Economists study how scarce resources are allocated so that the well-being of individuals is maximized. Whether the resource that is being allocated is income, time, or a precious commodity, there is always some tradeoff associated with allocating the resource for one use and not another. Individuals, businesses, and governments face these tradeoffs in countless ways every day. The most important thing students learn from studying economics is how to identify, measure, and understand the essential elements of this tradeoff.
The Economics major is built on a foundation of strong theoretical and statistical training. The major provides students solid grounding in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, statistical and econometric methodology, as well as applied economic analysis. The Economics major emphasizes the role of incentives and institutions in shaping economic outcomes and how public policies influence economic performance and individual outcomes. Special emphases in the program include development economics, economic growth, economic history, empirical methods, environmental economics, health economics, international trade, labor economics, law and economics, political economy, and public economics.
In addition to having a solid understanding of economic theory, our program has a special emphasis on empirical research methods in economics. All students engage in research (with faculty, in teams, and independently) that involves analyzing data and answering well formulated questions related to public policies. With these research experiences, our students are competitive for research internships, fellowships, and pre-graduate summer programs while still in school.
Because students with a degree in economics develop strong analytical and quantitative skills and the ability to solve complex problems effectively, studying economics is excellent preparation for many careers in business, law, management consulting, education, or public service. Businesses of all types and sizes, financial institutions, consulting firms, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, as well as graduate business and law schools actively seek graduates with bachelor’s degrees in economics. In addition, many of our students go on to do graduate study in economics, law, public policy, or business.
Economics Program Learning Outcomes
Upon graduation, students majoring in Economics will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role of organizations and institutions in a society, the impact of organizations and institutions on the economic environment and outcomes, and how incentives influence individual and organizational behavior and performance.
- Recognize and describe how government actions affect economic performance and how economic interests influence government decisions.
- Design and conduct research that will inform managerial and policy decision making, including the collection, analysis and interpretation of data using familiar software packages.
- Define problems and identify multifaceted explanations for complex economic phenomena by using information and data from multiple sources to answer the questions at hand.
- Demonstrate critical thinking about the information encountered, whether it is in coursework or reported in the media.
- Communicate clearly and cogently in written and oral form using modern technology.