma in Economics and its new pathway, the Graduate Diploma in Quantitative Economics, fill a critical gap in the market for postgraduate training in economics. If you have an undergraduate degree in another subject area - however distant from economics - but wish to switch to economics, the Graduate Diploma in Economics and the Graduate Diploma in Quantitative Economics are specifically designed to allow you to do just that, without spending three or four years studying for a second undergraduate degree.

They provide rigorous and intensive training, spread over one or two years, after which you will be able to compete on equal terms with students graduating with undergraduate degrees in economics.

Many of our students require a level of economic knowledge in their jobs that is usually acquired at an undergraduate level; many of them work for City institutions, the Bank of England, government departments and economic regulators. This Graduate Diploma provides them with a sound knowledge of the core analytical tools of economics, coupled with some training in econometrics - the statistical side of the discipline.

The Graduate Diploma in Quantitative Economics is designed for students who wish to go on to Master's-level study, with the ultimate ambition of becoming a professional economist, whether in the private or public sector, or an academic economist (which requires further study to PhD level). Many students go on to MSc and MPhil/PhD programmes at Birkbeck and other top UK universities.

Uniquely, this programme provides training specifically designed for such students. All modules on the programme are designed carefully around targeted, accelerated learning, in contrast to conversion courses in other universities that simply offer modules that are already part of other undergraduate programmes.

This programme is also available for distance-learners, as a purely online course. For both face-to-face and online students, all lectures are made available on video, and all course materials are also available online.

You will not need any prior training in the subject. The programme will give you a thorough grounding in the fundamental ideas and methods of modern economics, and you will learn to apply economic reasoning to practical problems. Crucially, you will also develop the necessary mathematical and statistical tool-kit for studying economics.

A background in a mathematical discipline is an advantage, but not essential; pre-sessional courses beginning in September provide an accelerated revision of core mathematics skills, starting at roughly GCSE level, but progressing very rapidly to more advanced techniques.

All students will be admitted to the Graduate Diploma in Economics in the first instance, but you will be offered the opportunity to transfer to the Graduate Diploma in Quantitative Economics. This includes an additional module that introduces you to more technical material and bridges the gap between undergraduate and postgraduate study in economics.

The 1-year programme is taught exclusively in the evenings and is, thus, open to students in full-time employment, but the programme proceeds at an intense pace and the workload is very heavy, so this option is usually only pursued by students with a strongly quantitative background. The more common route is to take the programme over two years, with the first year focused primarily on quantitative training. All students have the option of being considered for the intensive 1-year route, though, based on their performance in the mid-term tests in week 6 of the first term of the programme.

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Why study this course at Birkbeck?

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Course structure

You take the following four modules, plus preliminary classes in September.

Students on the 1-year full-time programme take all of the modules in a single year.

Some part-time students may be allowed to vary the order in which modules are taken over the two years, in consultation with the Programme Director.

Read more about modules
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