Basic Quantitative Methods

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sally Barton


This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance and BSc in Government and Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


GCSE or AS-level Mathematics (or equivalent).

Students with A-level Mathematics (or equivalent) should take MA107 Quantitative Methods (Mathematics) or MA100 Mathematical Methods.

Course content

The course is designed to provide students with the elementary mathematical tools that are needed to study Economics. Students will be introduced to basic mathematical concepts and manipulations. Examples of applying these techniques to a variety of economical and management problems are given throughout the course. Content - Part A: Arithmetic operations, powers and roots; basic algebra; introduction to linear programming; logarithms and exponential growth; sets, functions and graphs; differentiation of functions of one variable; marginal cost and marginal revenue; optimisation of functions of one variable; difference equations; equilibrium and stability in dynamical models. Content - Part B: Introduction to integration; consumer and producer surplus; matrix algebra; systems of linear equations; functions of several variables; partial differentiation; optimisation and the Lagrange multiplier method.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes, workshops and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across the Michaelmas Term and 32 hours of classes and lectures in the Lent Term with 2 hours of revision material in the Summer term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and lectures delivered as online videos.

Formative coursework

Written answers to set problems will be expected on a weekly basis.

Indicative reading

The course will be mostly taught from the lecturers' notes. The following books can provide additional material:  I Jacques, Mathematics for Economics and Business; M Rosser, Basic Mathematics for Economists; M Anthony & N L Biggs, Mathematics for Economics and Finance: Methods and Modelling, CUP, 1996.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.

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: Mathematics

Total students 2019/20: 14

Average class size 2019/20: 14

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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