4.2 Subject benchmarks

When designing a curriculum, a fundamental requirement is to ensure that the contents are consistent with the relevant subject benchmarks. The economics benchmark statements, which were amended in 2007, can be found at


If you study the benchmarks, you will find that they are not very constraining, in the sense that they summarise in a commonsense way the components that most economists would agree should lie at the heart of any economics curriculum. In other words, the benchmarks specify a range of features that we would look for in any economics degree programme. The details are not provided here, as this would be repetition of the benchmarks themselves. Suffice it to note that they encompass the aims of degree programmes in economics, and specify the subject knowledge and the subject-specific and other skills that students are expected to accrue during their studies. The economist’s way of thinking and the importance of transferable concepts are also emphasised.

In other words, the benchmarks set out the attributes that students successfully completing a degree programme would be expected to have gained. Notice that the way in which the benchmark is set out is helpful when setting out to draft the programme specification, which is another essential part of developing a new curriculum.