Macroeconomics: An Introduction (Online)


This course provides a detailed introduction to, and encompasses the fundamentals of macroeconomics. On completion of the course you will have the ability to critically assess real-world macroeconomic developments at first-year undergraduate level.

Moreover, students will be able to better understand the material in other online economics courses such as the ‘New Economic Powers'and ‘Globalisation’.

Listen to Dr Sangaralingam Ramesh talking about the course:

The global credit crunch of 2007-2008 has had significant implications for the lives of many people around the world. This short course aims to provide students with an understanding of conventional macroeconomic thinking so that they can understand the essential principles of how the macroeconomy of nation states functions in a globalised world. Once students have completed this course they will be better placed to understand the causes of inflation and unemployment and the relevance of government monetary and fiscal policy in dealing with such economic problems. Therefore, students will be able to use the knowledge gained to understand everyday macroeconomic events. Furthermore, students will have a solid foundation upon which they can progress to higher level studies in Macroeconomics as well as being able to apply the knowledge gained to other online courses such as ‘Globalisation'and the ‘New Economic Powers’.

For information on how the courses work, please click here.

Programme details

Unit 1: Useful tools and concepts

  • Lecture: Tools, concepts and what economies do
  • Our tools for understanding
  • Economic tradeoffs
  • The role of markets
  • The four essential economic activities

Unit 2: Supply and demand

  • Lecture: Supply and demand
  • Markets and macroeconomics
  • The theory of supply, demand and market adjustment
  • Real-world markets

Unit 3: Macroeconomic measurement: The current approach

  • Lecture: The current approach to macroeconomic measurement
  • GDP: Measuring a country’s aggregate behaviour
  • GDP: Calculating its value
  • Growth, price changes and real GDP
  • Savings, investment and trade

Unit 4: Macroeconomic Useful tools and concepts measurement: Environmental and social dimensions

  • Lecture: Environmental and social dimensions of macroeconomic measurement
  • Accounting for the environment
  • Measuring household production
  • Measuring economic well-being

Unit 5: Employment and unemployment

  • Lecture: Employment and unemployment
  • Measuring employment and unemployment
  • Types and theories of unemployment
  • Employment, unemployment and well-being

Unit 6: Aggregate demand and economic fluctuations

  • Lecture: Aggregate demand and economic fluctuations
  • The business cycle
  • Aggregate demand
  • The Keynesian model

Unit 7: Fiscal policy

  • Lecture: Fiscal policy
  • The role of government spending and taxes
  • Budgets, deficits and policy issues
  • The international sector

Unit 8: Monetary and monetary policy

  • Lecture: Money and monetary policy
  • Lecture: The global credit crunch of 2008 and its aftermath
  • The theory of money, prices and inflation
  • Complications and policy controversies

Unit 9: Aggregate supply, aggregate demand and inflation: putting it all together

  • Lecture: Aggregate supply, aggregate demand and inflation
  • Inflation and aggregate demand equilibrium
  • Capacity and the aggregate supply response
  • Putting the ASR/ADE model to work
  • Competing theories and stabilisation and sustainability

Unit 10: Finance, trade and investment

  • Lecture: Finance, trade and investment
  • Macroeconomics in a global context
  • The case for ‘free trade’
  • Why nations often resist ‘free trade’
  • International finance


We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.



Credit Application Transfer Scheme (CATS) points 

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £30 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £30 fee. 

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education, you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee. 


Digital credentials

All students who pass their final assignment, whether registered for credit or not, will be eligible for a digital Certificate of Completion. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so. 

Please note that assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail. 


Description Costs
Course Fee £385.00
Take this course for CATS points £30.00


Dr Ramesh Sangaralingam

Sangaralingam Ramesh is an Economics Tutor in the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford and a Senior Teaching Fellow in Economics at University College London, UK. He has been an Associate Professor in Economics at the Université Paris Dauphine GBD and Economics Module Leader at Kings College London

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link:


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an Enrolment form for short courses | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.