Guide For International Students Applying To Economics In The UK

Deciding to go to university in the UK is a huge decision to make. With so many factors to consider it is easy to get confused. We go through everything you need to know as an international student wanting to study Economics.

Last Updated: 9th May 2022

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Studying Economics in the UK will likely be a dream come true for many international students.

But how do you go about navigating the application process and know what needs to form part of your application?

We have all the information you need to know to craft your application.

Applying To Study Economics As An International Student

The first step to applying to study Economics in the UK is familiarising yourself with the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (or UCAS for short).

Here is where you can find all the information you need about all the courses available in the UK, and eventually use to submit your application.

Making sure you meet the entry requirements is the next step. The grade and subject requirements are important and are what show the Admissions Tutors that you will be capable of studying the course.

Additionally, if you are wanting to apply to Economics at Oxford or Cambridge you will need to sit an Admissions Test. For Oxford it is the Thinking Skills Assessment: Section 1 (TSA) and for Cambridge it is the Test of Mathematics for University Admissions (TMUA).

You will also be required to attend an Interview as well.

The Admissions Test and Interview are a significant part of the Oxbridge admissions process, and it is essential you begin your preparations for them as early as possible.

Once you have decided which universities you want to apply to you can make your application on UCAS. Before you submit it though you will need to write a Personal Statement. This can be tricky as it has to be relevant to all of the universities, but it is doable – thousands of students do it every year.

All there is left to do is pay the UCAS fee which is around £22 is you are applying to one university, or £26.50 if you are sending your application to multiple institutions.

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The Minimum Entry Requirements To Study Economics

One of the key considerations to have early on is what are the minimum entry requirements for an Economics course. In the UK, we use A-Levels which are graded from A* to E for university admission.

For Economics, the grade requirements range from CCC at London Metropolitan University to A*A*A at Cambridge. Universities commonly ask for AAB.

Studying Economics at A-Level, or its equivalent, is not a requirement.

It is essential to make sure the qualifications you are studying are equivalent to the A-Level standard and are recognised in the UK. Luckily, universities in the UK are quite diverse and as such are accustomed to having a high intake of international students with a wide range of qualifications.

If you are an International Baccalaureate student, you will be dealt with slightly differently. Each university will have its own approach to the IB marking scheme and will usually attribute points to each individual component that makes up the qualification.

For example, those applying to Economics at Cambridge will typically receive offers of 40-42 points with 776 at Higher Level. Mathematics at Higher Level is the only subject requirement.

In comparison, for those wanting to apply to Oxford they require a slightly lower IB score of 39 points with 766 at Higher Level. Mathematics Higher Level at a score of 6 or 7 is the only subject requirement.

If English is not your first language, you will also have to demonstrate proficiency in it, as it is essential that your English language skills are good enough for you to undertake an intensive and challenging academic course that is taught and examined in English.

There are many different English language assessments out there, so it is essential to check which ones the university you are applying to accepts.

How Can I Choose Which University To Study Economics At?

In the UK, 104 universities offer 1259 Economics courses meaning there is plenty of choices out there – and a course suited to everyone.

The courses at Oxford and Cambridge are the most popular and subsequently entry to them is incredibly competitive – just 6% of applicants to Economics at Oxford are successfully admitted to the course so the competition is incredibly high.

Other popular universities for Economics include University College London, London School of Economics, and the University of Warwick – but what is the difference between all the courses and how can you decide which to study?

Looking at university rankings is one way in which you can choose which university to study at. These are an easy way to compare each course with what you are wanting to get out of your time at university.

The Guardian and The Complete University Guide, produce the two most popular university ranking guides, and are a good place to start your considerations.

It is essential you know what is important to you and keep these factors in mind when considering the factors. For example, these could be the lecturer to student ratio, or if the course has a higher ratio of international students. Or you might be considering a university which is closely located to main hubs like London.

Use these ranking tables to start your research on what the course is actually like, but make sure to take it a step further with your preferences in mind. 

These is no point for example wanting to apply to St Andrews when you want to also be close to London so make sure to keep this in mind.


Applying to study Economics in the UK is a big decision to make, and it is essential that you know it is the right choice for you.

Starting the application process as early as possible means you will be able to ensure you meet all of the requirements, such as the grade and subject requirements.

It is not an easy process but will be more than worth it when you are studying at the university of your dreams.

Applying to Economics in the UK as an international student? Then it’s time to perfect your application. 

At UniAdmissions, we are experts at maximising your chances of gaining a place to study Economics at Oxford and Cambridge. Our elite group of Economics Tutors provide TSA and TMUA specialised support, teach you how to Interview effectively and help you write the perfect Personal Statement

Our Economics Premium Programme gives you everything you need to ultimately gain your dream offer and triples your chances of success. 

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