Land Economy at Cambridge offers a challenging programme which provides a stimulating analysis of our environment and opens up a wide range of career opportunities. The core of the subject is the application of law and economics to the study of land and resources, encompassing the natural and built environments. Other disciplines (including history, geography and finance) are drawn upon and the subject includes topics such as real estate investment, international environmental regulation, town and country planning, development economics, rural management and urban and regional economic analysis.
It is the inter-disciplinary analysis of the contemporary world which gives the subject its unique appeal. The course includes issues of private decision making by landowners, space users and consumers, as well as matters of public policy formation and implementation in a mixed economy. The three-year programme proceeds from foundation subjects in the first year through more specific principles and analytical tools to a variety of applications in urban and rural contexts. The final year dissertation affords an opportunity to study your own special interest in some depth. Recent dissertation topics include provision of affordable housing in England, balancing economic development with conservation of the Amazon rain forest, post-Tsunami recovery in a Malaysian fishing community, aspects of the impact of EU agricultural policy in France and the emerging property markets in Shanghai.
Graduates in Land Economy have one of the strongest employment records across the university. Employers recognise the high intellectual content of the course in addressing practical questions, and welcome the possession of interdisciplinary analytical skills, a high level of numeracy and general communication skills - all of which are integral to the three-year programme.
Murray Edwards College has a long tradition of links with Land Economy: the former President of the college chaired the university's Board of Land Economy for many years. The college aims to have about ten undergraduates reading Land Economy, up to four per year. This group includes students from the UK, EU and overseas. In 2010 three of the eleven students studying Land Economy at Murray Edwards College gained a first and the remaining eight gained upper seconds. These are very strong results.
The current Director of Studies is Dr Mark Roberts who is a University Lecturer within the Department of Land Economy. (His position both as Director of Studies and College Fellow reflects the strength of this subject within Murray Edwards College.) Supervisions in small groups (two or three per week) provide essential backing for lectures and reading, and opportunities to develop essay writing skills and gain confidence in discussion and debate.
Entry to Land Economy at Murray Edwards College
The College welcomes applications from well-motivated and highly qualified students from the UK and also has a strong tradition in international candidates. While many applicants offer GCSEs and A-levels, the college is very willing to consider outstanding applicants from other qualifications systems. There is no prescribed set of subjects at A2-level or equivalent: entrants in recent years have held a variety of subject combinations. However, mathematics is particularly welcomed and statistics, economics, geography, history and a science are all very useful subjects. A modern language is also very acceptable and linguistic study can be continued at Cambridge alongside Land Economy - and, in a global market place, may enhance the range of career opportunities.
Prior to interviews, we ask for two pieces of recent marked essays or project work. These give a good indication of current academic performance and presentational skills, and often provide a convenient topic of conversation during an interview. The subject interview, with the Director of Studies (and sometimes another Land Economist), seeks to explore the student's interests and motivation in the subject, and her ability to discuss topical issues relating to Land Economy and her school studies to date. Detailed knowledge is not expected, and the interviewer is not looking for a 'right answer'. Rather, credit is given for evidence of a thoughtful response to a problem and a logical approach to analysis. We are genuinely interested in your ideas and are not trying to catch you out with trick questions. Some general reading of broadsheet newspapers and The Economist may be a useful preparation for the interview, but the most important advice is to listen and be open in response to the questions asked, and not give prepared answers to different questions!
The students' view of Land Economy
Land Economy, as a modern subject focused on the contemporary world, sits well with the traditions of Murray Edwards College as a liberal, outgoing and academically adventurous college. Land economists at Murray Edwards College are expected to work hard but they also play a full part in social and other activities.
A second year student (who recently directed a Chinese Culture Society play) comments: 'The wide range of topics to choose from means there is something for everybody who takes the Land Economy course. The relatively small intake of students makes it very easy to know everyone and there are plenty of land economists 'socials' happening throughout the year.'
To find out more about what Murray Edwards' students think of the Land Economy course see our student profiles.
Further information can be found on the website for the Department of Land Economy.
Dr Mark Roberts, Director of Studies
Checked by ER, August 2011