Requirements for the Major in Economics (ECO)

The major in Economics leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. All courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.

Completion of the major requires 39 credits.

A. A minimum of 11 courses, at least nine of them in economics, distributed as follows:

1. ECO 108 Introduction to Economics

2. Intermediate economics courses:

  • ECO 303 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
  • ECO 305 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory

3. Six additional courses in economics at the 300 level and above. Each of these must be taken for a minimum of three credits.

4. Two additional courses, either in economics or from a list of pre-approved electives in other departments, each with a minimum of three credits.
Note: No more than two 400-level courses will count toward fulfillment of major requirements.

B. MAT 122 Overview of Calculus with Applications
or MAT 123 Introduction to Calculus
or AMS 151 Applied Calculus I
or level 4 on the mathematics placement examination
or any higher level calculus course (See Note 2)

C. Upper-Division Writing Requirement:

Students should meet the upper- division writing requirement before the end of the junior year, demonstrating their competence in writing for the discipline by obtaining a satisfactory evaluation of their writing from the faculty instructor of any upper-division ECO course except ECO 320 in which a term paper or other major writing assignment is a required part of the course, this work will form the basis of evaluation. When the course involves no major writing assignment, the instructor will assign a special paper for those students in the class seeking to satisfy the writing requirement. In these cases, the number of students who will be permitted to seek evaluation may be limited.

Students must request permission from the instructor at the beginning of the semester to use the course for this evaluation. Only students with a declared major in Economics or with an Economics concentration in either the multidisciplinary studies major or the social sciences major may apply to have their writing evaluated. Students who fail to fulfill the requirement on their first effort must do so in a subsequent semester before graduation.

Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with  university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.


1. Students who need to take MAP 103 will be unable to take ECO 108 in the first semester of the freshman year and will have to adjust their schedule accordingly.
2. Economics is a quantitative social science. Students planning to use their background in economics for graduate studies or in their careers should take additional courses in mathematics and applied mathematics.
3. A maximum of four courses in economics taken at other institutions may be applied toward the major.

Independent Research

Students are encouraged to explore advanced subjects in economics through independent research supervised by a faculty member. Typically, an independent research project will emerge after a student has taken an upper-division ECO course that provides a foundation of knowledge and a relationship with a faculty member. The student should formulate the research project in consultation with the supervising faculty member before the start of the semester in which the research is undertaken for credit through ECO 487. The project should culminate in a substantial written paper.  Credit is variable, and will be awarded on the basis of the University's guideline that one credit should involve about four hours per week of work. Outstanding work will be featured in the annual university undergraduate achievement celebration.


Students are encouraged to explore opportunities for study in the context of an internship in a business, government, social service agency, or union setting.  Note that an internship for credit through ECO 488 is an academic undertaking; it is not the same as involvement in what the employing agency may call an internship.

An ECO 488 internship for credit provides an opportunity for the student to integrate work experience into the Economics major by doing related readings, keeping a daily journal reflecting on the lessons learned at work, and writing an analytical paper under the supervision of an ECO Department faculty member. Essentially, an internship for credit is an independent research project undertaken in the context of a work environment that provides the student with access to data, people, and experience that will make the study of some economic issue possible. Students are encouraged to base the internship study on an upper-division ECO course that has provided basic knowledge and analytic tools appropriate to the work setting. Credit is variable, depending upon the time involved.

To enroll for internship credit in ECO 488, a student must have the approval of a supervising faculty member in the Department of Economics and permission of the internship manager in the University's Career Center. This will involve acknowledgment and cooperation from the employing agency. Permission must be arranged before the start of the semester in which the student enrolls in ECO 488. The academic component of the internship must be done at the same time as the work component in the business or agency in which the student works.

Honors in Economics

Qualified students can graduate with honors in Economics. As specified below, the requirements include an honors thesis approved by the Department's director of undergraduate studies. Qualified students interested in graduation with honors are urged to enroll in upper-division economics courses that provide them with the opportunity to write research papers which may be submitted for consideration as an honors thesis. For further information, students should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Economics.

Honors in Economics will be awarded to graduating seniors who have achieved the following:

1. A grade point average of at least 3.25 in the four required courses (A. 1., 2.), with no less than a B in any one of these courses.
2. A grade point average of at least 3.50 in any four electives in economics at the 300 level.
3. Six credits in economics at the 400 level.
4. An honors thesis, submitted to the director of undergraduate studies for honors evaluation.