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Economics (Graduate Diploma)

This specialist conversion course fills a critical gap in the market for postgraduate training in economics. If you have an undergraduate degree in another subject area but wish to switch to economics, this course will help you do that - without requiring you to sign up to a full undergraduate degree. 

You do 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 toolkit for studying economics. This rigorous and intensive training, spread over one or two years, will enable you to compete on equal terms with students graduating with undergraduate degrees in economics.

We now also offer the Graduate Diploma in Economics through online study, supported by handouts and video recording of classroom lectures via our online platform, Moodle. The course structure and assessment methods are identical to those for students who take the course face-to-face, with written examinations either in Birkbeck, or, by arrangement, at a wide range of sites throughout the world.

To succeed as an online student, you must be well organised, highly motivated and proactive in tracking the material. Access to your instructors is the main asset we offer, so you should be ready to actively maintain contact with your lecturers and class teachers via email or Skype.

The Graduate Diploma is an undergraduate-level qualification. Upon completing the programme, a significant proportion of students exit directly to the job market. Other students use this programme as a preparation for an MSc in economics or related disciplines.

The one-year full-time route offers rapid progression to a high degree of economic literacy and has been specifically designed for people working full-time; students who prefer to spread the course over a longer period should apply for the two-year part-time route which has a lighter workload.

Highlights

  • This is an ideal conversion programme if you have a degree in another subject and need the skills of an economics graduate in your work, or want to study economics at Master's level. (Many of our students require a level of economic knowledge in their jobs that is usually acquired at an undergraduate level, as they work for City institutions, the Bank of England, government departments and economic regulators.)
  • Our September pre-sessional courses will provide you with an accelerated revision of core mathematics skills, as they start at - roughly - GCSE level, but progress very rapidly to more advanced techniques.
  • 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.
  • You can choose to study this course by distance learning, as a purely online course. See a short video to give you an idea of what to expect.
  • We aim to video record all lectures, and all course materials are made available online, so you can access them when you need them.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), more than half of our research outputs in Economics were ranked world-leading or internationally excellent.

Course structure

You take the following four modules, plus pre-sessional classes in September.

Online students access teaching materials and video recordings of lectures via our online platform, Moodle, and actively maintain contact with lecturers via email or Skype.

Module groups

Students with a suitable technical background may be able to supplement the Graduate Diploma with the course Topics in Mathematical Economics and Econometrics, for which there will be an additional fee.

 

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    At least a 2:2 degree in any discipline or equivalent.

    The one-year full-time programme usually requires a 2:1.

    Evidence of aptitude for mathematical and statistical analysis is advantageous.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £4200 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £8400 pa
    Part-time international students: £6150 pa
    Full-time international students: £12300 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures and classes. Private study forms a crucial part of the learning process.

    A key feature of this programme is its specially tailored lectures. This is in contrast to most other UK universities offering equivalent qualifications, where lectures are usually taken from existing undergraduate programmes.

    If you choose to study by distance learning, you will have access to teaching materials and video recordings of lectures on our online platform, Moodle.

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Mostly by unseen written examination. Each module, except Topics in Mathematical Economics and Econometrics, includes some assessment based on in-class or online tests. Applied Statistics and Econometrics is assessed by examination (70%) and project (30%).

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue a career in banking and finance, the public sector, industry, and research and analysis. Possible professions include economist, financial risk analyst, statistician, or management consultant. This degree can also be useful in becoming an actuary, Civil Service fast streamer or local government officer.

    Our Careers and Employability Service can help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please note that online application will open in September 2018.

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    Birkbeck Orientation is on Saturday 28 September 2019 and is a great way to start your studies - find out more about what's happening during Orientation. You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.