The Origins of Growth

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Neil Cummins SAR.5.13


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History and BSc in Economics with Economic History. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course explores the origins of modern economic growth through major themes such as life, love, death, place and inheritance. The focus is on the world's first breakthrough in Britain during the Industrial Revolution. Students will be exposed to frontier debates in economic history. Widespread use is made of intuitive econometrics, interdisciplinary insights and historical context.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as short online videos.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of MT and LT.

Formative coursework

During the course students are expected to write four essays or equivalent pieces of written work.

Indicative reading

Mokyr, The British Industrial Revolution; Floud and Johnson, Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, vol I; Berg, Age of Manufactures; Allen, The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective; Crafts, British Economic Growth.


Exam (90%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Class participation (10%) in the MT, LT and ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2019/20: 19

Average class size 2019/20: 10

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills