Economics is the study of production, distribution, and exchange of goods and services. It investigates such questions as price formation, degree of employment of labor and other resources, efficient use of scarce resources, and the basis and effects of government policies in the economy. Economics also analyzes, compares, and contrasts different economic systems in the world, and studies the international economic relations among countries.
The areas of study in the Department fall into three broad classifications. The first of these, microeconomics, deals with the theoretical and empirical study of the behavior and interrelationships of individual economic agents, such as firms and individuals, and their interaction through markets. Next, macroeconomics examines the large sectors of the economy such as government, business, money and banking, and international trade. It also covers such topics as unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. Finally, econometrics uses statistics to estimate, test, and predict patterns of behavior of the various units and relationships that make up the economy.
The undergraduate economics program is designed to give students a beginning sense of what economists do as well as how they think. After taking the introductory course, ECO 108, students acquire a more thorough background in economic theory by taking ECO 303 and ECO 305. The remaining economics courses used to satisfy the major requirements focus on particular aspects of economics (e.g., labor markets, industrial organization, money and banking, economic development, finance) showing how economists analyze the theoretical and empirical issues. Some upper-division courses apply statistical methods, which are taught (but not required) in the program.
Students with a degree in Economics can pursue graduate studies leading to an M.A. or Ph.D. in Economics, or to a Master of Business Administration de-gree. The major is also especially useful for students interested in graduate studies in such areas as law, human resources, public policy, and health economics. The majority of graduating Economics majors who continue their education either go to law school or pursue an M.B.A. A small number of graduates go to graduate school in economics. More than half the graduating seniors go directly into the job market. The great majority find entry-level positions in finance, marketing, sales, and various forms of business analysis and research. Many M.B.A. programs require applicants to have had work experience before applying to their program, so many students enter the job market temporarily and eventually return to school for an advanced degree.
Students are urged to consider enrolling in ECO 488, Internship. Internships provide opportunities for students to integrate work experience into the Economics major by doing related readings, keeping a daily journal, and writing an analytical paper under the supervision of a faculty member. To register for ECO 488, students must have the permission of the internship coordinator in the Department of Economics and the internship manager in the Career Center. For further information, students should contact the Internship Coordinator in the Department.