Math? Oh no! If you react to math in a similar way, then studying Economics probably isn’t going to make you happy. Of course, Economics is more than just numbers and formulas. But learning important basic mathematical principles is inevitable if you want to successfully complete the program.
We base our mathematical requirements for freshman students on the catalog of minimum requirements for mathematics (Mindestanforderungskatalog Mathematik v2.0, in German), for students of Economics and STEM subjects at higher education institutions in Baden-Württemberg. The catalog is only available in German.
The lecture entitled Analysis and Linear Algebra A that takes place in the first semester of the Economics program (or, for students of other programs, the lecture entitled Analysis) builds on the minimum requirements described in this catalog. We therefore recommend that all freshman students who want to attend this lecture use the catalog to check their math skills before the semester begins, and refresh their knowledge if necessary.
Test Your Skills
The online math course, Onlinebrückenkurs Mathematik, enables you to review and develop your math skills. If you chose mathematics as a subject focus during your final years of German upper secondary education or similar, and start university straight away, this course combined with the textbook and lecture scripts can often replace a refresher course. You should keep in mind, however, that the online course doesn’t cover the following areas:
- basic mathematical logic (pp. 6-9 in the lecture script)
- binomial formula (pp. 12-14)
- derivatives of functions of two variables (p. 45)
The following topics are weighted more strongly to account for their use in the Economics program:
- case distinctions (section 3.2)
- geometry (chapter 5)
- primitive functions and integrals (chapter 8)
- planes, lines, and curves (sections 9.2 and 9.3)
Revising these areas certainly won’t do you any harm. Overall, we highly recommend this tool.
Literature for Self-Study
If you don’t find the online course very appealing, you can always attend the refresher course in mathematics (see next point), or alternatively, you can use the textbook, Mathematik für Wirtschaftswissenschaftler, by Knut Sydsæter, Peter Hammond und Arne Strøm (fourth edition) from the lecture on Analysis and Linear Algebra A to study alone. Chapters one to nine include math topics learned at school at the level described in the catalog of minimum requirements for mathematics. The first three chapters cover the content of the refresher course (including the points marked ** in the catalog of minimum requirements for mathematics). Vectors are discussed in chapter fifteen.
Refresher Course in Mathematics for Students of Economics
The Department of Economics is providing voluntary refresher courses in mathematics in the lead-up to every fall semester. The courses repeat basic mathematical principles that are required to study Economics.
They are a good means of preparing for your program, especially if it’s been a while since you got your Abitur or if you didn’t choose math as a main subject focus during your final years of German upper secondary education or similar. Course topics include:
- propositional calculus (necessary and sufficient conditions)
- set theory (intersections and unions, cross product)
- arithmetic (revising and solving algebraic equations)
- exponentiation and logarithms
- functions and derivatives
- vectors and matrices
In our document (in German) you can find further information.
If you don’t have time to complete a refresher course, or can only attend parts of a course, we recommend you (also) study independently using the literature named in the point above.
You do not need to register for a refresher course in advance. You can even just attend certain classes or start/leave at any time, including in course breaks. You cannot, however, leave during a class.
By downloading these lecture notes, you can get an idea of the topics covered: