Preliminary mathematics and statistics

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Economics

Module overview

This course is an integral part for all students taking any of the MSc programmes in MSc Economics, MSc Development Economics, MSc International Finance and Development, MSc Economics and Environment, and MSc Political Economy of Development.

This course revises material usually taught in an undergraduate degree. A knowledge of algebra, calculus, and probability distributions is assumed. The module consists of two parts: mathematics and statistics. Students will be assessed at the end of the course. The course is offered online asynchronously (on demand).

Topics covered include

  • Differentiation and optimisation techniques
  • Integration
  • Simple differential equations
  • Matrix algebra
  • Statistical distributions
  • Properties of estimators
  • Interval estimation and hypothesis testing.

The other courses in the MSc build on this foundation.

Further information

The objective of this compulsory course is to review the basic quantitative skills assumed once formal teaching commences. It is offered as an asynchronous (or 'on demand') module (on the BLE/Moodle ) to which students will be given access from July onwards. Students will be required to take the course and complete the assessment prior to their arrival at SOAS, and all materials will be available 'on demand' so students can work through the material at their own pace and in their own time. Limited support via office hours will be offered by the lecturer during September.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Use matrices for simple manipulations and systems of equations; use Jacobian determinants to test for functional dependence; understand derivatives, differentials and total and partial derivatives; use exponential and logarithmic functions to analyse growth; find unconstrained and constrained optima of functions with one or more choice variables.
  2. Calculate and interpret different measures of descriptive statistics; understand probability theory, understand joint, marginal and conditional probability distributions and their properties, work with the normal and related distributions; understand the desirable small and large sample properties of estimators; conduct interval estimation and hypothesis testing.
  3. Use web-based sources for development data and economic research; use Excel for basic statistical analysis and matrix manipulation.

Suggested reading

Background Reading

  • C. Chiang and K. Wainwright, Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics, 4th
    Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2005
  • E T Dowling, Introduction to Mathematical Economics , 3 rd Edition, Schaum’s Outline Series, McGraw-Hill, 2000.
  • I.,Jacques, Mathematics for Economics and Business , 6th Edition, Prentice Hall, 2009.
  • R L Thomas, Using Mathematics in Economics , 2 nd edition, Addison-Wesley Longman, 1999
  • D. Gujarati and D.C. Porter, Basic Econometrics , 5th Edition, Mc-Graw-Hill, 2009; Particularly
    the Statistical Appendix.
  • M. Barrow, Statistics for Economics, Accounting and Business Studies , 5th Edition, Prentice
    Hall, 2009.
  • R. L. Thomas, Using Statistics in Economics. McGraw-Hill, 2005.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules