The Complete Guide to Studying Economics in Malaysia

What can you do with a degree in economics? Discover more about the programme's entry requirements, pathway and institutions with this guide.


Have you ever wondered why the cost of everything rises when the price of petrol increases or why the economy in the United States of America affects the rest of the world? Do you have an interest in current affairs and understand the basic concept of supply and demand?

If you answered “Yes!”, then an Economics Degree might just be your calling.

Our comprehensive guide on Economics explores what you need to know about the course in Malaysia and helps you determine if it is the right programme for you.

University of Nottingham Malaysia

Economics BSc (Hons)

Ranked 11th in the UK for Economics in the Subject League Table 2023, The Complete University Guide

#1. The Basics of Economics

a) What is Economics

Economics - What is Economics2

Economics, at its fundamental level, is about the allocation of scarce resources. Since resources (e.g. goods, services and money) are limited, economics looks at how governments, businesses and people use and allocate resources to satisfy their wants and needs.

Just about every aspect of our lives involves economics. For example, if you’re looking for services such as Grab during peak hours, you can expect to pay a higher price due to the high demand for their services (this is called supply and demand). As a result, this may incentivise Grab drivers to hit the road despite the onslaught of traffic as there are people who are willing to pay these prices. This is also another economics concept, which is incentives.

Economics can be divided into two main areas: macroeconomics and microeconomics.

Macroeconomics is the study of the economic activity of an entire market or country as a whole, while microeconomics is the study of the dynamics between individuals and industries — a more concentrated study of macroeconomics.


In Malaysia, some institutions offer a standalone Economics Degree where you will focus on Economic-related modules while others may offer the programme under a business course (e.g. Bachelor of Business (Hons) Finance and Economics), where you will also be exposed to both business-related and economic modules.

#2. Studying an Economics Degree

a) Entry Requirements & Qualifications

To take a course in Economics, you are required to meet the entry requirements set by the colleges or universities.

(i) Diploma in Economics

These are the general entry requirements to pursue a Diploma in Economics:

  • SPM/ O-Level: Minimum 3 credits, including a pass in Mathematics and English.

A Diploma in Economics typically takes about 2 to 3 years to complete.

Upon completion, you can either join the workforce or further your studies to a Degree in Economics, entering from the second year onwards.

(ii) Degree in Economics

To pursue a Degree in Economics, you’ll need to have completed SPM (or its equivalent) and a pre-university programme.

The requirements needed to pursue an Economics Degree are:

In addition to that, you will also need a minimum of 3 credits in SPM, including a pass in Mathematics and English.

Important Note: Entry requirements for some universities may be higher, so it’s important that you pore over the details carefully.

A Degree in Economics is usually 3 years long.

It will equip you with an in-depth understanding of various economic concepts and theories, and help you understand major issues and debates relating to the field at both micro and macro levels, in both national and global economies. The degree will also cultivate your critical and analytical thinking, as well as your decision-making skills.

It’s worth noting that some programmes have a focus on mathematics and statistics while others may require less mathematical ability.

b) How Does Your Education Pathway Look Like?

Economics - Education Pathway2Upon completing SPM (or an equivalent qualification), you can opt to enrol in a pre-university (e.g. STPM, A-Level, etc.) or Foundation (Arts or Business) programme. Alternatively, you can choose to pursue a Diploma in Economics.

Completing a pre-university or a foundation programme will enable you to proceed to an Economics Degree.

University of Nottingham Malaysia

Foundation in Business and Management

A multidisciplinary programme that combines academic skills and content-specific modules, such as social sustainability, introduction to law and applied psychology

c) What Will You Study in Economics?

Economics degrees are designed to provide you with a wide range of knowledge and skills related to the economics and finance industry.

Typically, you are exposed to the basics of microeconomics, macroeconomics, business accounting and finance in your first year. Some examples of subjects commonly taught in the first year of your Economics Degree are:

  • Introduction to Microeconomics
  • Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Introduction to Management
  • Quantitative Methods

In your second and third year, core subjects may include Advanced Microeconomics, International Trade Policy and Econometrics.

At some universities, you may be required to undergo compulsory work internships as part of the university’s degree programme, which can help you apply what you have learnt in university.

d) Cost to Study Economics in Malaysia

The cost to study for an economics degree may range from RM30,000 to RM180,000.

#3. Why Should You Study Economics?

Economics - Why Accounting

Here are some reasons why you should consider taking up Economics.

(a) You are detail-oriented

Economics is a highly theoretical field which has many variables that can affect a host of things, from patterns of production to the consumption of goods. Hence, having a keen eye for detail is vital as you will be scrutinising endless reports and data, on top of dealing with numbers and statistics and communicating your findings via presentations and reports!

(b) You enjoy researching and analysing data

Results from reports can hold a wealth of information, which you will then need to summarise and synthesise accordingly. If you get a kick out of verifying and fact-checking important data, Economics can provide you with endless data to pore over.

(c) You have a flair for numbers

If numbers are second nature to you, taking up Economics is a no-brainer as you will be applying mathematical concepts such as algebra (e.g. arithmetic, matrices, vectors), calculus (e.g. differentiation, integration) and statistics (e.g. probability, distribution curves) to economics principles.

(d) You want to understand the economy and its inner workings

If you’ve always had a passion to understand what makes the economy move, or how businesses and governments work, Economics will provide you with the foundation to understand these things from a bigger perspective.

University of Nottingham Malaysia

Economics BSc (Hons)

Ranked 11th in the UK for Economics in the Subject League Table 2023, The Complete University Guide

#4. What Skills Do You Need for an Economics Course?

Economics - Key Skills

Here are some of the key skills and qualities you’ll need to develop to do well in an Economics programme.

(a) Good analytical skills

Part of Economics requires you to analyse data, calculate and predict markets. Many variables can impact your forecasts, so if you enjoy solving complex problems and can think logically and analytically, you could do well in Economics!

(b) Ability to communicate effectively

Although the industry involves calculations and predictions, you will also need to be able to effectively communicate your findings and reports during presentations or via reports. You may be required to explain your summaries, conclusions and recommendations to others who are not in your field.

(c) Ability to work under pressure

Economists play a pivotal role in corporations and governments and are often involved in research and data that affect business decisions to policy making. Hence, they often work under pressure to produce reports or findings or to attend to special requests for data.

Don’t worry if you have yet to master any of these skills. Taking an Economics course will equip you with the required skills to succeed.

#5. What Are Your Career Options With an Economics Degree?

Economics graduates can seek employment opportunities from a wide range of industries, including the government, financial institutions (e.g. banks, brokerages), research firms and think tanks.

Here are some Economics-related careers that you can seek upon graduating:

  • Economist
  • Market research analyst
  • Policy analyst
  • Economics journalist
  • Economics lecturer

Other careers where your degree would be useful:

  • Management consultant
  • Statistician
  • Data analyst
  • Financial risk analyst
  • Accountant

#6. Where Can You Study Economics in Malaysia?

If Economics is right up your alley, then check out some of these universities where you can study Economics in Malaysia.

Searching for the right Economics Degree? Check out our comprehensive comparison table for Economics Degree here!