Survey for economics students or graduates

No matter how much effort is put into planning a lecture, or how much care is put into the delivery of a seminar, it can be very difficult to know what students are taking away with them once they leave the classroom. This is even more true for whole degree programmes than it is for individual classes or modules. This survey is designed to uncover what final-year students or recent graduates have learnt over the course of their degree. The questions are currently aimed at an undergraduate level, but could easily be adapted to suit other levels.

You can see what the survey would look like to students here, or get a simple list of the questions here. We’d love to know what results you get, or even better, help you design the survey for your own local context. We can also work with you to find adjustments to your programme to help bring your teaching closer to your intended learning outcomes. You can email us at email us at: economy.studies[at]

The questions

My degree has taught me how to… (strongly disagree to strongly agree)

  1. Solve a system of linear equations
  2. Optimise a function subject to constraints
  3. Use econometric techniques to test hypotheses against data
  4. Use graphical models to think about economic questions
  5. Explain economic processes and events to non-economists
  6. Critically assess my own assumptions and those of others
  7. Compare multiple competing perspectives on the same topic
  8. Build an understanding of a new economic problem when I encounter it
  9. Form my own opinions on how economic problems should be tackled
  10. Identify moral dilemmas in economic decision making

My degree has… (strongly disagree to strongly agree)

  1. Covered the issues that I care about the most
  2. Covered the issues that I expected to see when I applied
  3. Helped me to understand the economic events in the news
  4. Used sufficient material from ethnic minority and Global South scholars
  5. Used sufficient material from women scholars
  6. Introduced me to the day-to-day work of economists
  7. Introduced me to important economic institutions
  8. Taught me about the local economy
  9. Taught me about the national economy
  10. Taught me about the global economy
  11. Been helpful in preparing me to work in my current job [only for graduates] (What is your role?)

When trying to answer an economic question, I can… (very comfortably to not at all / I’ve never thought about this before)

  1. Map out the groups of people that will be affected
  2. Pick out the value judgements involved in the question
  3. Judge which of the theories that I know are relevant
  4. Find appropriate data sources
  5. Assess the reliability of those data sources
  6. Choose an economic model or set of models to analyse my chosen data
  7. Analyse numeric data using spreadsheet software (e.g. Excel)
  8. Analyse numeric data using statistical software (e.g. STATA or R)
  9. Analyse qualitative data using other tools
  10. Judge how much confidence I should have in my conclusions
  11. Communicate my findings to other economists
  12. Communicate my findings to senior decision-makers or the general public

Exploratory Qs for departments to choose between (displayed as longer individual questions, some with multiple choice answers)

  1. Please identify the positive and normative statements taken from Reuters. (Positive/Normative/Don’t Know for each statement)
  2. Who creates the majority of the money in [select country]? (MCQ)
  3. Which of the following are the goals of the [central bank]? (MCQ)
  4. How is the data used to calculate GDP collected? (Short answer)
  5. Which economic schools of thought have you been taught in your degree programme? (Short answer)
  6. Can you name any schools of thought that you were not taught? (Short answer)
  7. Have you become more rational in your everyday decision-making since you started studying economics? (MCQ)
  8. What does being “rational” in your decision-making mean to you? (Short answer)
  9. How often do you read about economics issues in the news? (MCQ)
  10. How often do you read economics and other social science books for personal interest? (MCQ)
  11. Have you learnt any programming languages outside of your university classes and assignments? (MCQ)
  12. Have you learnt mathematics or econometrics outside of your university classes and assignments? (MCQ)

Wrapping up (open-ended Qs to gather feedback)

  1. What was your opportunity cost of filling in this survey?
  2. The main thing I’ve learnt in my degree so far is…
  3. The main thing I feel that my degree has been missing is…
  4. If I was in charge of the degree programme, I would change…
  5. What things from your degree have been useful for your work as an economist? [only for graduates]
  6. What featured heavily in your degree but hasn’t been useful for your work as an economist? [only for graduates]
  7. What was missing from your degree that would have been helpful for your work as an economist? [only for graduates]