Undergraduate Program Overview
Economists analyze how people make choices. This statement may seem very simplistic, but it captures the most fundamental aspects of the economics discipline. The range of issues and circumstances that shape peoples' choice are vast and complicated, so economists use conceptual tools to focus on the most important decision-making factors and to predict typical outcomes of peoples' interactions. At the undergraduate level, students can learn about both the methods of analysis that economists use and about the various fields of inquiry where economists have been most productive. Principles of Microeconomics (ECON200) and Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON201) introduce students to both the methodology and the topics of economic analysis. Subsequent courses focus either on strengthening a student's facility with methodology or learning about a specific area of analysis in economics such as labor markets, financial markets, just to name two examples.
Employers and many graduate programs look favorably upon applicants with an Economics degree because of the critical thinking and information processing skills learned and practiced in the sequence of economics courses taken by majors. After graduation ECON majors often pursue careers in business, banking and finance, government, law, or international relations, while others go on to graduate study in a wide range of disciplines. Many students also use their economics major as a springboard for graduate training in a variety of areas. For more information about majoring in economics, visit Declaring the Major and Degree Requirements. For more information about career preparation and graduate study, see After Graduation.
Non-majors can further explore economic topics beyond the basic principles by taking a range of 300-level courses including Economic History, Economic Development, Money and Banking, International Economics, and the Economics of Poverty and Discrimination. For more information on these possibilities, see Undergraduate Courses.
Taking courses is not the only way to learn economics, so check out Outside the Classroom for additional opportunities. If you are interested in exploring the type of economic research activity pursued by professional economists with PhDs, you should consider the Honors program offered by the Economics Department for our most talented majors.
If you don't find what you are looking for on this site, then we recommend contacting one of the advisors listed under Advising Resources.