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Unit of study_

ECON6034: Global Economic History

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit provides students with an overview of global economic development over the past 1000 years with the objective of helping to understand today's global economy and what the future might hold. The motivating question throughout is: how did we get here and where are we going? This is addressed through an examination of both the global east and the global west. Conventional analysis is tested through the prism of history and long-run data. The unit of study examines global themes and then proceeds to consider geographies, building on the global theme lectures.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ECON6034
Academic unit Economics
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Hugh Harley,
Lecturer(s) Hugh Harley,
Tutor(s) Cynthia Wen,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Students are required to answer 3 of 5 essay questions in 2 hours.
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
In-semester test (Open book) Type C in-semester exam In-semester essay exam
Students are required to answer 1 essay question in 50 minutes writing time
25% Week 08
Due date: 07 Oct 2021 at 18:00
50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO2 LO3 LO6
Assignment Semester essay
Students are required to submit a 2000 word essay on a given topic.
25% Week 12
Due date: 04 Nov 2021 at 18:00
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO6 LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?
Type C in-semester exam = Type C in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

In the mid-semester in-class exam, students will be notified in advance of the broad area of the material already covered from which the exam question will be drawn.    They will have 50 minutes to submit a written essay answer to the question, which will be assessed on how well the specific question asked is answered, the command of the relevant lecture and other materials demonstrated, and the extent to which the student shows they have considered the materials from their own perspective.  While there have been exceptions, generally it is hard for students to pass or do well with an answer shorter than say 600-800 words.

In the semester essay, students will be a given an essay topic six weeks before it is due with has a strict 2000 word limit.  The same criteria as above will apply for marking.

The final exam requires 3 essay questions to be answered from 5, again the  broad areas are notified in advance and carry the same marking criteria.   There is 2 hours’ writing time.  This is more a challenging time constraint than the in-semester exam and students are urged to use the in-semester exam to practice exam skills for the final exam.

Assessment criteria

Result Name Mark Range Description
Pass 50-64 A basic understanding of the material only generally directed to the question and with limited personal interpretation.
Credit 65-74 A solid understanding of the material well directed to the question with  personal interpretation.
Distinction 75-84 A higher level of achievement than credit, but without being able to achive sufficiently all three of the elements (command/insight/directed to question) required of HD.
High Distinction 85+ A detailed command of the material with a clear and insightful personal interpretation directed specifically to the question


For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

For the semester essay, given students are given six weeks to write it (including the mid-semester break), there will be little excuse for late submission, acceptance of which will be entirely at the lecturer's discretion with a penalty of 15% for each day late. The University's usual policies for replacement exams applies.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction, themes, and historical context Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 02 Population and Family Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 03 Technology, Energy and Growth Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 04 Corporation and Consumer Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 05 Work and Labour Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 06 Capitalism and Competition Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 07 Money, Finance and Risk Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 08 In class exam (50 mins), followed by lecture on China Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 09 India, Japan and Africa Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 10 Western and Eastern Europe Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 11 Americas since 1492 Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 12 Australia Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Integration and Speculation Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Please refer to Canvas for any Presribed Readings

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. LO1 Have a broad understanding of the long sweep of global economic history
  • LO2. LO2 Set current global economic issues in historical context and be able to discuss potential future developments in that context.
  • LO3. LO3 Have an understanding of core economic theory principles
  • LO4. LO4 Consider both western and non-western perspectives on development
  • LO5. LO5 Understand Australian economic history in a global context
  • LO6. LO6 Manage, analyse, evaluate and use research materials efficiently and effectively.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The main feedback from last year's students was to include a more comprehensive discussion of economic theory and the lectures have been adjusted accordingly. Also, there is now a dedicated lecture on "Work and Labour".


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.