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Economics Honours


B.A. (Honours) degree in Economics from the University of Delhi is, without any exaggeration, the finest undergraduate course in the discipline available in India. The coverage and levels of academic sophistication are at par with undergraduate Economics taught anywhere in the world. It is important, therefore, for the prospective applicant to have a realistic idea of what the subject is. It is technically demanding and requires strong mathematical and “quantitative” skills. It is not a simple extension of the Economics that a student may have encountered in school, and it is not primarily descriptive in character. In many respects, it has more in common with the physical sciences in its reliance on model-building as a guide to the “real world”; and the empirical testing of models (“theories”) requires sophisticated statistical tools.

  Students who want to apply to Economics Honours should have been very comfortable with Class XII mathematics and should be familiar with logical reasoning starting from clearly stated assumptions. A Class XII background in the sciences, especially school Physics, is in fact very good preparatory training; and, on the other hand, there is no need to have done Economics at Class XII provided the student has the basic mathematical skills and the ability to reason logically, for the Honours course is entirely self-contained.

 The major constituent units of the first two years (the first four semesters) of the Honours course are: (1) mathematical methods, (2) statistical methods, (3) microeconomic theory, (4) macroeconomic theory, (5) the economic history of India from 1857 to 1947, and (6) the Indian economy since 1947 with special reference to more recent developments. Semesters 5 and 6 in the third year build on the techniques developed over the first two years. Compulsory courses in these semesters include International Economics, Public Economics, and Development Economics. The student has also to choose one optional paper in the fifth semester and one in the sixth semester. The range of options for these papers is wide, and includes the economics of health and education, environmental economics, financial economics, money and finance, and applied econometrics, as well as more advanced courses in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. Full details of the course structure are available on the College website.

 A significant proportion of the graduating class pursues higher studies in Economics in India or abroad. There is a very distinguished list of former students of Economics in the College who have gone on to senior positions as economists in Government, in the World Bank or Asian Development Bank, the IMF and so on; many are in teaching positions at Universities in India (the Delhi School of Economics, Indian Statistical Institute, JNU, etc.) or abroad (Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia, Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon, Brown, Michigan, the London School of Economics– the list is very long). But it is far from the case that studying Economics in St. Stephen’s College leads only to academic or research careers. A very large number of students have chosen careers in civil service and some have reached the highest levels of policy making in the government as highest ranking officers or ministers. Many students go on to do management studies at one or the other of the business schools, and thence to the corporate sector. A very large number of top executives of leading multinational companies and many captains of Indian industry studied economics at St. Stephen’s College. Many former students have distinguished themselves in the field of law. A fair proportion of students get jobs immediately after the undergraduate degree in a variety of private sector firms and in the print and electronic media.

 

 


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