Major Spotlight: What is a Economics Major?
As the old song says, money makes the world go 'round. However, without the proper knowledge, it’s difficult to figure out exactly how.
Economics majors learn to decode the systems behind what can often appear impossible to understand. They study economic models and theories to analyze how the seemingly simple acts of buying and selling can be complicated by factors such as taxes, interest rates, inflation, labor disagreements, and even the weather.
Economics majors learn about economic theory, economic systems such as capitalism, and mathematical methods. They use their knowledge to analyze how limited resources are made, traded, and used.
“Econ’s relentlessly applicable. Once you get a feel for the tools of the field, you can apply them everywhere.”Andrew, senior, linguistics and economics, UC Berkeley
Are You Ready To...?
- Write a senior thesis on, for example, social welfare or banking
- Read the news every day
- Play an investment-simulation game with your peers
- Work with actual research data, such as census numbers
- Compare Democratic and Republican tax plans
It Helps To Be...
Interested in why things happen the way they do. Economics uses models to explain and predict what can often seem chaotic.
- Does the program offer a B.S., a B.A., or both?
- Will you be able to take courses in a specialization you’re interested in, such as labor economics or public finance?
- What are the math and foreign language requirements?
- Does the program include a capstone experience, such as a senior seminar, honors thesis, or independent-study project?
- Does the department have a study-abroad program?
- Will the program help you find an internship?
- Does the department sponsor activities such as a club, lectures, or conferences?
Did You Know?
A B.S. degree in economics focuses on math, statistics, and other quantitative methods, while a B.A. degree incorporates liberal arts classes and a foreign language requirement.
More and more economics programs are requiring their students to take a course in econometrics. In econometrics, you’ll learn how to apply statistics to economic models.
The class is usually divided into two parts. One part is a lecture, in which you’ll discuss the issues involved in working with economic data. The second part is a lab, in which you’ll practice working with statistical software packages, testing theories on actual data.