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Understanding Economics (Online)

Course Times & Enrolment

Tuesdays from 27th September 2022 (Code SO113-102) Tuesdays from
27th September 2022 6:00pm - 8:00pm • (10 classes)
Online • Tutor: Vangelis Chiotis BSc MA PhD
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

How do economists arrive at their opinions about social and political issues? Is economics a science? In what ways are inflation and GDP growth related to our everyday expenses? This course introduces the fundamental premises of economics, linking theoretical approaches to real-life phenomena.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

Students will need to be able to confidently use videoconferencing software and be comfortable with using websites.

Special Information

In order to participate in this course, you will need access to a computer with a speaker and an internet connection.

Content of Course

This course aims to provide a broad introduction to economics as an academic discipline and as an every-day matter. It covers both microeconomics, which focuses on the behaviour of individuals and other actors, and macroeconomics, which studies the economy as a whole. Concepts such as supply and demand or inflation will be introduced and discussed critically and analytically. In addition, we will consider some of the limitations of mainstream economics and alternative approaches to economic theory and practice.  No prior knowledge of practical or theoretical economics is expected. The course will start from scratch, building on the reading and content presented each week. By the end of the course, you should have developed a good understanding of the fundamentals of economics and be familiar with basic economic terminology.

1. Introductory Economics.

An introduction to the academic discipline of economics, mainstream economic theory, and the status of economics as a science.

2. Microeconomic Principles and Applications.

The basic premises and concepts of microeconomics, including supply and demand, opportunity cost, market failure, and government intervention.

3. Macroeconomic Principles and Applications.

The analysis of the economy as a whole, including real-world issues such as inflation, economic growth, unemployment, and globalisation.

4. Alternative Approaches.

Approaches and issues in ‘heterodox’ economics, including the ethical dimension of markets and a concluding discussion on the nature of economic practice and methodology.

Teaching method(s)

The course will be taught through weekly online sessions consisting of lecture and tutor-led discussion. In each session, the tutor will introduce key concepts and theories, followed by an open forum debate where you can deepen their understanding through discussion and questions. Classes will include some practical exercises, but the emphasis will lie on developing a critical and analytical understanding of economics, both as an academic discipline and in a real-world, everyday context. You will be expected to read relevant material each week and encouraged to participate and interact with other students.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Outline key concepts and assumptions in micro- and macro-economic theory;

  • Explain the relevance of economics to everyday life;

  • Apply basic economic principles to analyse social and political issues;

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the scope and limitations of economic theory;

  • Recognise different methodological approaches to economics.


Core Readings




If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.