“...the science of economics is primarily a set of tools, as opposed to a subject matter... no subject, however offbeat, need be beyond its reach.” - Steven Levitt, Economist and co-author of Freakonomics
Economics is about human behavior - the choices that people, businesses, governments, and societies make under scarcity, the incentives that influence those choices, and the aggregate outcomes of those choices.
What’s the best way to reduce carbon emissions? Is a green economy possible? What should be done about the federal budget deficit? Will graduating seniors ever collect on Social Security? Can government policies reduce unemployment? Is crime an economic problem? Is obesity an economic problem? Why are some countries rich and others poor? Does international trade help or hurt workers in the United States? Economics provides answers to questions like these by analyzing how societies and markets allocate scarce resources, how incentives shape human behavior and why there are tradeoffs in virtually all public policy options.
An understanding of Economics is beneficial to all students, and you will develop skills like data literacy, modeling, critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and coordinating with others. Additionally, you will understand economic growth, unemployment, inflation and exchange rate fluctuations, with opportunities to explore the microeconomics of the public sector, industrial organization, labor and human resources, health, natural resource use, the environment, trade and development. Our department community views economics learning as a pathway to careers and opportunities that can be both personally rewarding, while also contributing to improved societal well-being.
Our faculty are award-winning researchers, dedicated teachers, and community leaders, with expertise in environmental and natural resources, public policy, health economics, and international / development and sustainability economics. There are many opportunities to work closely with our faculty, including a Departmental Honors Thesis program.
Because Economics is so widely applicable, an interdisciplinary approach is beneficial. Economics majors are encouraged to seek a minor in disciplines such as History, Geography, International Studies, Math, Political Science, Sociology, Sustainability, Business, or Computer Science, and work with the Undergraduate Director of the department to choose a program of study that works with their interests and goals. You can also develop your own minor (with department approval!) if you have specialized interests that span multiple departments.
An Economics education offers valuable skills to employers, and an undergraduate degree can prepare you for work in public policy, market research and analytics, consulting, banking and finance, teaching, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and business, and is highly desirable for those planning graduate studies in economics, public administration, law, medicine, geography, planning, business administration, international affairs, and other Humanities or Social Science fields. If you are interested in a graduate degree in Economics, the department recommends at least two semesters of calculus and linear algebra since many Economics graduate programs require deep mathematical analysis.
Minor: Economics makes an excellent minor for students pursuing majors such as Management, Political Science, Communication or Journalism, History, Geography, International Studies, and Biology and more, and for those building a pre-professional bachelor’s degree such as pre-law, pre-M.B.A. or pre-M.P.A. For example, a student with a political science major may consider electives in international economics, public finance or human resource economics, while a student with a business major may consider those in public finance and international economics.
B.A. Economics / M.S. Geography
Students complete a B.A. in Economics with a minor from the Geography & Environmental Studies department and a M.S. (Master of Science) in Geography, sharing credit between the undergraduate and graduate level for courses completed in their final year. This means you complete a B.A. and M.S. within five years and have support from your undergraduate professors as you explore this area in depth in preparation for futher study, or to enter the workforce. Students focus on geographic aspects of economics, such as the environmental limits of different economies, public finance in local and global economies, and economic forecasting, considering geographic specificity. Additionally, you conduct original research and analyze it in a thesis under the guidance of a faculty advisor.
B.A. Economics / M.P.A. Public Administration
Students complete a B.A. in Economics and a distributed minor in Public Administration in their final year, sharing credit for the minor with the Master of Public Administration degree. This final year of shared credit allows you to complete both degrees within five years, significantly reducing the cost of the M.P.A. while continuing relationships with your undergraduate professors. Students gain skills in public management and policy, institutional development and behavior, public sector human resources management, public budgeting, and other aspects of government administration, from local to national concerns.
Programs of Study
- B.A. Economics
- Online Degree Options:
- B.A. Economics
- Shared Undergraduate/Graduate Credit Programs Available:
- B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Geography
- B.A. in Economics and M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration)
- Undergraduate Academic Advisor(s):
Advisor office locations vary. Please click on your advisor's name below to learn more.
- Nathanael Faust-Shucker
- Advising Email:
- Department Email:
- Department Location:
- Economics (Bldg 57), First Floor