Calculus and Optimisation

Module code: EC1013

This module will provide the essential tools in calculus and optimisation to solve quantitative problems facing all economists. You will first build the foundations for calculus that shape economic models as systems of equations by using:

  • Differentiation and integrations combinations of elementary functions (constants, linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric)
  • Continuity and differentiability of a function
  • Derivatives, rates of change, marginal concepts and elasticities
  • Integrals, areas and economic surpluses 
  • Comparative statics exercises
  • First order conditions and the Lagrange multiplier method

This module will tackle optimal decision making problems faced by consumers on a day to day basis- how to get the greatest value for their money whilst spending the least amount of money? You will also explore how companies, firms and organizations minimize their cost of spending whilst maintaining a desired level of quality for their outputs. The answers to these questions will be demonstrated using envelopes theorem and langrage multiplies from an economist's perspective.


  • 20 hours of lectures
  • 9 hours of tutorials
  • 121 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework (20%)
  • Exam, 2 hours (80%)