Economics Programs of Study
The Economics Department offers a major in economics (with an optional concentration in prelaw studies) and an economics minor.
The aim of courses in economics is to train students to think analytically about economic and social problems and rationally about personal, public, and business decisions. Economics consists of a structured body of analytical principles that can equip the student with a logical, consistent approach both to the great issues of our time and to the everyday choices that confront consumers, political leaders, businesses, and all individuals.
Relatively few tools of analysis are needed to study shortages and rationing, exchange rates and speculation, inflation and recession, money and prices, and monopoly and competition, as well as such social and political issues as pollution, energy, airport congestion, mass transit, the delivery of medical care, and even the personal choice of career and lifestyle. Economic theory can clarify and systematize thinking on these matters, and it is the place of economics in the liberal arts curriculum to train beginning as well as advanced students in the use of analytical tools. The economics curriculum also exposes students to the intellectual, historical, and institutional context of the discipline, integrating their study of economics with their liberal education as a whole.
Why Major in Economics
The economics major is intended for students:
- who seek the analytical skills and specific knowledge of economic processes necessary to be a responsible citizen;
- who desire economic understanding as a background for careers in business, labor, politics, law, finance, administration, or public service;
- who hope to continue specialized studies in economics or business at the graduate level; and
- who are preparing to teach social studies in the secondary schools. (For certification requirements, see the description under the Education Department.)
EC 101 is the starting point in the curriculum for both majors and non-majors. The course acquaints students with the techniques of economic analysis by emphasizing micro-aspects (decision making by firms and individuals) in the American economy.
EC 102 emphasizes the economy as a whole (macro), including the role of government through major financial institutions in determining the level of national product, income, and employment. EC 102 is also open to non-majors or pre-majors. Ordinarily majors must take EC 206 or the equivalent by the end of the junior year. Students may not take EC 206 if credit has already been received for MA 105 or 241 or equivalent. Those planning to major in economics are encouraged to complete EC 216 as soon as possible, because it provides the essential analytical skills used in most applied economics.