Change the world

Economics

For Undergraduate Study?

Economics is an important integral part of many commerce related degrees and diplomas offered not only by Nelson Mandela University, but by most universities worldwide. Economics is a very dynamic discipline and has several dimensions. Economics can be largely divided into two distinct but related streams. These two streams are Macro and Micro economics. Macroeconomics mainly deals with the following types of questions: Why are some countries poor and others rich? How do countries develop over time? What is the role of government in the economy? What causes recessions and booms? What determines changes in the inflation rate, the exchange rate and the economic growth rate? Is there a relationship between inflation and unemployment and what is the nature of that relationship? Microeconomics on the other hand asks why some industries are dominated by one or two large companies such as the banking or cell phone industry in SA while others are characterised by a large number of small firms like Auto Mechanics and Bed & Breakfast operators. What determines people’s decisions to work in a particular field? What monetary benefit do people get from additional studies or work experience? And other such questions. As an undergraduate economics student at the Nelson Mandela University, you’ll be exposed to both these areas.

At Nelson Mandela University, we offer a National Diploma (Economics) and BCom (Economics and Statistics) degree which are highly regarded in both the private and public sectors in South Africa and worldwide. Those wishing to specialise in economics will register for these programmes and with further training, become professional economists. Most people however take economics as part of their commerce degree or diploma such as BCom Accounting or NDip Management. Studying economics equips you with a unique set of skills which are highly valued in the marketplace. Economics teaches you to look at problems in a structured and logical way; to focus on the essence of a problem instead of the technicalities of it; to understand that the solution to a problem may have unintended negative consequences; and to understand that every decision has an inherent opportunity cost to it etc. These skills can be applied in several business areas and hence, people with economics training easily find employment in several diverse sectors of the economy.

The Nelson Mandela University Economics department has a rich tradition of producing high quality graduates who are highly sort after in the workplace. Over the years, several of our graduates have found employment and hold management positions in many national, provincial and local governments as well as several companies such as ABSA, FNB, Investec, KPMG, SARS, the South African Reserve Bank and many others. Some of our graduates have also gone on to pursue Honours, Masters and Doctoral degrees in Economics both at the Nelson Mandela University and at several prestigious universities both in South Africa and overseas.

Even though we are a big university, you will never feel lost in the crowd. The department offers weekly tutorial and Supplemental Instruction (SI) sessions in small classes of not more than 40 students where you can freely ask questions and interact with the lecturers and SI leaders. This is a supplement to the normal scheduled lectures which are often impersonal due to large student numbers. The tutorials and SI sessions help you to clarify issues of personal understanding, helping you to grasp the core concepts presented during the lecture. Most of our lecturers maintain an open door policy, which means that no matter what time of day it is, if the lecturer’s office door is open, you can come in and seek clarity on any concept you are struggling with. This is in addition to scheduled consultation times set aside by each lecturer to help you with any questions you may have. Lecturers are also available for consultation via email and telephone so help is always within easy reach. Choosing to study economics at the Nelson Mandela University is certainly one of the best decisions you’ll ever make!

For Postgraduate Study?

Postgraduate education is a serious investment so it is critical where you choose to undertake it. The Nelson Mandela University economics department has a rich history of producing high calibre graduate students who are highly sort after by firms both locally and internationally. Our honours programme is highly selective, ensuring that your classmates will challenge you to do your very best. With course content expertly delivered by our core of dedicated lecturers, you will be challenged and encouraged to look at the problems that plague the today’s economy through a fresh set of eyes. Under the supervision of our team of lecturers, your treatise will test your ability to put what you’ve learnt in the lecture room into practice, using the advanced analytical skills and tools you’ve acquired to tackle today’s pressing economic problems.

At the economics department, we believe in applying theory to the problems of the world we live in today, generating sustainable solutions for tomorrow. We believe research forms a strong integral part in this process. This is why we place a strong emphasis on our Masters’ Research programme. This programme will prepare you for the rigours entailed in conducting in-depth economic research and analysis, using the very latest research methods with the aid of cutting edge technology. The economics department is one of only a few universities in South Africa that offers masters students a dedicated workspace from which to carry out their research work. With an office on the same floor as your supervisor, you can be sure that help is always at hand. For those interested in pursuing an academic career, the Nelson Mandela University is a good place to train as the department has a rich history of employing masters’ students as teaching assistants, ensuring that you have an edge over other masters’ students in other universities.

At doctoral level, the department encourages and challenges you to find novel solutions to the current economic problems facing the world. With our research focus areas of applied microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, environmental and resource economics, you’ll find plenty of room to explore and grow as an economist and researcher. You will have a dedicated promoter who will work with you from the conception of your research project to completion. If you choose to, there is also room for collaborative research supervision where you have one promoter from the Nelson Mandela University and another from a different university both locally and internationally, ensuring you get the best of the knowledge and expertise both within and outside the university.