There are many economics programmes being taught across the UK, catering for a wide variety of different audiences. There are highly technical programmes with a heavy bias towards theory and a high level of mathematical content. There are other programmes that have a more applied focus, perhaps with a stronger, practical, employability focus. The curriculum has to be designed for its intended audience and to deliver the intended programme outcomes. This has implications for the entry requirements and for the balance of content across the curriculum. For example, requiring an A-level in Mathematics provides a signal about curriculum content.
It is also important to be aware that many students may not fully anticipate the mathematical nature of some programmes, only discovering well into the first term that they are not well suited to the approach being adopted. This seems to happen regardless of the information that we provide before they arrive, and may reflect the content and style of the A-level Economics specifications. For students that do find that their talents and abilities are more suited to a less technical approach, curriculum design may need to be framed in such a way as to provide an ‘escape route’. This may be especially important where the admissions criteria do not require students to have studied economics before embarking on the programme. This will be discussed further in section 6.