Warwick vs Durham uni (for economics)

(15 Posts)
sergeantmajor Wed 29-Jan-20 14:23:30

DS has an offer from Warwick (hooray!) but is still hoping for an offer from Durham too. The offer would be the same, so he'd have to choose one of them.

Does anyone have any views on either uni? The economics course looks pretty similar at each. Are there any stereotypes of those who go there? Does the Durham college system mean it's friendlier or is it no different from a basic hall of residence? Does one have a better reputation with employers?

Happy to hear any insights on advantages or disadvantages of either. Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
HugoSpritz Wed 29-Jan-20 14:28:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lavenderblues Wed 29-Jan-20 14:36:02

Warwick is higher ranked than Durham for Economics. I understand that it's more mathematical too. I'd choose Warwick Economics over Durham.

ItsReallyOnlyMe Wed 29-Jan-20 14:39:58

I would advise your DS attends the offer holder days and he should be able to make a decision from that.

Purely on practicalities Warwick is more central so easier to get to other places - job interviews for when the time comes etc.

Warwick is more highly regarded for economics than Durham (although both very good universities) from league tables.

sergeantmajor Wed 29-Jan-20 14:40:03

That's very helpful @HugoSpritz, thank you. DS is very passionate about his subject so may well go on to work in a closely related area (e.g. economist or academic), but I don't think he's temperamentally suited to investment banking.

He seems mainly to care about whether his uni choice will help him get a job or not (mine & DH's job insecurity has rubbed off on him!). So knowing that the big banks rate Warwick higher than Durham is really useful info, even if he wouldn't necessarily aspire in that direction.

I just want him to have a happy time at uni (school hasn't been great for him), so hoping to find a friendly sort of place. Obviously any university is too vast to guarantee this but thought I'd ask just in case.

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Wed 29-Jan-20 15:05:01

There might be considerations about campus vs a town university. Warwick second year students tend to live in Leamington Spa. This would not suit everyone and the Warwick campus would feel remote for some who prefer cities. Obviously Durham isn’t a big city but the university is very much part of it. Obviously their college system is different too.

If he’s not intending to be a city high flyer I’m not sure if would make much difference. A Durham grad in Economics should be well placed to get a job as long as the cv reads well.

Phphion Wed 29-Jan-20 18:22:21

For academic economics, the 'big 5' are LSE, UCL, Cambridge, Oxford and Warwick. They are the places that attract the most big names, the most research funding and are the (UK) names to have on your CV if you are aiming high in terms of a career in academia or the big name economics organisations. Academic economics and adjacent work as an economist can be quite a closed shop, with recruitment at the highest levels being disproportionately concentrated in those five institutions (and internationally).

If he is not intending to a high flying career in a big name academic / econ / IB-type organisation, then there is always demand for economics graduates and Durham and Warwick are both good universities with excellent employment outcomes. It's just a question of what kind of environment he prefers, as there a quite big differences between them in that respect.


sergeantmajor Wed 29-Jan-20 21:34:08

You lot are brilliant, thank you, so helpful.

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Needmoresleep Wed 29-Jan-20 23:52:39

Bubbles, I disagree with you completely. Economists don’t just become city high flyers, there are a host of different career paths.

OP as others have said Warwick is seen as the more technical degree. So if he wants to go onto further studies, or a technical job in a banks or think tank, then Warwick really is preferable, along with UCL, LSE and Cambridge.

However not everyone wants to be a ‘quant’ and degrees like Oxford’s PPE or E&M or Durham are just fine for other career paths. And indeed are probably preferable for a student who is not completely comfortable with financial maths.

And well done, an offer from Warwick is quite an achievement.

Needmoresleep Thu 30-Jan-20 00:00:01

Oxford does not offer pure economics at UG level, but has a highly regarded Masters degree. Ditto, I think for Imperial.

DS went to LSE and was offered a place at Oxford to do his Masters. I think this offer would have been harder to achieve had he not been at LSE, Cambridge, Warwick or UCL and covered quite a lot of technical ground. (In the end he stayed at LSE as their more technical Masters ‘EME’ was likely to open more doors when he came to apply for a PhD.)

Greendayz Thu 30-Jan-20 08:24:28

I can't comment on the economics courses but Warwick have a much nicer campus. Really lively with loads going on. Durham is a bit of a wierd hybrid - not really a campus, but not really a proper city based university either. The colleges are mostly a good walk (up a hill) from the tiny city that is Durham itself (not really a city at all) And because of the college system there's not a lot of central student facilities.

MrKlaw Thu 30-Jan-20 08:49:03

Honestly we're doing the thing we usually do on forums and discussing the minutiae - both are fantastic universities and both will set your DC up really well. At that level I'd go based on how they feel at open days and their instinct, and even location (how far away are they happy to be?)

Needmoresleep Thu 30-Jan-20 12:06:18

MrKlaw I would disagree. I don't know much about the Durham degree. However there are only so many Economics applicants who will have strong maths aptitude (probably at around A/A* at FM level) and they will congregate at a small number of Universities (as mentioned above). These Universities are then able to run more rigorous technical modules, which are of genuine interest to those organisations wanting to employ technical forecasters and analysts.

There is a debate around whether economics should be so mathematical, but whilst the City (and other economic forecasters like central banks, consultancies, and think tanks) uses algorithms to predict markets, there is always likely to be a high demand for economists with strong quantitative skills. DS claimed he could have completed his UG degree by only taking two economics courses and somehow managed a Masters without writing a single essay or dissertation.

If OPs son wants to go down this road he should choose Warwick. Graduate pay generally is high, and there is a genuine shortage of skilled people. From the end of his second UG year DS picked up really good research assistant roles, and could have part funded his Masters by working as a UG Teaching Assistant. However there are plenty of other good roads that a less mathematical economics degree will take you down. These are not minutiae. Surely this forum is about exchanging genuine experience and knowledge.

sergeantmajor Fri 31-Jan-20 13:09:57

I really appreciate all these insights. DS is completely unbothered about the university setting and location. He is very keen to do "pure", "proper" economics and nervous about future employment prospects thereafter (something to do with the likely point of the business cycle when he graduates, or so he says! hmm). Thanks to you all I can arm him with this info, which seems to be pointing in the direction of Warwick, at least in his case.

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MaggieFS Fri 31-Jan-20 13:13:53

Based on what you are saying, Warwick does seem the better option, but I'd be concerned by how 'unbothered' he is about the settings. They couldn't be more opposite in terms of location, residences, etc. And he does have to live there for at least three years. Has he been to open days?

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