Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module ECON1081: Introduction to the History of Economic Thought

Department: Economics

ECON1081: Introduction to the History of Economic Thought

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None.


  • Principles of Economics (ECON1011).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Provide students with knowledge and understanding of the development of economic ideas.
  • Provide students with an understanding of how ideas influence events and how events influence ideas.
  • Inform students of the historical evolution of key concepts relevant to understanding modern economics.
  • Offer the opportunity to develop key skills.


  • Topics are likely to include:
  • Early economic thought.
  • Adam Smith: Economic Growth, and Markets v The State
  • The Demographic Pessimism of Robert T. Malthus
  • Ricardo: The Rise of International Integration and Globalization
  • The Marxian Critique of Capitalism
  • John Stuart Mill: Equity and Efficiency
  • The 1870s Marginalist Revolution
  • Alfred Marshall and the Birth of Neoclassical Economics
  • The Great Socialist Debate: Mises and Hayek v Lange
  • Schumpeter and Entrepreneurship
  • The Keynesian Revolution
  • Neoclassical synthesis
  • Monetarism

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of the key contributors and contributions to the development of economic thought.
  • Knowledge and understanding of key economic ideas.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to understand changes in the basis of economic thought.
  • Ability to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the major influential contributions to the development of economic analysis.
  • Ability to identify, interpret how ideas and events interact.
Key Skills:
  • Examples are provided to demonstrate how students will have the opportunity to develop the following key skills:
  • Written Communication by completing the summative assessment.
  • Planning and Organising by preparing for the examination.
  • Problem Solving by applying the necessary analytical techniques in preparing assessments.
  • Initiative by searching relevant literature and other information in preparation for the examination.
  • Computer Literacy accessing and downloading teaching material from Learn Ultra.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is by lecture and workshops.
  • Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in workshops, and private study.
  • Formative assessment is by means of an assignment to help prepare for the online exam. Summative assessment is by means of online examination to test students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter worth 100% of the module mark.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 hour 20
Workshops 8 4 in term 1, 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
Revision Lectures 2 2 in Term 3 1 hour 2
Preparation and reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written online examination 2 hours 3,000 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

One written piece of work to prepare students for the summative exam.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University