As of Spring 2016, the Department of Economics offers an undergraduate curriculum that provides students the opportunity to earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Economics.

Please note, the requirements outlined on this page are for current UMD students who officially declare ECON as their major after September 14, 2015 and all new freshmen and transfer students entering UMD in Spring 2016 or later.

Should you choose the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or the Bachelor of Science (BS) track in economics?

The BA emphasizes breadth of exposure to different topics in economics, whereas the BS emphasizes the techniques of economic analysis. For each individual student, the answer to which track you should pursue depends on what kind of career you have in mind and your preferences for mathematically oriented work. More precisely, if you want to learn how to interpret economic analysis as applied to different issues and use it to inform decision-making in the realms of business, government policy, or non-profit organizations, then the BA could be a good choice. In contrast, if you want to learn how to produce economic analysis, you should consider the BS, which will be especially appealing for those students with a good mathematical background (e.g., those who really like math and found it easy to earn A's and B's in any prior math or statistics classes). If you think you might pursue an MBA or other professional master's program after graduation, the BA is a great choice. If you might want to pursue a Ph.D. in economics, health policy, public policy or finance, or a J.D. at a highly ranked law school, you should consider the BS.

You might keep in mind that, generally speaking, quantitative aptitude is relatively hard for many people to cultivate, and thus it is a relatively scarce attribute. At the same time, empirical skills are very much in demand in today's workforce. As a result, people with strong empirical skills tend to earn higher compensation than people whose aptitudes fall in other areas. Of course, there are exceptions, and lots of people who pursue less quantitatively-oriented fields go on to very successful careers. Both tracks will help you cultivate empirical skills, but please recognize that the BS track emphasizes math more than the BA.

If you start on one track and then decide you want the other, switching will be possible. We strongly recommend that you be certain which track is best for you before you start taking the intermediate level theory classes. Meeting with an ECON advisor to discuss your options is a good way to assess what is the best fit for you.

Major Requirements

Both the BA and BS tracks require a sequence of courses starting with introductory micro and macroeconomics, as well as, calculus. Students then proceed to intermediate level courses in theory and statistics. Finally, students take at least one upper-level course focused on quantitative analysis plus several upper-level courses where you explore specific topics in more depth. Both tracks require the same number of courses. The side-by-side listing of requirements below illustrates both similarities and differences between the two tracks.

BACHELOR OF ARTS (BA)
  • ECON200 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • MATH120/220 Elementary Calculus I
    OR MATH140 Calculus I
  • ECON230 Applied Economic Statistics
    OR BMGT230 Business Statistics
  • ECON305 Intermediate Macro Theory & Policy
  • ECON306 Intermediate Micro Theory & Policy
  • Quantitative Methods Course, Choose one from:
    ECON402, 414, 424, 425, or 426
  • ECON Course of Choice: 300 or 400 level*
  • ECON Course of Choice: 300 or 400 level*
  • ECON Course of Choice: 400 level*
  • ECON Course of Choice: 400 level*
  • ECON Course of Choice: 400 level*
    *all Courses of Choice must be selected from approved BA course list 
  • ECON386 OR approved experiential learning course OR additional ECON Course of Choice: 300 or 400 level*
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (BS)
  • ECON200 Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON201 Principles of Macroeconomics
  • MATH140 Calculus I
  • MATH141 Calculus II
  • ECON321 Economic Statistics OR STAT400 Applied Statistic & Probability
  • ECON325 Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis
  • ECON326 Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis
  • ECON422 Econometrics I
  • ECON423 Econometrics II
  • ECON406 Advanced Microeconomics OR ECON407 Advanced Macroeconomics
  • ECON Course of Choice: 400 level*
  • ECON Course of Choice: 400 level*
  • ECON Course of Choice: 400 level*
    *all Courses of Choice must be selected from approved BS course list 

A checklist of degree requirements in a pdf format can be downloaded below:

Please keep the following information in mind:

  • The ECON courses are sequential in nature and all prerequisites are strictly enforced. Students should refer to their major cards and the schedule of classes for detailed prerequisite information.
  • All major requirements must be completed with a grade of C- or better.
  • Students must also achieve a combined grade point average of a 2.0 in all major requirements.
  • The courses utilized to fulfill major requirements may not be used to "double-count" for other major requirements.

Every student must also complete their General Education or CORE requirements, as well as, electives to reach the required minimum of 120 cumulative credits for graduation. For detailed information about GenEd requirements click here.

If you want to switch from the BA to the BS, or vice versa, follow the instructions listed here.

Academic Benchmarks

In accordance with the University's policies, the Department of Economics expects students to make timely progress towards graduation. Under normal circumstances, a full-time student is expected to complete his/her degree requirements in four years. The student should successfully complete a specific number of courses each academic year. To help measure progress during the early stages of a student's studies in economics, students will have to complete courses designated as benchmarks within a specified number of semesters in order to continue in their major.

Bachelor of Arts - Students must complete the following five courses within two semesters of entering the major:

  • ECON200, ECON201, and MATH120/220 or MATH140 with grades of C- or higher
  • One additional GenEd course or one additional CORE Distributive Studies course with a D- or higher
  • Academic Writing with a C- or higher

Bachelor of Science - Students must complete the following six courses within two semesters of entering the major:

  • ECON200, ECON201, MATH140, and MATH141 with grades of C- or higher
  • One additional GenEd course or one additional CORE Distributive Studies course with a D- or higher
  • Academic Writing with a C- or higher

These benchmark deadlines may not be appropriate for all incoming students (depending upon credit earned prior to entering the major and math placement). All students complete an individualized benchmark contract with an ECON advisor, either at orientation or in the process of declaring the major. If you have any questions as to when your benchmarks must be completed, please refer to your signed benchmark contract or meet with an ECON advisor.

Important Note: If you officially declared ECON as your major prior to September 14, 2015 but wish to switch your curriculum to these newer requirements, click here.