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Economics A Level at Sandwell College

Course description

If you are interested in world events and your environment you will find Economics an interesting and useful subject and the topics covered in class will provide you with a greater insight into current affairs and economic issues. Economics is the study of how economies work and why they sometimes fail to work effectively. Among the areas of study are: the function of markets, competition and monopolies, why size matters, why some economies grow and others are stuck in poverty, how the British Economy works and how and why the government influences it, what determines the level of wages, why women earn less than men, pollution and the destruction of the environment, why unemployment still occurs, the benefits of international trade and Globalisation, the Single European Currency and the European Union.

Course content

Like all A Levels, Economics is taught over two years with the AS Level being taught in the first year and the A2 in the second year.

First year units:

Unit 1: Markets and Market Failure Many modern economies, such as the UK, are capitalist systems which rely on the free market to distribute scarce resources. However, the market is not perfect and this unit studies how markets operate and how governments deal with market failures such as unemployment and pollution.

Unit 2: The National Economy Britain has the sixth largest economy in the world but the recent recession has prompted questions about how well balanced the British economy is. Do we rely too much on banking and services? Why do we import more manufactured goods than we export?

Second Year Units:

Unit 3: Business Economics and the Distribution of Income How do businesses operate? How is income distributed in the British economy and is it fair? Why do women earn less money than men, and is an unequal distribution of income a natural and healthy consequence of a capitalist economy?

Unit 4: The National and International Economy We live in an increasingly globalised world in which the UK economy is closely linked in with those of other countries. What happens in the US or Japan impacts on the British economy. The balance of the world economy is also changing with Brazil, India and China becoming more important and this will have far reaching consequences.

Entry requirements

All A Level students need to have five GCSEs A*-C in academic subjects including GCSE English at grade B or above. Due to the content of Economics you will also need GCSE Maths at grade B or above.

There are no additional qualifications required to study Economics and you do not need to have any prior knowledge of the subject. Indeed, many students who did not choose Economics as their first subject at college subsequently went on to study it at university. In order to progress from AS to A2 you will need a D grade at AS.


The assessment takes place in a variety of ways, including essays, multi-choice questions and case studies. However, to be successful in this subject it is just as important to follow world events related to Economics as it is to attend class and write assignments.

Future opportunities

Students might go on to careers in: Accountancy, Banking, Business, Civil Service, Insurance, Journalism, Management, Marketing, Media, Fund Management, Retailing, and the Financial Services. Graduates with degrees in Economics are among the very highest paid.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sandwell College directly.

Last updated date: 01 June 2016

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