Key facts

Average number of students offered a place per year


Average number of applicants per year


Standard Offer Conditions

Our standard conditional offer for this subject is usually A*A*A at A level or 41 - 43 points overall and 7, 7, 6 at Higher Level in IB.  All Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances.  Further information can be found here.

Economics at Downing

Interested in how government policies can affect inequality, poverty, unemployment, inflation, social cohesion, globalisation? Or perhaps you're interested in how firms interact with each other or how financial markets work, or why people make the choices they do.  In fact, if you're interested in how individuals, firms and institutions interact to shape the world around us, studying Economics at Cambridge University is right for you and Downing College is a great place to do it where you can combine political and economic theory with application. 

At Downing you will join bright, hard working and friendly students studying Economics.  Currently we admit about seven students to read for the Economics Tripos each year drawn from a variety of backgrounds.  While many successful applicants have studied the subject to A2 Level, candidates are often admitted who have not done so and they go on to achieve very good results in the Tripos examinations. Candidates who have not studied Economics before will not be disadvantaged in the admissions process. 

In line with the Economics Faculty, Downing requires applicants to have taken or to be taking Mathematics at A2 or its equivalent. Further Mathematics especially attained at A2 level is very useful given the mathematical content of the courses, though Downing does not require candidates to take the STEP examination.  We welcome applicants who are considering taking a year out before starting university studies.

The interview process

All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for Economics, after which they may be called for an interview.  Further information on entry requirements for Economics can be found on the University of Cambridge website.

Applicants will have two 30-minute interviews on the same day, each with two interviewers. These interviews involve a discussion of a range of issues relating to economics and its application to real world questions. We don’t require you to go through a lot of super-curricular preparation before you apply as we are looking for candidates who have curiosity about economic world issues and an enthusiasm about tackling them.   However, to spark your interest, you could look at some publications covering various aspects of economics and economic policy, some websites that provide good up to date information on political economic issues include the World Bank, the World Economic Forum,, the United Nations, The Economist,, The Financial Times, the UK Treasury, the Bank of England,

Studying when you are here

All undergraduate students attend lectures at the Faculty of Economics, which is about a 10 minute cycle ride from College. In each of the three years, students study micro and macroeconomics and econometrics (the ways numerical data can be used to measure and test economic theories). In the first year, students also study political aspects of economics and economic history. In the second and third years, students can choose from a wide range of option papers to suit their interests. Additionally, third year students write a dissertation on an economic topic of their choice. Full details of the course can be found at

During your three years at Downing, as an undergraduate you will receive regular supervisions or small group teaching, a core part of teaching in Cambridge.  These usually last for an hour, and your supervisor may be a fellow of the college, an academic staff member from the Faculty, a post–doctoral research worker, or a post graduate student.  Your supervisors will be active in teaching and research in the University and will be in close contact with your director of studies to ensure that things are going well.   

Throughout your undergraduate stay in Downing, the director of studies meets regularly with students, to support, advise and encourage, as well as to monitor progress.    

Being at Downing

As with all subjects at Downing, there is plenty of social mixing between students in the different years in economics, including both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.  This enables those in later years to share their own experiences and offer advice on subject choices to the newer students. Also, there’s plenty of support and advice on offer from fellows and others associated with the college.

Our Economics graduates go into a wide range of careers world-wide in business and the City professions, in academia, and in government and a range of NGO’s.

The Downing College Mathias Economics and Land Economy Society is a forum for discussion and debate where there are regular guest speakers from our alumni, from academia, business and the City. The Society also hosts an enjoyable annual dinner to which many alumni from Economics and Land Economy return each year.    College has regular contact with Downing Economics alumni, so they can share their work experiences with current undergraduates at other times in the academic year. These meetings and other informal contacts help to create a close Economic community at Downing and make the study of Economics here enjoyable and worthwhile.

Economists at Downing

Dr Michael Ashby - Director of Studies in Economics

Professor John McCombie - Director of Studies in Land Economy

Further advice about entry requirements and interviews for all subjects can be found in the Applying to Downing section of this site.

For resources related to studying economics, or to explore the subject further, visit