Advanced Placement

The Difference Between AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics

The study of economics is a social science that focuses on how goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed. Economics courses are often broken up into two categories: Microeconomics, which focuses on individuals, businesses, and markets, and Macroeconomics, which examines the economy as a whole and deals with issues affecting the entire nation or region. AP® Microeconomics and AP® Macroeconomics cover different topics, but each class offers the opportunity to earn credit, advanced placement, or both.


What Will You Learn in AP Macroeconomics?

AP Macroeconomics focuses on the principles that apply to an economic system in its entirety. This includes topics like the measurement of employment and inflation, the national income, the financial sector, the foreign exchange market, and economic growth. You’ll also learn about the effects of fiscal policy actions, such as increasing income taxes, on the national economy.


What Will You Learn in AP Microeconomics?

AP Microeconomics focuses on the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision-makers, both consumers and businesses. You’ll study topics such as supply and demand, how businesses can maximize profits, pricing goods and services, and monopolies. You’ll also examine the conditions under which markets fail and how government intervention can correct such market failures.


How Are AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics Similar?

AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics will help you develop the skills necessary to analyze and summarize data and information about the economy using a variety of visual representations. Both courses will help you to:

  • Define economic principles and models.
  • Analyze and explain economic outcomes.
  • Model economic situations using graphs, data, or charts.

Studying economics can open doors to many different majors and careers like financial analysis, law, government, management consulting, and urban and regional planners. Learn more about the majors and careers related to AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics.


How Are AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics Different?

While you'll use analytical and problem-solving skills in both courses, AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics focus on different topics within the science of economics. For a complete list of topics covered, review the course content on the AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics course pages.

Although there’s no prerequisite for either course, it’s important to have a strong math background. Schools may also choose to offer these courses separately as one semester options or combined as a full one-year economics course. Talk with your counselor to see what’s available at your school and what may work best for you and your schedule.