Skip to main content

8: Support and Personal Development

Personal Development

We want to provide you with opportunities outside of the curriculum to develop your skills and provide good preparation for your future and so we invest resources in your personal development.

The Development Review Meetings

We are always interested in what you think and the feedback you provide helps us to improve our systems and develop new initiatives. Our students have told us that they want more one-to-one contact with members of staff, especially in their final year, when they are thinking about applications for jobs, undertaking further study and understanding how they can make improvements on their second year performance. All of this is part of your personal development.

In response to this demand, we have introduced Development Review Meetings, where every finalist is offered the opportunity to meet with a member of staff for up to 30 minutes to discuss your progress so far, ask any questions you might have about your future plans and generally discuss and receive feedback on your personal and academic development. Furthermore, to ensure that all students benefit from such an invaluable opportunity, these Development Review Meetings are a compulsory part of your Final Year.

Personal Development Module (PDM)

For BSc Economics, BSc Economics and Industrial Organisation, and BSc/BA Economics, Politics and International Studies students, in the First Year you will be required to take a compulsory skills development module, called the Personal Development Module (PDM). With the graduate job market becoming more competitive than ever, it is crucial that you are active in enhancing your personal and professional development. Having an excellent academic record is essential for your future career, but you will also need to demonstrate active engagement in developing your personal and professional skills.

The aim of this module is to provide you with opportunities to take part in a wide variety of activities that will help you to develop and apply your academic knowledge and enhance your CV, by demonstrating an active engagement in becoming an effective learner. There will be opportunities to attend sessions that prepare you for interviews and assessment centres, and a chance to engage with senior academics and top names in a range of areas.

This is a non-credit bearing module, which is made up of three different areas: Economics-based activities; Careers activities; and Skills-based activities. The module is compulsory and in order to pass it, you must attend a sufficient number of sessions within each area, some of which are compulsory. The result of this module will appear on your official University transcript. Further information is available on the Personal Development Module webpage, along with the answers to the most frequently asked questions. You will also receive information about this module during the student experience presentation at induction. The Academic Coordinator of this module is Dr Abby Kendrick.

Skills accquired through your modules

Below you will find some of the key skills and experiences we think you are acquiring from your Warwick degree. You might be able to cite some of these in your applications and/or interviews. More importantly, we hope that the list might be something you can base your reflections on as you review what your studies mean to you and how you have grown personally, academically and professionally during your time at Warwick.

As you go through your degree course and as you consider the various skill sets below, you might want to reflect on how the level of difficulty of the tasks set for you has increased from the start of the First Year. You may also want to think about how your capacity to approach complicated problems, to reason and to communicate your answers and views has grown. It is useful to relate this to the context of the teaching and learning environment you have experienced.

Has your degree challenged you? In what ways? Have you risen to the challenges? How? Are you able to impress potential employers or course selectors, not just with the knowledge you have gained, but also with your development as an independent learner? Are you ready to tackle the challenges ahead with a good set of skills and capacities? What features of your particular specific degree course at this particular University have enabled you to grow and develop?

In designing and delivering your degree course and modules, we aim to enable you to develop in a variety of ways, as indicated by the different skill sets below. In particular, we have introduced a compulsory module for first year students which will provide you with opportunities to take part in a wide variety of activities that will help you to develop and apply your academic knowledge and enhance your CV, by demonstrating an active engagement in
becoming an effective learner. We also aim to enable you to reflect on your learning and development as you proceed.

In your First and Second Years, your contact hours are greater than in the Final Year as we think that the opportunity for you to have contact, discussion and feedback through module Support and Feedback classes is especially important. We also give you more exercise sheets, tests and problem sets on the core modules in the First and Second Year to enable you to have more continuous feedback on how you are performing against the standards we set. In some universities, assessment is solely by way of end-of-year (or even end-of-course) exams.

Our tradition is to give some weight to other forms of assessment, partly to reduce the pressure of final exams. These also enable you to gauge your progress over time from the comments and marks you receive at regular intervals. Having compulsory module Support and Feedback classes and a regular timetable of strict submission deadlines over your degree course is an important signal to potential employers that our graduates are conscientious and work well under the pressure of deadlines.

We recognise and celebrate the fact that you are all different and will develop differently through study. We try to offer a learning framework which permits and encourages this. But we also hope that at the end of your time at Warwick you will all share some common characteristics which we think are important in our graduates. We hope that you will be able to approach complex problems in a rigorous, careful and analytical way; that you will have a command of both theoretical and empirical techniques for solving problems; that you will be able to work jointly with others towards finding solutions to problems; and that you will be able to communicate your understanding to both specialists and non-specialists alike.

Skill Set 1: Cognitive skills

i. Analytical thinking and communication: Your study of Economics requires you to develop a deep understanding of often complicated issues using a variety of analytical frameworks, tools and approaches and to communicate your understanding in a variety of ways, including through verbal, graphical, mathematical and statistical techniques. You have to demonstrate your ability to understand formal analysis and communicate your understanding through: engagement and contributions in module Support and Feedback classes and group project presentations, completion of exercise sheets, problem sets, and non-assessed essays, and through tests and formal examinations.

ii. Analytical reasoning: Some key concepts in Economics have wider significance in aiding analytical reasoning: e.g., the ceteris paribus method, counter-factual analysis, the concepts of opportunity cost, trade-offs, and comparative advantage.

iii. Critical thinking: Developing the habit of questioning received ideas, forming judgements and making evaluations, e.g. comparing Keynesian with neo-classical approaches to macro; evaluating the case for or the efficiency of government interventions.

iv. Creative thinking: e.g., if there is no model to explain some observed behaviour, we need to develop an appropriate model. Economics provides tools with which to build models of behaviour.

v. Strategic thinking: e.g., through game theory with multi-agent decision making where payoffs depend on the endogenous actions of others.

vi. Problem solving: Knowing how to approach various types of problem, determining whether a solution exists.

vii. Abstraction: Judging how to balance simplification against ‘realism.’ Knowing how to isolate separate effects of different factors — as with marginal or ceteris paribus effects.

viii. Policy evaluation: Being aware of the policy context and also of methodological issues involved in evaluation — such as with the identification of causal effects of policy interventions.

ix. Analysis of institutions: Understanding the roles of institutions and through political economy analysis of the origins and behaviour of these institutions.

x. Analysis of incentives: Understanding economic motivations of individuals and the limits of economic explanations.

xi. Concepts of simultaneity and endogeneity: Understanding complex inter-reactions between economic variables and behaviours.

xii. Analysis of optimisation: Understanding choice and decision-making based on analysis of the interplay of preferences, objectives and constraints.

xiii. Understanding of uncertainty and incomplete information: Probability, expectation and risks asymmetric information.

Skill Set 2: Subject-specific and professional skills

i. Research skills: Use of library and internet as information sources. Knowledge of how to locate relevant data, extract appropriate data and analyse and present material.

ii. Numeracy and quantitative skills: Use of mathematics and diagrams; statistical analysis of data.

iii. Data-based skills: Downloading, filtering, managing, coding and analysing data.

iv. IT skills: Word processing, spreadsheets, specialised econometric and statistical packages, drawing and equation-writing skills and internet applications.

Skill Set 3: Key general skills

i. Written communication skills: Through submission of essays, problem sets, module Support and Feedback class work, tests, projects and examination scripts.

ii. Oral communication skills: Through participation in module Support and Feedback classes and group work.

iii. Team work skills: Through engagement in group project work and in module Support and Feedback classes.

iv. IT skills: as above under Skill Set 2 (iv).

v. Mathematical, Statistical, data-based research skills: As above under Skill Set 2 (i), (ii), and (iii).

Skill Set 4: Subject knowledge and understanding

i. Economic Principles: Knowledge and understanding of core concepts and methods in micro and macro economics.

ii. Applied Economics: Knowledge and understanding of standard economic models and quantitative techniques with application to problems arising in public policy and the private sector.

iii. Economic information: Knowledge of economic trends and patterns; understanding of problems and solutions in economic measurement.

iv. Research and debate: Familiarity with contemporary theoretical and empirical debates and research outcomes in some more specialised areas of economics. Understanding of how to approach an economic problem from the perspective of a researcher in economics.

A useful exercise you might want to conduct is that of identifying how your different module choices contribute to the acquisition of these different skills.

Undergraduates as Researchers

The Carroll Round

The Carroll Round is an annual international economics conference at Georgetown University that provides a unique forum for research and discussion among the world's top undergraduates. The goal of the Carroll Round is to foster the exchange of ideas among leading undergraduate international economics and political economy students by encouraging and supporting the pursuit of scholarly innovation in the field.

We have a strong track record of supporting exceptional final-year students to participate in this conference, usually in connection with their final projects for the EC331 Research in Applied Economics module. The work produced by our students is of such high calibre that since 2007, 22 of our students have presented papers at the Carroll Round, with a Warwick Economics undergraduate being awarded the prize for Outstanding Participant and Paper in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017. You can read some of the past reports from Carroll Round attendees on the Carroll Round website.

Those eligible to be considered for participation in the Carroll Round will be contacted in the Autumn term.

The International Atlantic Economic Society (IAES)

The International Atlantic Economic Society holds two conferences and has two refereed publications each year. It has a 'Best Undergraduate Paper' competition and provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to submit their work and if successful, present their work and network with top economic researchers in the North American Conference. Warwick Economics has a fantastic history of past winners of this prestigious award, including winning it in 2015 and 2016.

British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR)

The British Conference of Undergraduate Research is an annual conference for undergraduate students held at different universities across the UK. Students submit papers, posters and other work, which is peer-reviewed and authors of accepted papers are invited to the conference. Each session at the conference is delivered by undergraduate students and it provides a fantastic opportunity for students to network with students from other disciplines, universities and countries. Papers and posters from Warwick Economics students have been accepted regularly since the conference began in 2010.

The Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS)

The URSS offers you the opportunity to:

  • take part in original research
  • achieve substantial outcomes
  • develop a range of research and transferable skills
  • work as a member of a research team or department and develop an awareness of the research environment
  • enhance discipline-specific skills or knowledge
  • where possible, participate in interdisciplinary work.
  • The URSS opens for applications in December, in preparation for projects undertaken in the summer, and is open to all undergraduates, usually non-finalists. The scheme provides living expenses (up to £1,000) and skills development training. You will be supervised by an academic member of staff throughout the project.

Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research

Reinvention: a Journal of Undergraduate Research is an online, peer-reviewed journal, dedicated to the publication of high-quality undergraduate student research. The journal welcomes academic articles from all disciplinary areas. All articles in this journal undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and refereeing by two or three anonymous referees.

Reinvention is published through the Institute for Advanced Teaching & Learning, a Warwick department designed to support commitment to teaching and the development of innovative courses and modes of delivery which have a real impact on student experience. Find out more on the Reinvention website.

Student careers and skills

The Centre for Student Careers and Skills exists to enable you to devise and implement plans which will help you get where you want to be in terms of work and careers once your studies here are over. Support is available to you regardless of which year you are in (and indeed after you graduate), whether your ideas are common or unusual and wherever you are in your career thinking, from being extremely focused to having no ideas at all. Support includes:

  • A Careers Consultant linked to each department. You can make a 30-minute appointment to talk through your ideas, or attend one of the workshops organised specifically for Economics students. Our Careers Consultant also runs drop-in sessions each Friday during term time.
  • The Centre for Student Careers and Skills website contains up-to-date careers information designed specifically for Warwick students, and the popular blog is at careersblog.warwick.ac.uk
  • A huge range of opportunities to meet organisations and employees, from large careers fairs to alumni meetings to employer-led skills events.
  • Support with finding internships and other work experience.
  • Skills development workshops and opportunities.
  • Support with the practical process of application, including bookable 20-minute application form/CV checks and mock interviews.

Details and booking for all events and appointments run by Student Careers and Skills are at myAdvantage.

Phone: 024 7652 4748
Email: careers@warwick.ac.uk
Fax: 024 7652 4220 Visit: Learning Grid, Ground Floor, University House (Weekdays 10.00am – 6.00pm, reduced hours in vacations)

An Economics Careers Facebook page has been created and is maintained by your careers representatives to keep you up to date.

The University Library

The main Library provides you with a wide range of resources to support you with your studies, including printed and electronic books, journals and subject databases. These will all help you find research in your area. They also provide online resources about academic skills and work with Economics to provide input into modules on these. The Library is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Here are a few quick tips to help you get started in the Library:

  • Use the Get Started online Library orientation programme to find out how to use the library effectively.
  • Use the Library Catalogue to find what you need. The Catalogue contains details of the books and journals (print and electronic) held by the Library. You can also use the search box in the centre of the Library homepage.
  • Most electronic resources are available from any PC with internet access, so you can use them from home. Usually, you'll need your University username and password (the one you use to login to a PC on campus) to access these.
  • The Library website provides lots of information on using the Library, as well as information on useful resources for Economics research, under the heading 'Students.'
  • DataStream is one of the main sources for finding macroeconomic time series or data on equity markets, bonds, futures, exchange rates and interest rates. DataStream is only available in the Library. At busy times, you may need to book to use the terminal. You will also find a very wide range of international macroeconomic time series, plus social data, on the UK Data Service, available online through the Library webpages for Economics.
  • If you find a useful book or journal article which Warwick does not have, we can try to obtain it for you from another library. Collect a form from the Library or download it from the Document Supply section of the website, under ‘Using the Library.' There is also a free scheme to obtain journal articles called Article Reach.
  • If you are having trouble finding what you need, there is an Economics Academic Support Librarian to help you. The contact details are below.
  • The Learning Grid, which is part of the Library, is located in University House. This is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offers a range of resources, including access to IT facilities and a collection of reference-only key textbooks. There are also extra facilities; Learning Grid Rootes and Learning Grid Leamington. Find out more about study spaces.

Contacting the library

General Enquiries

General library assistance is available between 8.30am-9.30pm every day.
By Phone: 024 7652 2026
By Email: Library@Warwick.ac.uk

Economics Enquiries

Your Academic Support Librarian, Helen Riley, is happy to help you find the information you need for your research, show you how to use specific resources, or discuss any other issues you might have. Helen can be contacted via email or telephone, 9.00 am — 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.00am — 4.30pm on Fridays.

Email: Helen.Riley@Warwick.ac.uk
Tel: 024 7657 2712

The general Library email address may also be used, and your enquiry will be dealt with by Academic Support colleagues, or passed on to the specialist.

Information Technology (IT) Services

Your email address

Once you have registered with IT Services and your account has been activated you will have a usercode, password and an email address which is usually in the format initials.surname.number@warwick.ac.uk

This address will be your ‘official' University email address which we will use, in the future, for all email communications. It will be your responsibility to ensure that you check this email account. You can access this account via Insite or via webmail at warwick.ac.uk/mymail.

Help Desk

IT Services provide a dedicated Help Desk to assist with IT-related issues. You can contact them online, via email, by phone or by coming to the drop-in centre on the first floor of the Library. Further information on how to contact IT Services can be found at warwick.ac.uk/helpdesk 

Computer security

Any computer attached to a network is susceptible to attacks from viruses and spyware. IT Services provide free anti-virus and firewall software to help keep your computer safe.

Open access areas

There are many open access areas operated by IT Services. (You will need your University ID card to enter some of the open access areas.) The computers are all connected to the network and the internet, and provide access to printers, the Library online catalogue and a wide range of software applications. All computers in open access areas run on the Windows 7 operating system (except room A0.01 - SUSE Linux). Further information can be found at warwick.ac.uk/workareas 

Printing

To print from printers in the University, you will need to register your University ID card with the printing system (you only need to do this once). To do this, visit a Kyocera printer (situated on all floors in the Library and in other IT Services work areas) and swipe your University ID card against the printer card reader. Press Cancel at the PUK screen. Type in your IT Services username and password on the printer screen and press OK.

You will also need enough credit in your printing account to print to other printers in the University. You can buy printer credits online with a debit or credit card or check your credit at warwick.ac.uk/printercredits. Any credit remaining in your printer account will be lost when you leave the University. No refund of remaining credit will be given.

Printing costs are as follows:

A4 black and white (per sheet): 5p single sided, 8p double sided
A4 colour (per sheet): 15p single sided, 28p double sided
A3 black and white (per sheet): 9p single sided, 16p double sided
A3 colour (per sheet): 30p single sided, 58p double-sided

Further details can be found at: warwick.ac.uk/studentprint

Software

The University has a wide range of software for economists. Besides generic software, such as Microsoft Office, email and web browsers, the econometric software we use includes Stata, Eviews, and SPSS. You will be given appropriate guidance on software use when the time comes. It is very important that you download and have access to STATA.

Other software which may be of particular interest to students in Economics are described below:

Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac software

GiveWin (win), Maple (win/mac), Mathematica (win/mac), MATLAB (win/mac), NVIVO (win), SAS (win), Scientific Word / Workplace (win), SPSS (win/mac), S-PLUS (win), Statistics for the Terrified (win) and WinEcon (win) are all available for use. The majority of this software is available from the University network, although some titles will need to be installed onto your computer. For assistance with locating and installing software, please contact the IT Services Help Desk: warwick.ac.uk/helpdesk 

UNIX software

A wide range of software is available on the UNIX systems at Warwick, including GAMS, LIMDEP, Maple, Mathematica, MATLAB, SAS, S-Plus. Further information can be found here: warwick.ac.uk/software/unix 

Access to Economic Datasets Online

The UK Data Service provides a unified point of access to data from the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Census Programme and the Secure Data Service.

ESDS gives access to the NS Databank, OECD Economic Indicators, IMF and UNIDO datasets as well as Longitudinal, Large Scale and Qualitative datasets.

CASWEB (Census Area Statistics on the Web) provides access to UK census data and associated geographical boundary data.

This website requires Athens Authentication. The first time you use these services you will be asked to register so have your Athens username and password ready.

National Statistics Online provides many UK statistics, including Census 2001 data. Registration is not required.

Software to download

It is now possible to download several of the software package offered by IT Services. Details can be found at warwick.ac.uk/software/list 

Getting help

If you have general problems logging in to IT Services open access areas you should contact the IT Services Help Desk. If you have specific problems relating to the computers or printers in S2.81a you should contact the Economics Computer Support Staff on extension 23501 or visit room S0.83.

Private Tutoring Policy

Purpose of Policy - To clarify our position on private tutoring arrangements between Graduate Teaching Assistants and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Applicability - Applicable to all undergraduate and postgraduate students based within the Department of Economics and all Graduate Teaching Assistants employed to teach on Economics modules.

Point of Contact for Policy Queries - Quality Assurance Manager in Department of Economics.

Policy Content

  1. We actively discourage private tutoring arrangements between undergraduate/postgraduate students and Graduate Teaching Assistants, but do not prohibit it.
  2. If you are experiencing study difficulties you are encouraged to make full use of University and Departmental resources, such as advice from your Personal Tutor, Year Tutor, and other academic staff, and the guidance provided by the Centre for Student Careers and Skills, which should be sufficient to meet your needs.
  3. However, we recognise that private tutoring arrangements are likely to persist; hence the Department imposes the following regulations:
    1. A Graduate Teaching Assistant employed in the Department of Economics is not permitted to tutor privately on an undergraduate or postgraduate module on which they are employed to teach or have previously been employed to teach.
    2. A Graduate Teaching Assistant who tutors privately is not permitted to access any materials not available to other students registered for the module.
    3. Any private tutoring arrangement must not be conducted on University premises, with the exception of within campus student accommodation.
    4. The Graduate Teaching Assistant must assume responsibility for ensuring the tutee is aware that the tutoring arrangement does not form part of the tutee's Warwick degree, that it is not governed by any of the University's or Department's quality assurance mechanisms, and that the Department will not be accountable for any misinformation given out as part of the private arrangement.