Economics and Finance Pathway

The Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences has three ‘pathways’, each of which leads to different groups of degree programmes: 1. Arts and Humanities; 2. Social Sciences; 3. Economics and Finance.

On the Economics and Finance pathway you will be introduced to a range of study skills that are essential for studying subjects in Economics or Finance subjects at undergraduate level.

You will also receive a broad introduction to the subjects covered by the course and how these have developed over time. On the Economics and Finance pathway, you will take two mathematics units that will enable you to develop knowledge and skills equivalent the A-Level in the areas of Mathematics most often used in the Social Sciences, and an Economics unit which runs across the whole programme, and introduces you to key concepts, topics and methods in Economics. In addition, you will work alongside students from the Social Science pathway in developing a collaborative research project on the unit Global Bristol. Students on all pathways complete an ‘Individual Project’ – a piece of research on any subject, most often related to the degree subject to which students are seeking to progress.

Course structure

On the course, you will take four or five compulsory units and choose one optional unit. You can find the current course structure and unit descriptions here:

Unit and programme catalogue.

Period of study

Teaching dates

Duration of course


Taught seminars

Independent study


One year, full-time only

Normally two/two and a half days per week at the university

Up to eight hours per week

Minimum of ten hours per week

Maximum of 22.5 hours per week

What happens after the course is finished?

If you complete the course satisfactorily you will be guaranteed a place on an undergraduate degree within the University’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. This includes some degrees within the School of Economics and Finance.

We cannot guarantee you will be able to progress to your first choice of degree, as this may depend on spaces available and your attainment on relevant assignments during the course. However, if your first choice is not available, we will do our best to ensure you are offered a satisfactory alternative.

What do you mean by 'satisfactory completion' of the course?

The aim of the course is to enable you to progress to a Bachelors degree and so to complete the course satisfactorily you will need to demonstrate a capacity to succeed at undergraduate level.

For most of our students this means achieving an average of 60% or above in each unit. Students on the Economics and Finance pathway must achieve marks of 60 or above for the units ‘Introductory Foundations of Mathematics’ and ‘Mathematics for Social Science’. Students who fail to meet this additional criteria may be allowed to progress to a degree elsewhere in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law (i.e. a programme with a lower Mathematics requirement).

What can I study afterwards?

You can progress from the Economics and Finance pathway to a degree in the Faculty of Social Sciences. You'll find a list of the main subject areas covered on the undergraduate pages of these departments. They can be found here: EducationPolicy StudiesSociology, Politics and International StudiesLaw SchoolEconomicsAccounting and FinanceManagement. You may be able to combine two or more subjects – details are available on the individual subject pages.

While on the Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences, you can also apply via UCAS to other universities and to degree programmes in other Faculties at Bristol. A number of students completing the Foundation have been accepted onto degrees in other subjects and at a range of other institutions. Foundation staff will support you in writing your UCAS application, and will provide you with an academic reference.

Can I study for a degree part-time?

Yes, you should be able to study most of the degree courses offered in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law part time, but check the individual degrees at the links above.

What if I decide not to continue on to a degree afterwards?

The course is a recognised programme of study that can also be used to apply for relevant degrees at other institutions or for personal or professional development. You will be awarded a Certificate in Higher Education, which is a nationally recognised award, on completion of the Foundation in Arts and Social Sciences.

What are my career options after a degree?

Choosing to study on the economics and finance pathway will give you the opportunity to acquire the transferable skills that employers value. You can enter a diverse range of occupations, which may or may not be specifically linked to the subject you choose to study for your degree.

Recent Bristol graduates have found work in the media, library work, journalism, publishing, politics, and various kinds of teaching, and also in industry, commerce, social work, computing, accountancy, HR, the charity sector, and law.

Skills you will acquire throughout the Foundation programme will vary according to subject, but the key skills which are common to this course are:

  • Communication skills, verbal and written
  • Time management, organising your workload, working to deadlines
  • Reading, interpreting, assessing and evaluating sources
  • Participating in discussions
  • Working independently
  • Finding out and articulating your own opinions
  • Thinking and acting creatively
  • Presenting ideas and information
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