Economics 1A

Economics 1A

Course description

Economics 1A, together with Economics 1B, teaches the basic principles of economics.  Economics 1A focuses on the fundamental principles and microeconomics, i.e.  the role of the market mechanism for resource allocation followed by considerations of its limitations. Some optional mathematical content is delivered as part of this course for students who have not studied Maths to Higher/ A Level or equivalent (typically 5-6 years of secondary education), which is important for students intending to pursue the subject at level 2. 


The general aims of this course are to:

  • provide an overall introduction to economics as being principally concerned with dealing with the problems of the allocation of scarce resources and insights into how the concept of ‘opportunity cost’ is reflected in economist’s view of the world;
  • to enhance the understanding of the economic aspects of current affairs; 
  • provide a foundation for further study of economics;
  • encourage you to take responsibility for your own learning (self-directed learning), and to acquire skills relevant to a wide range of situations beyond this course: how to think analytically, to express yourself clearly and directly.


Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. analyse and explain opportunity cost and how the market mechanism allocates scarce resources  i.e. supply and demand analysis;
  2. explain consumer behaviour utilising the framework of budget lines and indifference curves;
  3. deploy graphical techniques and basic algebra to illustrate analyse and explain economic phenomena e.g. the interpretation of the different market conditions under which companies decide upon their optimal pricing and output decisions;
  4. explain the role and function of the main factor markets;
  5. explain the various forms of market failure and the role and rationale for government intervention and its impacts;
  6. demonstrate an ability to construct a focused argument based on coherent general economic principles that address contemporary microeconomic issues;
  7. demonstrate skills based on data interpretation and numeracy;
  8. explain economic issues, problems and solutions to non-economists. 


Learning and teaching methods

Lectures: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays (and occasionally Wednesday) 1400-1500 and repeated at 1500-1600.

Tutorials are held at various times and can be selected on MyCampus.

The course also includes 6 hours of lectures and 3 seminars on Introductory Mathematical Economics (IME).  This component is optional and will be particularly important for students who have not studied Mathematics to Higher, A Level or equivalent.  Following enrolment, students will be able to take a short test which will help them to decide whether or not to attend classes for this component.


Course texts

Paul Krugman and Robin Wells (2015). Economics, 4th Edition, Worth Publishers.



A 1-hour In-Course Exam (November) (In-Course exams may be scheduled for 1730 depending on venue availability within the University) (25%)
A 2-hour degree exam (December) (75%)


Introductory Mathematical Economics (ECON9004)

This is an optional course, containing 6 hours of lectures and 3 seminars, for students who have not studied Mathematics to Higher Grade, A Level or equivalent. The lectures will be held on Fridays at 2pm-3pm from 9 October until 6 November and there is a choice of seminar groups which are held at various times.


Students, particularly those with non-UK qualifications, can determine whether or not they should enroll in the course by completing a short online test in Moodle (, Introductory Mathematical Economics section), where you will also find more information about the topics covered.  You can access Moodle following enrolment in Economics 1A (allow 24 hours from time of enrolment for Moodle access). 


The deadline for enrolment in the course is Monday 3, October.  You should enroll on MyCampus by looking for the course in the course catalogue, using the code ECON 9004.


Please email with any questions about this course.