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UTAS equips students for the economics of everythingAdvertising Feature

SKILL VARIETY: University of Tasmania students studying the economic impact of bushfires. Photo: Supplied

Contrary to common perception, economics is not all about maths.

As a discipline, it touches on all manner of social issues, including welfare, employment, environment, health, poverty, food security, and more.

But according to the University of Tasmania's head of economics, Dr Mala Raghavan, one of the major hurdles preventing more people from studying for a degree in economics is simply that many don't know exactly what economics is.

"In marketing terms, economics has a branding issue," she said.

The University of Tasmania offers a diverse range of economics subjects covering everything from applied topics and social issues to pure theory.

Economics graduates can end up in all kinds of careers: public service, not-for-profit organisations, banks, energy companies, transport companies, and consultancies, making it a discipline that can help people make a positive impact in the world in various ways.

"You do not need to be mathematically inclined; however, you do need to have an analytical mind and be inquisitive; you need to be able to think with rigour," senior lecturer in economics Dr Clinton Levitt said.

"Economics intersects with so many areas, including science, psychology, sociology, mathematics, finance, accounting, management, engineering, philosophy, geography and so on.

"So, no matter what a person's particular skill and knowledge set look like, there will be an aspect of economics that they can apply it to."

The University of Tasmania is one of only a handful of universities in Australia offering a Bachelor of Economics degree.

And it provides two majors within that degree: Society and Environment; and Industry, Policy and Business Strategy.

The University of Tasmania embraces the diverse nature of economics, and the various issues economists work on.

It offers a wide range of applied courses in which economic theory is taught through applications.

One of the most significant benefits of studying at a smaller university like the University of Tasmania - on the island state, with its smaller population - is its close connections to industry and the community.

The applied skills learned on this campus can be taken anywhere.

The course incorporates the exploration of regional issues and environmental issues, focusing on policy issues that arise from and are specific to regional communities.

The University of Tasmania has some unique combinations available in first year, like behavioural economics, ecosystem services, and economics of social issues, which provides some economic training that appeals to students in education and psychology.

Simon Baptist is a graduate of the University of Tasmania's Bachelor of Economics and is now chief economist and managing director with Singapore-based consultancy The Economist Intelligence Unit.

"Economics is a great framework for thinking about important problems," he said.

"Some people think economics is just about finance, but it is just a small part.

"No matter what your interests are, it's likely that you can use economics to make a difference.

"It is also the language that a lot of people in business and government speak, so if you want to influence them, it helps to be able to speak it too.

"The grounding I got [at the University of Tasmania] has served me very well in an international context - be that postgraduate study or in the workforce - so you can be confident in the possibilities this degree can open up to you.

"I still use things I learned at the University of Tasmania every day."