Introductory Course in Microeconomic Principles

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Frank Cowell


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Economics (2 Year Programme). This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

EC2A0 is an introduction to the compulsory core microeconomics EC2A1 covered in the MT and LT of year 1 of the MSc in Economics (2 Year Programme).

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the essential analysis of individual economic agents in a market setting, firms, consumers and workers. It is designed to deliver a solid basis for EC2A1 Microeconomics, taught in the MT and LT of the first year of the MSc in Economics (2 Year Programme).

The course starts with a brief overview of optimisation in economics: constraints, objectives and maximisation techniques. The two main topic areas then apply this optimisation analysis as follows:

The firm: Profit maximisation and cost minimisation. Demand for inputs and supply of output in competitive markets. Market equilibrium. Analysis of monopoly.

The consumer: Utility maximisation subject to budget constraints. Demand for commodities. Extensions to factor supply. Applications to intertemporal decision-making and labour-market decisions. Extension to decision-making under uncertainty.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of interactive classes, delivered in person over 2 weeks in early September

Formative coursework

Students will be required to complete daily sets of self-testing exercises during the course.

Indicative reading

Recommended readings and preparation materials will be provided over the summer.


At the end of the course, students will assessed through a closed-book, timed examination on optimisation by competitive firms and households.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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