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Economics (Graduate Diploma)

Course Description

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 3 or 4 years studying for a second undergraduate degree. They provide rigorous and intensive training, spread over 1 or 2 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 2 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.

Visit the Economics (Graduate Diploma) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Emma Whiteacre

4013.jpg Emma has really progressed in her career since studying at Birkbeck. Her employer paid part of her course fees, and she has now progressed to a more senior role.
'I'm sure I wouldn't have got this new job without my master's. Birkbeck gives you the chance to achieve something concrete with your free time. I feel proud of what I achieved.

'It's really fulfilling to do something that stretches you and opens up new opportunities.'

(Student Profile)

Maria Veronica Porro

4074.jpg Paraguayan student Maria Veronica Porro won a Chevening scholarship to come and study at Birkbeck. She had already studied for her undergraduate degree in the United States and explains: ‘I wanted to diversify my academic experience and try a different system. As I was studying an MSc Financial Economics, it made sense to study in a financial hub like London. Furthermore, the fact that Birkbeck classes are taught in the evening meant that many of my fellow classmates were already working in financial economics during the daytime and studying with me in the evening. It provided me with a good opportunity to interact and network with people working in my field. By talking to my classmates I was able to get a good insight into the everyday life of a full-time financial economist. That was helpful in deciding what career path to take after my studies.’

‘Birkbeck gives students access to top lecturers and guest speakers. I decided to become an economist because of Muhammad Yunus and his book Banker to the Poor. While I was at Birkbeck I had the opportunity to attend a conference where my role model Yunus was speaking. It was a wonderful experience to be able to meet him and listen to his views about microfinance and his experience as the founder of the Grameen Bank. A city like London can provide you with the possibility of meeting outstanding leaders not only in economics but in many other fields.’

‘I am currently working at the newly re-opened British Embassy in my city, Asuncion, as Prosperity and Project Officer. Two decisive factors that UK diplomats took into account when hiring me were: my studies at Birkbeck and my experience as a Chevening scholar.’

‘My studies at Birkbeck have also been instrumental in helping me with my current job. Courses such as econometrics and research work like my dissertation provided me with analytical skills. Leading on economic reporting and analysis of business and investment climate in Paraguay is a pivotal part of my job. For example, I am now able to write economic reports describing the trends in terms of the trade balance between my country and the UK. More importantly, I am able to analyse the components of this trend and to predict them.’

(Student Profile)

Diogo Luis

4106.jpg 'I first heard about Birkbeck through a colleague of mine at work. When I moved to England (from Portugal) I always wanted get a degree, and this was the best place for me as it allowed me to work and study at the same time. I studied a Graduate Diploma in Economics, as I worked in Computer Science and wanted to broaden my career opportunities. I like economics and it gave me something extra on my CV, also showing that I could speak English well and attain a degree in London.

'The reputation of Birkbeck and the University of London was very important to me. In Portugal part-time degrees have quite bad reputations, so that was my preconception until I read the Birkbeck website and spoke to my colleague about the advantages of studying at Birkbeck.
There was a three year gap between my earlier undergraduate degree and my Diploma. I did all of my initial qualifications straight after school with no gap year. Being older and having worked, I think you start to understand what is important much better, and also know what you want out of your life.

'Whilst studying, I was working as a developer in a niche consultancy that does project programme management. Being a developer has the advantage of being quite flexible and also working close by meant that it was really easy combine studying and working.

'The pressure of studying was mostly time-related. I worked more than eight hours a day, so all of my weekends were taken up with studying. I did the full time course which was three evenings a week, but the studying was not overwhelming, as long as you can find the time.

'I have already recommended Birkbeck to others and encouraged at least two people who are now studying at Birkbeck. The kind of quality and format of the degree should exist all over Europe.'


Entry Requirements

At least a 2:2 degree in any discipline or equivalent.The 1-year full-time intensive programme usually requires a 2:1 and some prior mathematical training.Evidence of aptitude for mathematical and statistical analysis is advantageous. 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.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3500 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 6975 pa

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