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Undergraduate: Economics

  • Program Overview

    Economics (ECO)

    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 and in statistical methods by taking ECO 320 and 321. The remaining economics courses used to satisfy the major requirements focus on specific 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 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 degree. 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 obtain an offer for an internship through the Career Center or otherwise, and the permission of a faculty member to register for ECO 488 under their supervision. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with prospective faculty members before signing up for the internship to ensure the internship can be used as a basis for an analytical paper.





  • Degrees and Requirements

    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 approximately 41-45 credits.

    A. A minimum of 11 courses, at least ten 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
    • ECO 320 Mathematical Statistics
    • ECO 321 Econometrics

    3. Five additional courses in economics at the 300 level and above, not including ECO 359 or ECO 459. Each of these must be taken for a minimum of three credits.

    4. One additional course, either in economics (not including ECO 359 or ECO 459) or from a list of pre-approved electives in other departments, that carries a minimum of three credits.

    Note: No more than two 400-level courses will count toward fulfillment of the major.

    B.  MAT 125 Calculus A (or MAT 130/MAT 125). If students do not place into MAT 125  on the basis of the math placement examination,  MAT 123  or MAT 119/MAT 123 is a required course for the major.
    or  AMS 151  Applied Calculus I
    or level 6 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 during their senior year, after having completed all (or most) of their upper-division major requirements. All students must do so by registering for the WRTD certified class ECO 359 unless they intend to complete a larger, more substantial, independent research project. Those seeking to complete a substantial independent research project should not register for ECO 359. They should instead seek a faculty member's approval to register for ECO 487 and obtain their WRTD certification by registering for the 0-credit ECO 459 class in the same semester. In exceptional cases, a paper completed as part of another upper division class might be used to satisfy the upper-division writing requirement as long as the class instructor and student agree to this and the student registers for ECO 459 at the same time.

    For double majors, students need to fulfill the Economics upper-division writing requirement in addition to their other major upper-division writing requirement.


    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 Undergraduate Committee. Students interested in graduating with honors will need to plan their studies well so they can produce an honors thesis of truly original content by the end of their graduation semester. Students will need to take upper division classes on topics of their interest and identify faculty members that are able and willing to guide them through a substantial research project. They should agree with the faculty member and register for ECO 487 in a subsequent semester and ensure that they and their advisor devote enough time on the project to bring it to the level required for the honors designation.

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

    1. A grade point average of at least 3.5 in the five required courses (see A1 and A2 above), with no less than a B in any one of these courses.
    2. A grade point average of at least 3.50 in five upper division electives in Economics (see A3 above).
    3. Six credits in economics at the 400 level.
    4. An honors thesis, submitted to the director of undergraduate studies for honors evaluation by the Undergraduate Committee.




  • Sequence

    Sample Course Sequence for the Major in Economics

    For more information about SBC courses that fulfill major requirements, click here.  


    FALL Credits
    First Year Seminar 101 1
    WRT 101 3
    MAT 122 or MAT 123 or AMS 151 3
    SBC 3
    SBC 3
    SBC  3
    Total  16
    SPRING Credits
    First Year Seminar 102 1
    WRT 102 3
    MAT 125 or AMS 151 3-4
    ECO 108  4
    SBC  3 
    SBC  3
     Total 17-18

    FALL Credits
     ECO 303  4
     ECO 305 4
     ECO 320 4
      SBC  3
     Total 15
    SPRING Credits
    SBC 3
    Upper-division ECO  3
    SBC  3
    Upper-division elective  3
    Elective  3
     Total 15

    FALL Credits
    Upper-division ECO   3 
    Upper-division ECO  3
    Upper-division elective  3
    SBC  3
    SBC  3
     Total  15
    SPRING Credits
     Upper-division ECO  3
    ECO elective or other approved course
    Upper-division elective
    ECO 321 4
     SBC 3
     Total 16 

    FALL Credits
    SBC  3
    SBC   3 
    Upper-division elective  3
    Upper-division elective  3
    Elective  3
     Total 15
    SPRING Credits
     Upper-division ECO   3 
    ECO elective or other approved course  3
    Upper-division elective   3 
     Elective  3
    Elective  3
     Total 15 


  • Contact

    Economics (ECO)

    Major in Economics

    Department of Economics, College of Arts and Sciences

    Chair: Kathleen McGarry

    Director of Undergraduate Studies: Hugo Benitez-Silva

    Undergraduate Program Coordinator: Victoria Judd

    Office: S-601 Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Phone: (631) 632-7540



    Second Majors and Minors of particular interest to students majoring in Economics: Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS),  Business (BUS, major only), Computer Science (CSE), International Studies (INT)




  • Courses