BA in Economics

The department offers two majors in Economics: a BA in Economics and a BA/BS in Quantitative Economics. Both majors carry STEM certification and include courses in mathematics, principles of economics, intermediate microeconomic theory, intermediate macroeconomic theory, and statistics. However, the BA in Economics is somewhat less structured and allows more flexibility in the choice of courses. 

Majors will learn to use fundamental economics concepts - such as scarcity, incentives, trade-offs, opportunity costs, comparative advantage, price system, efficient allocation of resources, market failures, government failures, and scope of fiscal, monetary, and regulatory policies. Through their course work, majors will apply economic theory to a range of economic issues across a variety of fields and economics sub-disciplines and will develop the ability to effectively communicate their analysis.

Program Requirements and Policies

  • 10 courses are required for the BA in Economics. 
  • It is recommended that students begin taking the principles course and required mathematics courses during their first year, and begin taking the core economic theory courses during their second year. Once the principles and core prerequisites have been met, a wide range of elective courses is available. 
  • All courses for the major must be taken for a letter grade. A minimum grade of C- is required for all mathematics, core, and elective courses used to satisfy major requirements.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite Course

Economics 5: Principles of Economics or Economics 8: Principles of Economics with Environmental Applications or equivalent course.

Mathematics Courses

Mathematics 32 or any higher-level mathematics course approved by the department. Students can waive all or part of this requirement by showing adequate prior preparation as determined by the Departments of Economics or Mathematics (for example, through Advanced Placement tests).

Core Courses

  • Economics 11: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
  • Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory (Economics 12, or Economics 18)
  • Statistics (Economics 13, or Economics 14 or Economics 201, or Mathematics 162, or Engineering Science 56, or Electrical Engineering 24, or Electrical Engineering 104)
  • Basic Econometrics (Economics 15, or Economics 107, or Economics 202)

Note: All 100-level economics electives have one or more of these courses as prerequisites. The mathematically-oriented student is advised to take Economics 16, 18, and 107 instead of Economics 12 and 15, and pursue the BA/BS in Quantitative Economics.  

If you are considering a Quantitative Economics major or are already a Quantitative Economics major, here is some new information:  For Class of 2027 and succeeding classes: For Quantitative Economics majors, a new Statistics course will be required, substituting for the current Statistics course, Economics 13. Starting in Fall 2023, this new course, Economics 14 – Statistics for Quantitative Economics, will be offered every semester in a class capped at 30 students. 

For the Classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026: You will have the option to complete either Economics 13 (Statistics) or Economics 14 (Statistics for Quantitative Economics) to fulfill your core requirements for the Quantitative Economics major. The key information here is that, for current Quantitative Economics prospective majors and current majors, the new Economics 14 (Statistics for Quantitative Economics) is designed to be a much better preparation for Economics 107 (Econometrics) than is Economics 13 (Statistics). Students who take Economics 14 (Statistics for Quantitative Economics) will likely do much better in Economics 107 (Econometrics). Economics 13 (Statistics) is geared towards preparation for Economics 15 (Basic Econometrics), the required course for students in the regular BA Economics major track. If you have already taken Economics 13 (Statistics) and would like to take Economics 14 (Statistics for Quantitative Economics): You may enroll in the new Economics 17 (Review of Statistics for Quantitative Economics) for 2 credits.

Elective Courses

Majors must complete five upper-level economics elective courses (numbered Economics 20 or above). At least three of the five courses must be at the 100 level or above.

In addition, at least one of the electives must be one upper level seminar class. Seminars are small classes that place an emphasis on class interactions, the writing of papers, and the reading of journal articles. Seminars provide alternative ways to have "hands-on" research experience. Courses that satisfy the seminar requirement are listed with an ampersand (&) in the department's Course Listing. Please note that many seminars have prerequisite requirements of at least one of the core courses, so they are typically taken during the junior or senior year.