Economics and Politics

BSc (Hons)

Want to study some of the most challenging, controversial and real-world issues facing governments, business and the wider society today?

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (contextual offer)

Duration

4 years with integrated placement year (international students may opt out of the placement year)

UCAS code(s)

LL12

Start date

Course overview

Studying BSc (Hons) Economics and Politics at Aston University will equip you with a profound understanding of economics, global politics and where they intersect, fostering critical thinking and practical skills.

You will gain a strong foundation in economic concepts, theories and principles. You will explore political topics going beyond the UK and Europe, covering Africa, Asia and North America. You will gain a profound understanding of a wide range of political and economic issues, and equip yourself with a range of tools needed to solve complex economic problems, and develop research and analytical skills, providing you with a portfolio of highly relevant, adaptable skills that are transferable across whatever career path you choose. By becoming a hybrid professional who can navigate the domains of economics and politics, our programme is your gateway to a dynamic and rewarding career.

You will be taught by research-active staff who are experts in their respective fields and who constantly update their teaching based on the newest research findings.

The integrated placement year will bridge the gap between theory and practice, and provide you with invaluable real-world experiences in the UK or abroad, equipping you with the skills and insights you need for a range of professional roles within business, government or advocacy.
 

Victoria Rogers Economics and Politics graduate

“The main thing that stood out about studying at Aston [University] was the ability to take a four-year course with an integrated placement year. I was able to study a subject I was passionate about as well as securing an awesome placement at Microsoft!”

Victoria Rogers
BSc (Hons) Economics and Politics
Customer success manager, Microsoft UK

Why Economics and Politics at Aston University?

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Our academics are clear
100% of students felt that teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (Economics and Politics; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Recognised for quality
Aston Business School is proud to be among 1% of business schools worldwide with triple accreditation
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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
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Safe in our hands
Politics at Aston University was ranked 5th in the UK for ‘Graduate Prospects – On Track’ (Complete University Guide, 2023)
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66th in the world
We’ve been ranked as 66th in the world for business and management studies (QS World University Rankings By Subject 2024)

Course description

BSc (Hons) Economics and Politics

Our BSc (Hons) Economics and Politics degree at Aston University will offer you a fascinating insight into the political and economic challenges facing our society in the 21st century, giving you a great springboard for your future career. 

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What we will provide
First class teaching in the UK’s second largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you. You will benefit from applied learning, research-informed teaching and authentic assessment. Our teaching staff include co-authors of a leading economics textbook used by most UK universities, and many are recognised with awards for teaching and economics.

We are also an Adobe Creative Campus meaning you will have access to top-notch software licenses, including Adobe and Solidworks, commonly used in industry.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies – understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, a passion to learn and an ambition and drive to excel. A willingness to ask questions and take risks.

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What skills we teach
We teach both theory and practical application, helping you understand the usefulness of theoretical tools and how to apply them in real-life professional contexts. You will develop key analytical and critical thinking skills, enabling you to address big questions on the challenges facing governments, business and the wider society. 

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Placement year
We all know that taking a placement year will boost your employability – it’s what makes Aston University graduates some of the most employable in the country. It’s for this reason that we encourage every student to take one. The placement year gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills.

The placement year is compulsory for BSc (Hons) Economics and Politics students. International students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.

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Career prospects
As an Aston University Economics and Politics graduate, you will be equipped for a range of different career options. Our recent graduates have gone on to work across the public, private and third sectors for organisations including: Amazon, Network Rail, Ministry of Defence and the Office for National Statistics.

How you will learn

Our teaching approach is both modern and innovative. Alongside traditional lectures and training in the latest analytical tools, you'll gain valuable hands-on experience during your placement, enhancing your overall learning. At the beginning of your course, you'll be assigned a personal tutor for individual study guidance. Module tutors are readily available to answer questions, and all lectures are recorded for future reference.

Our emphasis is on practical knowledge application, with guest lectures from prominent business leaders and mentoring programs offering unique insights. Our renowned Visiting Professors, top UK business figures, share their expertise and expectations from students and graduates.

Complementing traditional teaching, our virtual learning environment provides electronic support materials. You'll have access to the University Library's extensive collection of over 25,000 books and electronic journals. University-wide services like the careers service, Jobshop, counselling and advice services, sports facilities, and Chaplaincy enhance your overall university experience and prepare you for your professional career.

Aston University also offers an array of extracurricular activities, including clubs and societies like Aston Economics Society, which enhances career prospects and networking with employers while fostering a tight-knit community through social events, from club outings to off-campus trips and sports activities.

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of industry and individuals, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of global and national economic and political challenges facing our society. You will develop the ability to critically analyse complex issues and will be equipped to tackle the challenges of a diverse and evolving world.

First year

In your first year, you will build a strong foundation in economics and politics. You will discover introductory concepts and research methods, investigate contemporary politics, explore how today’s political landscape was formed, and engage with current affairs to grasp real-world applications.

Second year

Building upon the foundations learned in your first year, in your second year you will delve deeper into concepts and theories of economics and politics. You will analyse political ideas, institutions and systems, and you will grow your understanding of both micro- and macroeconomics, whilst developing your independence and communication skills.

Placement year

The Aston University placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills. Our award-winning careers and placements team are on hand to support you through every step of your placement journey.

Final year

In your final year, you will master advanced economics and politics concepts, demonstrating in-depth knowledge and critical evaluation skills. You will also complete a research dissertation on a topic of your choice, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods.

Krina Shah

My graduate role at Atos

Krina Shah choose Economics and Politics at Aston University due to the interdisciplinary nature of the course, and the fact she could complete a compulsory placement year.

Course objectives

  1. Delivers an intellectually rigorous and up-to-date education in politics and economics which will help you to achieve your personal, academic and professional goals.
  2. Develops an ability to analyse and understand political problems, socio-cultural change and political institutions and structures.
  3. Stimulates you intellectually through the study of economics and leads you to appreciate its application to a range of problems and its relevance in a variety of contexts.
  4. Benefits you from relevant industrial experience or study abroad through a placement year.
  5. Develops your analytical skills and ability to develop simplifying frameworks for studying the real world.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Introduction to Studying and Researching Politics30
British Politics since 199015
Principles of Microeconomics15
Principles of Macroeconomics15
Mathematics for Economics15
Political Economy and Industrial Policy15
Total105

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
The Making of the Modern World15
Introduction to the European Union15
What’s Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Year 1 outcomes

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the nature and significance of politics and international relations as human activities in national, regional/European and international or global frameworks.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic theories and methods used in the study of politics as applied to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the core principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics.
  • Present, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative data, in order to develop lines of argument and make sound judgements in accordance with basic theories and concepts of politics and economics.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving political and economic problems.
  • Communicate the results of your study/work accurately and reliably, with structured and coherent arguments.
  • Collaborate effectively with others to achieve common goals.
  • Demonstrate experience in working independently and managing time.

Year 2 modules

In your second year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Comparative Government and Politics15
Introduction to Political Economy: Institutions and Rational Choice15
Intermediate Macroeconomics15
Intermediate Microeconomics15
Quantitative Methods15
Total75

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Politics and Society of the Middle East15
West European Politics and Society15
North American Politics and Society15
East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan15
South Asian Politics and Society15

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
The Politics and Policies of the European Union15
Political Theories and Ideologies15

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
International Business Economics15
Markets, Games and Strategy15
Sports, Economics and Finance15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Year 2 outcomes

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of the theories of politics and economics as applied to the analysis of political and economic idea, institutions and practices.
  • Apply macro and microeconomic principles to economic policy.
  • Demonstrate understanding of different national and regional/European political systems; the nature and distribution of power in them; the social, economic, historical and cultural context with which they operate, and the relationships between them.
  • Apply the concepts and principles of political science and economics in contexts outside of which they were first studied, including an employment context.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the relevant statistical analyses and develop relevant quantitative and computing techniques and their application to real economic data.
  • Use established techniques to construct reasoned argument, gather and synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement.
  • Communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management skills.

Placement year modules

You will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement year

Module TitleCredits
Integrated Placement Year120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

  • Apply your knowledge, skills and competencies within a real work-based situation, or in a foreign context.
  • Manage your future learning and reflect upon your own learning and development.
  • Reflect on the practical applications of subject knowledge.

Final year modules

In your final year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Research skills and Economics and Politics Dissertation30
Further Topics in Macroeconomics15
Further Topics in Microeconomics15
Total60

You will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day15
America in the World15
The American Presidency15
Chinese Politics and Society15
Conflict and Intervention15
Diplomacy and Soft Power15
EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games15
Gender and Politics15
Interest Groups and Lobbying15
Politics and Islam: Past and Present15
Politics and Protest in a Globalised World15
Politics of Development15
Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe15
Sport and Politics15
Technology and Digital Politics15
The International Relations of East Asia15
The Populist Radical Right in Europe15
Debates in Contemporary British Politics15
Political Parties15

You will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Environmental Economics15
International Trade15
Competition Policy15
Behavioural Economics15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Final year outcomes

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic and critical knowledge of the key theories, methods and applications of political science and economics.
  • Identify a research question and design, execute a report on an empirically based research project.
  • Evaluate critically and comment on advanced political science and economics scholarship.
  • Develop quantitative and qualitative skills required to make assessments of the economic and political environment.
  • Exercise personal initiative and responsibility, and make informal decisions in complex and unpredictable context.
  • Communicate ideas, problems, solutions and research results effectively to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

We regularly review our modules to provide the best possible teaching and learning experience, incorporating academic developments, student feedback and employer feedback.

There may be some change to some of the modules on this course for 2025/26 entry.

We’ll make sure to let you know of any changes to modules at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. 
 
We’ll do our best to provide as much optional choice as we can, but timetabling constraints may mean it isn’t possible to take some module combinations. The structure of some courses means that the order of modules or the streams you choose may determine whether modules are core or optional. This means that your core modules or options may differ from what’s shown here.


 

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBC (standard offer)
    BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)
    BCC (contextual offer)

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that are equivalent to three full A2 Levels.

29 points overall in the IB diploma with grades 5,5,4 in 3 higher level subjects.

 You must also have Standard Level grade 5 in both Mathematics and English Language

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3.

You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction.

Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.

 

The following T Levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Production, Design and Production - grade D
  • Education and Childcare - grade D
  • Onsite Construction - grade D
  • Building Services Engineering for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Business Services - grade D
  • Digital Support Services - grade D
  • Health - grade D
  • Healthcare Science - grade D
  • Science - grade D
  • Accounting - grade D
  • Finance - grade D
  • Management and administration - grade D
  • Design and development for engineering and manufacturing - grade D 
  • Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing - grade D
  • Legal Services - grade D 

5 GCSE grades A*/9 – C/4 to include:

  • GCSE Maths – grade B/5
  • GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4
Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a first year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have successfully passed (or be expected to pass) your first year with 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university with very similar module content. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 3 entry onwards: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3 or final year. 

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£18,250
During placement year:£2,500

Fees listed are for 2024 entry. For Sandwich courses the placement fee is £1250 for Home/UK students and £2,500 for International students. For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies. For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Explore our scholarships 

Assessment

You will be assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations, class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments. Special emphasis will be placed on authentic assessment.

Career prospects

Our BSc (Hons) Economics and Politics programme will prepare you for a range of careers across the public, private and third sectors. Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, according to the 2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO). This data shows that five years after graduation, employed Aston University graduates have the 15th highest median salary among all UK Higher Education Institutions, with a median salary of £36,100.

The transferable skills that our economics and politics programmes provide mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

  • Business consultant
  • Economist
  • Strategy and transactions analyst
  • Financial consultant
  • Parliamentary assistant
  • Teacher
  • Project manager
  • Ministerial officer
  • Performance analyst

Our graduates have gone on to work at companies such the Civil Service, KPMG, Deloitte, Accenture, Santander, Amazon, Atos, PwC, Office for National Statistics and Microsoft.

L'myah Sherae - Politics and Sociology graduate

One of the best decisions I made

L’myah Sherae knew she wanted to work in race relations and politics from a young age. She completed her placement year at the Houses of Parliament and now runs her own political campaigns company.

Our students achieve some amazing things during their time with us and after they graduate - whether it's setting up their own businesses, landing competitive graduate schemes, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates

Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.
 

Frequently asked questions

Why study economics?

You won’t just learn about the theories, models and methods of economics, you’ll get real-world examples and practical experience within your placement year, helping you to develop your understanding and skill set to prepare you for your career.

Our economics programmes have been specifically designed with industry to meet the growing demand for economics graduates with the right skillset. This means you’ll learn about economic theories, building on your analytical and mathematical skills, but you’ll also develop the skills to communicate complex theories to non-specialists, in order to apply knowledge to real-world settings.

Why study politics or international relations?

Why study politics and international relations? Dr Laura Southgate, a lecturer at Aston University, explains the benefits of studying this discipline.

Read more

 

How will a placement year benefit me?

Whether you choose to study abroad or do a work placement, Aston University’s links with employers and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.

Our work placements give you the opportunity to apply what you have learnt on your course while gaining valuable professional and paid experience. It can enhance your graduate employment prospects and help you to make more informed career decisions. Around one in five of our placement students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

Find out more

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

 

Register your interest