About This Major
In this world, resources are typically scarce but the wants and needs of the population are boundless. The responsibility for figuring out how to best allocate these resources falls into the hands of those who study economics. The economics major, a social science, is concerned with the production, distribution and consumption of intangibles such as time and talent, and tangibles like housing, money, supplies, equipment and labor. Although economics is a social science, this major may be part of the college of arts and sciences or the school of business, depending on the college.
Students can earn associate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees in econ, as it is often called. After earning an associate degree most people transfer to four year colleges in order to earn a bachelor's degree and many go on from there to earn master's and doctoral degrees. There are few jobs available for bachelor-level economists. Those who do not choose to pursue a higher degree in this subject sometimes pursue one in another field, for example business or law. There are also many alternative career options that utilize the skills one attains while earning a bachelor's degree in economics. Most professional positions in economics require a master's degree or a PhD.
Sample of Courses You Can Expect to Take
Bachelor's Degree Courses (Some of these courses are also offered by Associate Degree Programs)
- Principles of Economics
- Microeconomics (Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced)
- Macroeconomics (Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced)
- Economics of Developing Countries
- Business and Society
- Health Economics
- Mathematical Economics
- History of Economic Thought
- The Economics of Gender
- Statistics for Economics
- Law and Economics
- Urban and Regional Economics
Master's Degree Courses
- Global Economic Environment
- Managerial Economics
- Empirical Analysis of Trade Policy
- Research Methods in Economics
- Industrial Organization and Public Policy
- Behavioral Economics
- Financial Derivatives
- Economic History
- Economics of the Environment and Natural Resources
- Economics of Defense
- Economics of Technological Change
- Global Enterprise
- Mathematics for Economists
- Business Cycles
- Microeconomic Analysis
- Macroeconomic Analysis
- Advanced Topics in Econometrics
- Applied Econometrics
- History of Political Economy
- International Economics
- Game Theory and Economics
Career Options With Your Degree
- Bachelor's Degree (entry-level or one to two years of experience): Strategy Consultant, Research Analyst
- Master's Degree: Economist, Macro-Economic Quantitative Researcher, Instructor (Community College), Director of Research Analytics, Lead Economic Capital Modeling Analyst, Credit Risk Manager, Risk Analyst
- Doctoral Degree: Economist, Macro-Economic Quantitative Researcher, Professor, Consultant
*This list was compiled by searching job sites for openings that require a degree in economics. It includes options for those who graduate with a degree in economics only. It does not include any jobs that require earning an additional degree in another discipline.
Typical Work Settings
People who graduate with a degree in economics work for corporations, financial institutions, colleges and universities, and governments.
How High School Students Can Prepare for This Major
High school students who are thinking about studying economics in college should have a strong background in mathematics. They should take as many advanced math classes as possible. Students should also take economics classes if they are offered. Courses in statistics will also be helpful.
What Else You Need to Know
- This major may be part of a college's school of business or college of arts and sciences.
- A bachelor's degree in economics isn't necessarily a requirement for acceptance into a master's degree program, but applicants must usually have taken introductory coursework.
- Some doctoral programs require a master's degree in economics or a related field for admission while others require only a bachelor's degree. PhD candidates are awarded a master's degree after completing part of the doctoral program.
- Doctoral candidates must write a dissertation.
- Students may take from four and six years to earn a PhD.
- Some master's degree programs require students to write a thesis.
Professional Organizations and Other Resources
- American Economic Association (AEA)
- US Graduate Programs in Economics (from the AEA)
- The Association for Social Economics
- National Association for Business Economics (NABE)
- About.com US Economy