Studying Economics in Germany
Economists deal with large economic regions and relations.
An article by Lisa Srikiow in collaboration with Johanna Ritter
That is what it’s about
Poverty and wealth, unemployment and inflation: the study of Economics is about major economic relationships. Students of Economics examine both the economies of individual states as well as transnational economic and currency regions, for example the euro zone. In the first semesters in Germany, basic principles such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, economic policy and public finance appear on the curriculum. Microeconomic models deal with how decisions of individual actors (including households and companies, but also countries) influence one another and the markets. Macroeconomic models address overall economic impacts such as growth or unemployment. The basic principles of Business Administration are also included in the study of Economics at many universities in Germany. Students then choose specialisations in later semesters, for example public finance, international economics or monetary theory. Mathematical methods play an important role because economists often work with models. The students are given, for example, two functions: one describes the demand for a product depending on the price, the other describes the costs of the producing companies depending on the quantity. The students then calculate which companies offer the product at what price. Statistical methods are also important because they are the only way to understand studies and to perform one's own calculations. The economic issues are often international; after all different national economies are compared. More and more courses are offered in English; sometimes the degree course is even called Economics in German. "Students should be proficient in English. The more specialised literature and the key research journals are published in English," says Alexander Karmann, professor at the TU Dresden and Board member of the faculty conference for Economics and Social Sciences. A semester abroad is not mandatory, but is advisable.
suitability, obstacles, misconceptions
Anyone who closely follows the discussion about the economic consequences of immigration or news about TTIP or the interest rate policy of the US Federal Reserve could find the study of Economics interesting. But interest in economic issues isn't enough. "To able to grasp complex relationships such as the international financial crisis and demographic change, you need mathematical methods and the ability to think analytically. This is something you should enjoy doing," emphasises Economics professor Karmann. Even though the teaching staff often try to illustrate the material on the basis of current examples, at the core, especially in the first semesters, are the theoretical principles which many students find very abstract. Students need discipline not only for mathematics, but also to handle the abundance of material on basic principles. Around two-thirds of the universities in Germany have course entrance restrictions which vary significantly.