Methods of Economic Analysis

The details
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
24 October 2023


Requisites for this module
EC100 or EC111


EC251, EC262, EC322, EC368, EC371, EC372, EC383

Key module for

BA 0F66 Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L100 Economics,
BA L102 Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L106 Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC 0E45 Economics (Including Placement Year),
BSC L101 Economics,
BSC L103 Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC L107 Economics (Including Year Abroad),
MECNL130 Economics,
MECNLA30 Economics (Including Placement Year),
MECNLA31 Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BA 5A84 Financial Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L111 Financial Economics,
BA L118 Financial Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L195 Financial Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC 0Q64 Financial Economics (Including Placement Year),
BSC L114 Financial Economics,
BSC L117 Financial Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC L194 Financial Economics (Including Year Abroad),
MECNL131 Financial Economics,
MECNLB31 Financial Economics (Including Placement Year),
MECNLB32 Financial Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BA 9O47 International Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L115 International Economics,
BA L160 International Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L163 International Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC 5H18 International Economics (Including Placement Year),
BSC L116 International Economics,
BSC L161 International Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC L162 International Economics (Including Year Abroad),
MECNL132 International Economics,
MECNLC32 International Economics (Including Placement Year),
MECNLC33 International Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BA 9L11 Management Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L108 Management Economics,
BA L190 Management Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L192 Management Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC 5M00 Management Economics (Including Placement Year),
BSC L109 Management Economics,
BSC L191 Management Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC L193 Management Economics (Including Year Abroad),
MECNL133 Management Economics,
MECNL134 Management Economics (Including Placement Year),
MECNL135 Management Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BA L1R0 Economics with a Modern Language,
BSC LG01 Economics with Data Science,
BSC LG02 Economics with Data Science (Including Year Abroad),
BSC LG03 Economics with Data Science (Including Placement Year),
BSC LG04 Economics with Data Science (Including Foundation Year),
BA C841 Economics with Psychology,
BA C851 Economics with Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BA C861 Economics with Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BSC C148 Economics with Psychology,
BSC C149 Economics with Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C158 Economics with Psychology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C168 Economics with Psychology (Including Placement Year),
BA R112 Economics with Language Studies,
BA R113 Economics with Language Studies (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module teaches the necessary mathematical techniques required for a modern degree in Economics. It focuses entirely on economics examples so that students not only learn important mathematical skills but also learn how to apply those skills to problems of economic interest. The module starts at a basic level and so is ideal for students with a weak background in mathematics.

The module, however, progresses fairly quickly so that, by the end of the year, the student has the tools to attack relatively sophisticated economics problems. Throughout the year an extra remedial class is provided to help the weakest students keep pace with the module.  This module is an economics course not a mathematics course. It only uses those mathematical techniques which are essential for a modern degree in Economics.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To teach students the core mathematical techniques required for a modern degree in Economics.

  • To show how those mathematical techniques can be usefully applied to the analysis of economics questions of interest.

  • To develop and deepen student economic insight.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Have a strong grasp of fundamental mathematical concepts.

  2. Solve elementary economics problems and so obtain a more sophisticated understanding of economic principles.

  3. Demonstrate their problem-solving skills to solve real economic problems via the test and assignments.

Skills for your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

  1. Analytical reasoning.

  2. Conceptualisation.

  3. Model building.

  4. Mathematical operations.

  5. Interpretation of maths.

Module information

This course is designed to complement, EC114, Introduction to Quantitative Economics.

First year students with a background in mathematics may substitute EC115 for a more advanced course, MA101, offered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences with permission from the department.

Students at Essex only for the Autumn term only are assessed on the basis of at least two pieces of work (assignments or tests), the average of which is the final mark for the course.

Feedback for this module will occur through class meetings which will go over the answers to problem sets and where you will be able to ask questions about your own answers. Model answer sets will be posted on the website for explicit guidance on appropriate solution methods.

Following each midterm test, there will also be a dedicated class to going over the questions posed and where students have the opportunity to discuss their own answers. There is an additional weekly support class for the weaker students who want the opportunity for closer feedback. Lecturers and GTAs also hold office hours where students can discuss their work

Learning and teaching methods

The module will be delivered via:

  • One 1-hour lecture per week which is compulsory for those students without A-level Mathematics (or equivalent). These lectures will start at a very basic level and offer ideal maths tuition for students with a weak maths background.
  • A voluntary support class for students who would like more help with their mathematical skills. The support class operates a bit like "school" where students work through math exercises at their own pace and ask for help when stuck.
  • One 2-hour lecture per week which is compulsory for all Ec115 students. These lectures focus more on economic applications. It will consider many of the same issues also taught in the core Microeconomics modules, but with a more mathematical approach. Students with A-level mathematics should find the mathematics simple but the focus on economic applications makes the module important for developing economic insight.
  • One 1- hour class per week which all students are required to attend. The class will work through a problem set which sets questions based on the material taught in the previous week's lecture.

After each lecture, the lecture notes are posted online at [Economics Ec115], along with a problem set which students must attempt for class the following week. Answers to the problem sets are also posted online but only at the end of the class week.

The voluntary support class is open to everyone but is intended for those who find the material difficult and for those without A-level mathematics. The support class works through the Jacques textbook (described below). The support class will also provide additional preparation for the Midterm tests.

By the end of the module the successful student will not only have a good grasp of fundamental mathematical concepts but also a sophisticated understanding of economic principles. Students who do not attempt the problem set questions, however, and instead just "learn" the posted answers typically not do well in the final exam. Students who find the material challenging really should attend the voluntary support class [sooner rather than later]. Forming study groups is also highly recommended.

Reading Materials.

There are two recommended textbooks. The voluntary support class will be working through the Jacques textbook which is pitched at a more accessible level for those without A-level maths (or equivalent qualification). The one-hour lecture series is based on this book [any second hand edition is fine - maths at this level has not changed in 200 years].

Textbook for student without A-level maths is:

  • Ian Jacques Mathematics for Economics and Business, [currently Pearson]

The two-hour lecture and associated problem sets are self-contained and do not follow any particular book. Those with A-level mathematics might find the Renshaw book useful for support and additional practice questions with worked answers.

More extensive (advanced) supporting textbook is:

  • Geoff Renshaw Maths for Economics, Oxford University Press.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Autumn Midterm Test  04/12/2023  50% 
Coursework   Spring Midterm Test  23/02/2024  50% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book, 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book, 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
0% 100%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Melvyn Coles, email:
Dr Priyanka Joshi, email:
Lectures: Prof Melvyn Coles (AU) & Dr Priyanka Joshi (SP) / Classes: Various teaching staff
Send an email message to:



External examiner

Mr Pedro David Matos Serodio
Mr Teng Ge
Available via Moodle
Of 147 hours, 142 (96.6%) hours available to students:
3 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
2 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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