Economics

About the Department

Economics focuses on decision making and problem solving. It concerns itself with making intelligent individual and social choices in a world of scarcity. The department believes that a student who spends four years wrestling with economic issues and developing the analytical tools necessary to resolve them will emerge with sharpened reasoning and communication skills and will be more alert to the complexities of the world.

The mission of the Economics program is to educate undergraduates in the fundamental concepts and methods of economics and to help them become better informed and more productive citizens through enhanced understanding of the economic underpinnings of society. Learning outcomes for students include the development of sufficient facility with the tools of economics to critically analyze private and public decision-making processes, contemporary and historical socioeconomic issues, and the fundamental role that economic forces play in political and social development.

The programs in economics are designed to provide students with a strong background in economic theory and applied analysis. The department offers majors leading to both the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in economics, as well as a minor. The BA degree is designed for students seeking broad preparation in more than a single area and is often combined with second majors in business administration, literature, mathematics, or politics and government. The BS degree is designed for students with outstanding quantitative skills or those with an interest in graduate study in economics or applied mathematics.

All Economics students should: (1) develop sufficient facility with the tools of economics to be able to critically analyze private and public decision-making processes and contemporary and historical socioeconomic issues; (2) understand the fundamental role that economic forces play in social development; and (3) understand economics as inextricably intertwined with politics and history, as well as social and cultural institutions.

Economics majors should demonstrate the ability to: (1) understand and manipulate complex economic models and draw meaningful connections between these models and empirical applications; (2) conduct an empirical economic research project and convey the findings effectively, both orally and in writing;(3) develop short and long-run implications of alternative policy choices by rigorous application of microeconomics and macroeconomics; (4) understand and critique recent economic research; (5) be aware of recent developments in the U.S. and world economy; (6) understand the relationship between economics and research conducted in other social sciences; and (7) acquire specific technical skills appropriate to their career goals.

Economics majors should develop excellent communications skills, including the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Using these skills, they should be compentent to convey: (1) their understanding of the technical aspects of economics, (2) the results of empirical analysis and applied theory, (3) their familiarity with recent economic events, and (4) any critical assessment of the discipline.

Economics majors planning to undertake graduate study should: (1) develop advanced technical expertise in mathematics, mathematical economics, and econometrics; and (2) develop an appreciation of current economic conditions and of the institutional, historical, social, and cultural settings to which economic theory and policy are applied.

The Economics faculty is known for its scholarship and for its commitment to undergraduate teaching. The department offers challenging courses that are popular with economics majors and non-majors alike. This popularity can be attributed not only to the depth of knowledge of the professors, but also to their superb teaching skills. Department faculty members take an active role in academic advising of students from many areas of the university and in other important university and community affairs.

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