The core of the economics major is economic theory. Economic theory is the set of tools an economist uses to understand the bewildering world of commerce to predict the behavior of individuals and certain groups into which they gather. The required and elective courses of this major will give students an appreciation for the way in which professional economists look at the world and how they try to understand how it works. Students wanting to become professional economists should, of course, take this major. But it would also benefit those who are considering careers in other areas (law, public policy, business) and who have a flair for abstract reasoning and mathematics.
International Political Economy Major
International political economy (IPE) is a field of study that examines the systemic connections between the political and institutional rules of the social order and patterns of economic structure and performance in an international context. Though the field draws mainly upon economics and political science, the boundaries of IPE are somewhat fluid, incorporating sociology, anthropology, history, and area/regional studies. The IPE major complements existing programs in international education by offering an international field of study that incorporates a rigorous quantitative sequence as part of its core curriculum. This internationally oriented major that emphasizes social scientific empirical methods will be especially attractive to students interested in pursuing graduate programs in development studies and international economics, and careers in international business consulting, financial services, and NGO operations.
Business Economics Major
The business economics major is designed for students who want to understand how economic organizations function and who want to run economic organizations: for-profit firms, not-for-profit firms, and governmental organizations. The major has two analytical cores.
First, economic analysis is essential to understand the micro- and macro-economic environments within which economic organizations operate and to identify the trade-offs that these organizations face. Second, a two-course sequence in accounting and finance teaches the basic analytical concepts required to evaluate the financial history, to guide the day-to-day operation, and to envision the future paths of an economic organization. Graduates will be equipped to participate in the operation of all forms of economic organizations, to work in the financial services sector, to pursue professional programs, or to start their own businesses.
Quantitative Economics Major
The quantitative economics major enables students to use elements of mathematics to model scenarios in microeconomics and macroeconomics. It teaches students empirical techniques that enable them to test hypotheses emerging from the underlying micro and macro theory by using data drawn from individual firms and entire economies around the world. Through their course choices, students can observe quantitative comparisons between benefits and costs in a variety of contexts that range from the environment to health, gender, labor, and systems for organizing economic activity.