Introduction

Economics is the study of how people organize themselves to sustain life and enhance its quality, with minimum waste or misuse of resources. The four essential economic activities of resource maintenance and production, distribution and consumption of goods and services take place in households, markets and the public sector. In economies such as the US, market exchange is the primary mechanism through which the production and distribution of goods and services takes place; but households, as well as the state and its agencies, also play a significant role. These issues are examined in the two majors supported by the Economics Department, Economics, and Quantitative Economics.

The 11 course Economics major, ECON, explores economics from a variety of traditional and nontraditional theoretical perspectives to issues of economic efficiency, economic growth, social justice, power, individual freedom, discrimination, cultural values and environmental destruction. By contrast, the 13 course Quantitative Economics major, QECN, allows students to graduate with a STEM degree by focusing attention on econometric and mathematical modeling of economic issues. Seven required courses in the two majors are common and students have the option to choose which economics major they wish to pursue.

To get an idea of the ways people use economics for solving very human problems and the need to include a diverse set of voices in the discipline, please see this 9-minute video entitled "A career in Economics . . . it's much more than you think" produced by the American Economic Association (AEA), available at the AEA website and on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/135871291.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

ECON 111, Introduction to Microeconomics (fall and spring semesters)
ECON 112, Introduction to Macroeconomics (fall and spring semesters)
MATH 121, Elementary Statistics (fall and spring semesters) or MATH 225, Probability and Statistics I or INBM 220, Managerial Decision Making
MATH 170, Single Variable Calculus (fall and spring semesters)
MATH 171, Multi Variable Calculus (fall and spring semesters – QECN Majors)
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Economics.

Advice to Students

Students who are planning to major in ECON or QECN should take the introductory requirements in their first or sophomore years. Specifically, students should take at least the first four courses listed above in their first year or, at latest, by the first semester sophomore year. These majors are hierarchical programs and students who enter the program late may find it difficult to complete their major in time to graduate, especially if that student wishes to study abroad. While no specific course must be taken in any given semester, the vertical structure of the programs requires that you successfully complete prerequisites for admission to intermediate and higher level classes in a timely manner.

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Economics.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Social Sciences (Division II) and Quantitative Reasoning:
ECON 111, Introduction to Microeconomics
ECON 112, Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 228, Economic Analysis of Public Policy

Most Economics courses fulfill the Social Sciences (DIV II) requirement, while several also fulfill the Writing in the Discipline (WID) or Sustainability requirements.

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The following curricular guidelines will help you pace your progress through the major. While no specific course must be taken in any given semester, the vertical structure of the program requires that you successfully complete prerequisites for admission to intermediate and higher level classes in a timely manner. Plan to fulfill your mathematics requirements during your first year or first semester sophomore year in order to take intermediate level requirements for the each major. MATH 170 (Single Variable Calculus) or a more advanced calculus class is required for ECON 268 and ECON 278. The statistics requirement (MATH 121 or MATH 225 or INBM 220) is a prerequisite for ECON 298, which is required for the QECN major. ECON 268 and ECON 278 (and ECON 298 for QECN Majors) are prerequisites for upper-level electives and the senior seminar. You need at least three economics electives to complete the major (four for the QECN Major, one of which must be from the approved QECN elective list or by prior departmental approval); at least two of these must be at the 300 level (three for QECN), having one or more intermediate prerequisites.

ECON Major Suggested Curricular Flow:
Introductory Requirements (recommended for first years; ideally completed by middle of sophomore year):
ECON 111
ECON 112
MATH 121 or MATH 225 or INBM 220
MATH 170

Intermediate Requirements (to be completed as soon as prerequisites are met):
ECON 268
ECON 278
ECON 288

Electives (To be completed as soon as prerequisites are met):
Three electives are required for the ECON major. Two electives must be at the 300-level or above.

Senior Seminar (Spring Senior Year):
ECON 496

QECN Major Suggested Curricular Flow:
Introductory Requirements (recommended for first years; ideally completed by middle of sophomore year):
ECON 111
ECON 112
MATH 121 or MATH 225 or INBM 220
MATH 170
MATH 171

Intermediate Requirements (to be completed as soon as prerequisites are met):
ECON 268
ECON 278
ECON 298

Electives (To be completed as soon as prerequisites are met):
Three ECON electives are required for the QECN major. Two electives must be at the 300-level or above. One additional elective is required for the QECN major. (See list of pre-approved QECN electives below).

Senior Seminar (Spring Senior Year):
ECON 496

NOTES:
- Please allow enough flexibility in your schedule if you are planning on studying abroad. In addition, make sure you discuss your plans with your faculty advisor well in advance.

- Due to the substantial overlap between the two majors, a student is not allowed to double major in Economics and Quantitative Economics.

Pre-approved QECN Electives

  • COMP 331 Operations Research (cross-listed as MATH 331)
  • ECON 398 Advanced Econometrics
  • ECON 375 Mathematical Economics
  • ENST 318 Advanced Applications of GIS (cross-listed as ERSC 318 and ARCH 318)
  • INBM 300 Applied Empirical Data Analysis
  • INBM 300 Big Data in Business
  • INBM 300 Investments
  • INBM 300 Empirical Methods in Finance
  • Any other INBM 300 with either INBM 220 or INBM 250 as a prerequisite
  • MATH 325 Probability and Statistics II
  • MATH 361 Real Analysis
  • Any other ECON elective with either ECON 298 or MATH 171 as a prerequisite
  • Any course with prior departmental approval

Honors

Honors in Economics or Quantitative Economics
Any student with a 3.50 overall grade point average may undertake a two-course independent research project and oral defense of the research project. Honors in the major will be awarded if the two courses are over and above the eleven required courses for ECON majors and thirteen courses for QECN majors, if a grade of A or A- is earned on the project, and if the departmental oral examination on the project is successfully completed. For detailed information, go to the department web site.

Independent study and independent research

Each faculty member has special fields of study and will usually be available for advice in that area. No more than two independent study or tutorial study enrollments may be counted toward the major and they must conform to the appropriate level within the major.

Additional Remarks

Preparation for graduate study: Students planning graduate study in economics are encouraged to pursue the Quantitative Economics major and consider earning at least a minor in mathematics in addition to their major, depending upon the particular graduate program they hope to enter. Completion of the econometrics course sequence (ECON 298 and ECON 398) will increase opportunities for students interested in graduate school to pursue summer or independent research options. Students should consult with their Economics advisor and see the Resources for Economics and Quantitative Economics Majors page for more information about graduate study in Economics.

Careers: The Economics major graduates with a wide range of opportunities. Based on the experience of our graduates, the general analytical skills gained through an Economics or Quantitative Economics major are valued in certain areas such as finance, consulting, economic forecasting, and general management. Economic analysis is also valued in the public sector, which employs many economists as policy analysts. Thus, although business uses economics and economics studies the behavior of business, Economics and Quantitative Economics majors are not limited to a career in business. Employers in many fields are increasingly seeking Economics and Quantitative Economics majors with skills in data management and analysis.