Department of Economics becomes the School of Economics and Finance

The Department of Economics at Queen Mary, University of London recently became the School of Economics and Finance, at the same time unveiling its five-year expansion programme, and a portfolio of new financial courses.

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Kate Barker CBE
Kate Barker CBE

“The financial element of the School has become increasingly popular among students,” explains Professor George Kapetanios, head of the School of Economics and Finance, “so our new courses and new name reflect our commitment to providing industry and business relevant education.”

To mark the occasion, the School is holding a special event at Butchers’ Hall in central London on Monday 18 October 2010, with guest speaker Kate Barker, CBE, former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.

Barker, a leading economist and expert on housing, is to give a lecture entitled: 'Gilding the Lily or Fixing the Roof? Does UK monetary policy need reform?'

Her lecture will explore how far, after 10 years of economic calm, the financial turbulence of the last few years poses a serious challenge to the UK monetary policy framework.

It will also consider the merits of the various criticisms of the Monetary Policy Committee: including how far output growth should be taken into account and whether the MPC should pay more attention to asset prices.

“Worries today over the speed of the recovery and above-target inflation raise issues about whether the dynamics of inflation in the UK have changed,” says Barker.

Kate Barker was an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee from June 2001 to May 2010. She is presently a board member of the Homes and Communities Agency, and Chair of Governors at Anglia Ruskin University. She was awarded a CBE in 2006 for services to social housing.  

“In addition to hearing from our distinguished guest Kate Barker, the launch event provides an opportunity to celebrate the school’s recent successes and learn more about its future plans,” explains Professor George Kapetanios.

The School, with its 45-year history as the Department of Economics, now boasts a team of 35 academics accommodating around 500 undergraduates and 220 postgraduates from around the world. It also has strong research links with notable organisations such as the Bank of England, the Treasury, the Office of National Statistics and Bloomberg.

Currently ranked third in London, and sixth in the UK, according to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, Queen Mary aims to join the top 10 economic and finance schools in the UK (in terms of size) in the next five years.

The School is already renowned for its quantitative focus on economics, and plans to build on this reputation with a choice of new courses and vocational modules tailored to finance in practice. 

The School presently runs three undergraduate degrees: Economics; Economics and Finance; and Economics, Finance and Management. On the MSc side 95 per cent of students study finance subjects in the main, which was a key motivation for the name change.

Alongside core subjects, the School runs one joint degree with the Centre for Commercial Law Studies in Law and Finance. And for 2010/11 it will add an MSc in Finance and Accounting, jointly with the School of Business and Management.

“The name change,” adds Professor Kapetanios, “coincides with and reflects a truly remarkable period for the school with a great expansion in our postgraduate teaching provision, recognition of our world leading research and a new era of collaborations with policy makers and finance professionals.”

The School launch event takes place at Butchers Hall, Bartholomew Close, on Monday 18 October.