Why study economics?

Many of the great issues confronting societies nationally and globally require trade-offs between conflicting objectives. This is the essence of economics, which is a core component of the social sciences.

What you will learn


Courses and requirements for the major and minor are designed to provide a broad but thorough appreciation of modern economics and also allow you to pursue your own interests in more specialised aspects of economics. Emphasis is placed on attaining competence in economic analysis and its application to real-world issues.

Stage I courses provide a broad introduction to economic thinking and an overview of micro and macroeconomics. Courses at Stage II and III build on this foundation and examine topics in more detail and in more specialised fields.

Studying at postgraduate level will allow you to extend your knowledge and analytical ability and to develop valuable research skills by conducting research projects under the guidance of academic staff.

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Areas of study


You can study all the main areas of economics. Microeconomics is about decision making by individual consumers and firms, and about how resources are priced and allocated through markets. Macroeconomics is about outcomes for an economy as a whole, and so is concerned with variables such as income, growth, wealth, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and exchange rates. Microeconomics and macroeconomics are also concerned with the interaction between government policies and market outcomes.

When you undertake postgraduate study in Economics you will take advanced courses in the core areas of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics. We also offer optional courses in many other branches of economics, including Game Theory, International Trade and Finance, Public Policy and Labour Economics, to name just a few. Student research is carefully arranged and mentored to ensure the first research experience of all postgraduate students is productive and interesting.

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Career opportunities


With a major in Economics, or a postgraduate degree from the University of Auckland you will have one of the strongest possible platforms for launching your career. You may choose to work as an economist or choose a career in other directions.

If you complete an undergraduate degree, your career options include:

  • A trade negotiator for New Zealand in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
  • An adviser for a leading NGO (non-governmental organisation).
  • An economics expert in a management consulting firm.
  • A policy analyst for The New Zealand Treasury or the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  • An economic advisor in one of New Zealand's political or commercial branches around the world.
  • A trade consultant for one of the major law firms.

Employers value Economics postgraduates’ understanding of decision making, research and analytical skills, and how they can view issues within a national and international context. A number of businesses which require an understanding of contemporary issues will also employ economics postgraduates. Depending on the subjects selected careers include academic, econometrician, economist (financial, labour, macro, micro, organisational, industrial, public finance) - or public policy analyst.

Many jobs in the private sector and opportunities for advancement require at least a master's degree, and often a PhD.

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Available programmes


Economics can be studied within the following Business School programmes:

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)
The BCom offers Economics as a single major or as a double major alongside one of the other majors offered within the BCom. You can also study the Bachelor of Commerce in Economics as part of a conjoint degree programme where you study for two degrees at once.

Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)
The BCom (Honours) degree in Economics is one fulltime year of postgraduate study following the Bachelor of Commerce degree. Entry is by invitation only and is based on superior grades in the subject area.

Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce
The postgraduate diploma consists of one fulltime year of postgraduate coursework following the bachelors degree. The Department of Economics strongly recommends that students take the honours degree in preference to the postgraduate diploma.

Master of Commerce (MCom)
The Master's degree is a two-year postgraduate programme. The first year is course work, which may be taken as bachelor honours, while the second year comprises a research thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
As a general rule you need to have successfully completed either a bachelor honours degree or masters degree to be eligible to study for a PhD in Economics.

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Other programmes where you can study Economics


Economics is also available for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Arts.

Further information about study options can be found on the Faculty of Arts website.

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