Aansluitprogramma's voor het hoger onderwijs

USE - Mathematics for Economics (UU)

Nederlandse versie van deze pagina: wiskunde voor economen

Course Content

Logo Utrecht School of Economics

This is a supporting course, complimentary to the first-year courses in mathematics and statistics of the Utrecht School of Economics (USE). This course consists of ten three-hour sessions and will be taught in English. Apart from the literature required by USE, no additional literature is needed. Click on 'details' at the bottom of this page for course dates and registration.

Mathematics is an essential course for economists. Economists specify, analyze and quantify relationships among economic variables. Think for example about the relationship between prices and quantities, or between national income and consumption. In doing so, economists use verbal, graphical, mathematical and statistical tools. Mathematics will focus on the third tool. Together with verbal ability, an economist should possess all of these tools, which are essential in all follow-up courses. The knowledge gathered in this course will form the basis for many other courses, including Micro-economics (basic and intermediate), Macro-economics (basic and intermediate), International Economics and Finance and Organisation.

The course Mathematics for Economics focuses on the academic skill of problem solving, which involves the ability to consciously, systematically and methodically solve problems.

The central issue in this course will be constrained optimisation. Specific applications of this type of problems are e.g. utility maximizing behavior of consumers or minimizing cost by producers. To be able to solve such problems, you have to know how to solve systems of equations, how to differentiate (partially and of a higher order) and how to simplify complex functions and equations. Additionally you will be introduced to growth and dynamics, to matrices and to integration. Such mathematical techniques are often used in economics.

This course welcomes both first-year students of Economics as well as repeaters.

Learning Objectives

This course treats the same material as during the USE lectures, explaining the theory in more detail on essential aspects. We use the exercises distributed during the USE lectures as practice material. We aim for you, at the end of the course, to:

  • understand, control and apply elementary notions of mathematics
  • use mathematics to specify, analyse and quantify relationships among economic variables
  • recognize the economic meaning from mathematical notions and models
  • describe clear and structured solutions of mathematical problems

The academic skill of problem solving is integrated in all of the learning objectives.

Course Structure

Work method

The course aims to answer any question, and clarify any confusion about the material that you might have. Based on questions from the group, the teacher will explain the mathematics behind the economic applications, making sure that all material gets treated. There are also two special sessions dedicated to prepare you for the midterm and the final test

Course Materials

The courses makes use of the same literature required by USE. No additional literature is needed.


There is no additional exam to conclude this course.


If, after reading the course description, you still have questions about the contents and admission to the course, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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