It may not be obvious to everyone, but mathematics and economics rely on one another and are often intertwined.

One of the main reasons for this is the fact that there are a multitude of theoretical economic models which are based upon numerical elements; in order to interpret and analyse these theoretical models you will require some level of numerical literacy

However, the connection between economics and maths is not always emphasised at a year 12 level. If you are a high school student about to choose your year 12 subjects it could be very beneficial to choose to do a maths subject to accompany economics.

Given that this important connection isn't always emphasised this means that some students complete year 12 economics without realising that in order to study economics at a tertiary level they will need some basic numerical understanding.

Similarly, this can often be the case for some  high school students who are interested in studying economics as strictly a social science and don't realise how much maths is actually involved.

Which Year 12 Maths Subjects are Prerequisites for Economics Degrees?

While you're researching which economics degree is right for you, you may find that quite a few of them require either: Maths Methods or Specialist Maths as prerequisite subjects before you can apply for a course.

The majority of  economics bachelor degrees in Australia will often require students to have completed year 12 or equivalent English subject. However, without having completed any upper high school maths you may find some difficulty understanding theoretical models.

Unfortunately this means that students who aren't the most confident in their maths skills may not even consider pursuing Economics after high school, but wait! If this sounds like you, don't worry there are certainly ways around not being the biggest maths wiz when it comes to studying Economics.

In this article, we're going to check out what courses are out there for students who are looking for an undergraduate economics degree without a heavy focus on mathematics.

There's plenty of opportunity out there for students, you just need to know where to look.

You need to know that there are some economics degrees that if you haven't completed a year 12 Maths subjects, you won't be able to apply for straight away.

Which Economics Courses do Require Maths?

Some of the courses which do have Maths Methods or Specialist Maths are prerequisite subjects will have an added focus on statistical and finance principles, which further into the course structure will require a certain amount of mathematical reasoning and numerical literacy.

For example the Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne and the Bachelor of Economics at Monash University both require year 12 Maths and English as well as an ATAR of 90 and above. 

You will be able to find out whether you need to have completed year 12 Maths by checking the entry requirements on the university website, it's important to double check what you need to have completed before you apply for the course you want.

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There are Economics courses out there which you can study that don't require Maths, you just need to know how to search for the right degree (Source: Unsplash - Sharon McCutcheon)
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Economics Degrees which aren't Maths Focused

As we've already mentioned, there are courses which you can pursue without having completed year 12 Maths if you are interested in pursuing Economic studies at university.

We're now going to briefly go over which type of courses you can find that will work for you if Maths isn't your strong suit.

Undergraduate Courses That Don't Require Year 12 Maths

Something to keep in mind if you're considering Economics as your chosen area of study after high school is that although it goes hand in hand with mathematics, it is also a subject which draws on social science principles.

For example, if you are interested in an arts degree you could choose to major in Economics during your undergraduate study. International relations is a popular subject to study at university as well, and a discipline that draws on economic theories in order to understand the global economy and political theories.

We mentioned before the Bachelor of Commerce at Melbourne University, however you could choose to study economics as a major by completing a Bachelor of Arts as well. Arts degrees often don't require maths as a prerequisite subject, but you are still able to select economics as the focus of your degree.

Studying an Arts degree and majoring in Economics will still allow you to complete subjects such as:

  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Finance
  • Management

Although maths isn't a prerequisite for many Arts degrees here in Australia, it can be helpful to research what level of maths you may need in order to understand certain theories and principles of Economics.

There is also the option to explore double degrees, for example Deakin University offers a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Arts which does not have year 12 Maths listed as an entry requirement. If you are interested in pursuing Economics through one of these courses however, remember that year 12 English is required.

The University of Adelaide also offers a double degree in Arts and Economics, this degree currently does not have a specific ATAR score for this course. The University of Adelaide Business School is also ranked within the top 5% worldwide!

Not every course won't have a specific ATAR score, so make sure to check what each university expects from student applications. Above universities are just a few examples, and by no means an extensive list, of how you can enter an economics degree without having completed year 12 Maths so make sure that you do some of your own research.

How to study Economics without a Maths Focus
Consider finding an Arts degree and major in Economics to enhance your study experience (Source: Unsplash - Andre Taissin)

Bachelor of Arts Vs. Bachelor of Finance, Business or Commerce

When you are exploring which course is right for you it's important to consider whether you're interested in:

  • Arts
  • Business
  • Finance
  • Commerce

If you choose a Commerce, Business or Finance focused degree, there will most likely be a stronger focus on the numerical basis of Economics and its associated theories and models.

However, if you choose an Arts degree you are more likely to study the social science underpinnings and historical relevance of certain models.

It is a good idea to know whether you are a student more suited to a Bachelor of Arts or a more Maths focused Economics based degree. This will assist you in your decision making when it application time rolls around.

As someone who studied an undergraduate Arts degree in international studies at RMIT University, I was able to enjoy learning about Economics in some elective subjects without having completed Maths Methods or Specialist Maths.

Course content and structure will differ depending on whether you opt for an Arts degree or straight Economics degree. Why not consider getting in contact with course counselors at a university you're interested in to get some expert advice about which course you should pursue.

Another factor to keep in mind is what sort of graduate job you want to apply for once you've completed your studies. Consider what field or industry you would would like to work in.

Learn about the social science behind Economics
Explore undergraduate study options which offer a more of a social science focus on Economics. (Source: Unsplash - Javier Trueba)

Career Opportunities in Economics (without Maths)

Remember that any degree, regardless of a Maths focus or not, in Economics is an excellent choice when it comes to job outcomes and career pathways. You will develop highly transferable skills in:

  • Research
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical reasoning 
  • Communication

University graduates who have studied Economics or  have majored in Business, Finance or Commerce have high level of employment post study compared to some other tertiary disciplines. You also have the opportunity to pursue further study following your undergraduate study to extend your professional skill set, for example you could complete an Honours year or begin a Masters degree.

So, before you select which course is the best one for you think carefully about what sort of industry you would like work. This could like like;

  • Financial management
  • Education
  • Accountancy
  • Policy writing
  • Social Development

Employers are often more concerned with your ability to utilise your economic reasoning, and application of theories and models, rather than how quickly you can recite your timetables. These theories and models will include principles from both macroeconomics and microeconomics.

Hopefully this article has made it clear that there are alternative pathways to enter Economic study, as long as you are aware of the ATAR score and entry requirements for particular courses you should be able to find the perfect degree for you!

There is always the option to complete a year 12 Maths equivalent subject after high school in order to gain entry to a course which does require some evidence of maths knowledge.

You might not be able to start studying immediately after high school, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking your time and preparing for the course you want to do. 

Why not consider finding some extra support to ensure that you ace your end of year exams and achieve the ATAR you need for your dream course. Here at Superprof we have a fantastic range of both maths and economics tutors who are happy to help you do your best!

Working with a tutor during your 12 studies to help prepare for university can provide you with:

  • Exam study preparation
  • Targeted support in specific study areas
  • Information about university degrees

Check out which tutors are available in your area, or see which of our tutors offer online lessons and cut out the commute time! You can view our tutors profiles and see how much their hourly rate is, their level of experience and their expertise.

Find the right tutor for you today and support your pathway to university study today!

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Sophie

A lover of learning, Sophie is currently studying a masters and working part-time in Melbourne.