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Economics is the study of how people behave. Every day, people and society are confronted by choices. Should you go to university or start a career? What should you do with your next dollar? Should the government raise the minimum wage, or not? How do we address the big issues in the world such as poverty and climate change?

Choices involve trade-offs where we are choosing between two things. The outcomes of choices have both costs and benefits to consider. Economics is the study of how people and societies make such decisions in the production, exchange, distribution and consumption of goods and services.

Why study Economics at UC?

UC ranks in the top 200 universities in the world for Economics and Econometrics (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017).

At UC, students can specialise in Economics or study it alongside other disciplines. As Economics can be studied as part of an Arts, Commerce or Science degree, you can decide which combination suits your personal strengths and interests best. Common combinations include studying Economics with Finance, Political Science and International Relations, Psychology and Mathematics. Students who wish to combine the study of Economics with another business discipline as part of a BCom degree may be interested in the Business Economics major. 

There is a 'compact study route' available, which is a pathway for students looking to combine Economics with another major or another degree but who have little interest in postgraduate study in the subject. Visit the Department of Economics and Finance for more information on this route. 

The Department of Economics and Finance operates an internship programme where students can have the opportunity to gain real world experience that enhances the valuable work-ready skills that an Economics degree provides. 

While previous study of economics is useful preparation, it is not essential to have studied this subject at secondary school.

Students can study Economics without having to take any mathematics. However, students who wish to keep open the option of progressing to postgraduate study in Economics are strongly advised to include calculus, statistics and modelling in their Year 13 programme.

A broad education, including history and English, is useful to develop the ability to write clearly and analyse written material.

Students with very good Year 13 results in economics may be offered direct entry to 200-level Economics courses at the discretion of the Head of Department.


See all Economics courses

100-level courses

UC offers a major and a minor in Economics as part of the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom).

The first-year, 100-level courses required to complete a BCom majoring in Economics are:

Note: MATH102 Mathematics 1A is recommended if you intend to do postgraduate study in Economics.

For the complete, three-year Bachelor of Commerce Economics major degree plan and minor courses, see the UC Business School website.

200-level and beyond

Students who wish to major in Economics are required to take Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Macroeconomics. Econometrics is also required for postgraduate study. Your other course choices should be determined by your interests and strengths and there are a range of options to choose from.

Career opportunities

Graduates in Economics find employment in many areas of government and business, where it is recognised that an economist's education provides valuable specialist training for a professional career as well as good general preparation and background for an executive, entrepreneurial or administrative career.

The increasingly large volume of information available to decision makers has created a demand for people with well-developed quantitative analysis skills, such as those developed in econometrics.

Professional economists are employed to conduct research and give advice on economic matters in various organisations such as government ministries and state-owned enterprises (eg, Treasury, Health, Social Development, Agriculture and Forestry, and Foreign Affairs and Trade). Graduates also find work in marketing organisations, the Reserve Bank, Stats New Zealand, trading and merchant banks, stockbroking, insurance, trade commissions, local authorities, market research and other consultancies, and large businesses.

Those who are passionate about economics and education can also go on to teaching careers in schools or universities.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Economics.

More information

Department of Economics and Finance 

Phone +64 3 369 3888

Reception Level 2, Business and Law building - see campus maps

Postal address
College of Business and Law | Te Rāngai Umanga me te Ture 
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Richard Yap

Richard Yap

'I really want to make a difference...'

Sarah Reeves

Sarah Reeves

'Doing postgraduate study was definitely worthwhile...'