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Economics Major: What Classes Do I Need To Take?

Here's a question upcoming and current college students ask: What classes I need to take in order to graduate with XXX major? Different majors have different class requirements, some majors require more classes than others, and some majors demand a more rigorous major plan than others. As an Economics Major, I would like to provide some insight into what program the Economics Department offers and what is required to complete the major.

The first thing an aspiring Economics major student needs to do is declare the major with the Economics department, but before doing that you would first have to complete the following classes:

  • Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 1101)
  • Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 1102)
  • Calculus I (MATH 1271)
  • Calculus II (MATH 1272) (Economics B.S. only)

Once you have completed these classes, you need to schedule an appointment with the Economics department to officially declare yourself. At the appointment, the advisor would outline the sequence of classes you would need to enroll in, conditions you would need to adhere to as an Economics major, and point out other necessities and resources.

The Economics department offers two majors: Economics Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Economics Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) The Economics B.S. has more demanding mathematics and statistics classes and requires you to take Econometrics. This program is geared towards students who wish to continue their studies in graduate school or pursue a career with significant quantitative emphasis. The Economics B.A. program, on the other hand, and provides a solid understanding of Economics without the mathematical rigor and is designed for those who wish to pursue a job immediately after graduation or law school. The differences between both major requirements reflect the purpose of each major.

Before we contrast the class requirements for each major, let’s see what both the B.S. and the B.A. have in common. On top of the classes taken before declaring the major, both majors require the following classes:

  • Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON 3101)
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON 3102) (ECON 3101 prerequisite)
  • 6 Elective Economics Classes, one of which needs to be writing intensive

ECON 3101 needs to be completed before taking ECON 3102. Elective Economics classes vary in prerequisites, some require prior Economics and Statistics classes taken beforehand but all of them can get really interesting. To name a few, the department offers Cost-Benefit Analysis, Latin American Economy, International Trade, Labor Economics, and Urban Economics. I am currently taking Financial Economics, which is an introduction to financial assets and investing. It’s a very challenging class but covers the basic concepts if you are ever interested in investing in financial assets such as stocks and bonds.

The Economics B.A. also requires the following classes:

  • Introduction to Statistical Analysis (STAT 3011)
  • Data Analysis (STAT 3022) (STAT 3011 prerequisite)
  • Senior Project (Only one of the following requirements need to be met):
    • Major Project Seminar (ECON 3951),
    • Independent Study (ECON 3991), or
    • An A- or A from the writing intensive elective course within the major.

When pursuing the B.A. of any major within the College of Liberal Arts (CLA)—Economics included—you are also required to complete 4 semesters of a second language. Fortunately, as an international student, this requirement would be automatically checked off if English is your second language or if you are proficient in another language.

The following courses are required out of an Economics B.S major:

  • Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (MATH 2243)
  • Multivariable Calculus (MATH 2263)
  • Theory of Statistics I (STAT 4101 [or preferably 5101]) (MATH 2243 and 2263 prerequisites for 5101)
  • Theory of Statistics II (STAT 4102[or preferably 5102]) (STAT 4101 or 5101 prerequisites for corresponding courses)
  • Principles of Econometrics (ECON 4261) [MATH 2243, MATH 2263, STAT 4101 (or STAT 5101), STAT 4102 [or STAT 5102], ECON 3101 prerequisites]

Despite the rigor of the class, the Economics B.S. major does not require a Senior Project. However, two out of the six elective classes need to be Honors equivalent of the selected elective classes (for example, Honors Financial Economics instead of regular Financial Economics). Honors classes usually have a greater workload then their regular counterparts.

Here are some additional resources for those of you who are considering an Economics major:

Overall, the B.A. may seem a lot less daunting than the B.S. and it has less of the notorious math classes. From my personal experience so far as a B.S. student, I enjoy the additional math requirements which helps me consolidate my understanding of the math behind Economic principles and theories. It also helps to learn, regardless if you are pursuing a B.S. or a B.A., how to use software like Excel (which you can learn on your own with Youtube videos or at Lynda.com) and statistical software such as R or Stata which you will learn and use as you take Statistics or Econometrics. All in all, Economics is a very useful major which will not only help you land a job but also provide a useful understanding of how the world works.

If you have any more questions you can always contact the Economics department with the contact emails provided or ask me for opinions with regards to the Economics major.