The Economics Program
Economics is a method of analyzing human behavior in any environment subject to scarcity. As such, it provides insight into a wide range of social problems and issues, including unemployment, inflation, poverty, discrimination, international trade, the environment, and the role of government in society.
The Department of Economics offers a contemporary curriculum in economics within the framework of the liberal arts. With an emphasis on writing, speaking, computing, quantitative methods, and other research skills, graduates of our program are equipped with a general education to lead productive lives in the twenty-first century. The University’s proximity to Washington, D.C., and a supportive local business community create stimulating internship opportunities. Economics majors regularly present original research at professional meetings, and co-edit the journal of undergraduate research in economics, Issues in Political Economy. Students with superior academic records who complete an original research project are eligible for honors.
Two organizations that promote the study of economics are associated with the department. The Economics Club encourages discussion of current issues, sponsors speakers and social events, and kindles interaction among students and faculty. It is open to all students. Omicron Delta Epsilon is a national economics honor society for students with superior academic records.
Each year, the department bestows four awards. The Henry W. Hewetson Award is presented to a graduating senior to honor academic achievement and service to the department. The other awards are scholarships to promote study in economics. The James Harvey Dodd Award is given to a junior economics major based on financial need and academic achievement. The Adam Smith Award is given to a graduating senior based on potential for graduate study. The Fred E. Miller Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a rising junior or senior who is double-majoring in Economics and Business Administration.
The recommended introductory courses are Economics 201 and 202. Economics 300 introduces students to the methods of economic analysis and should be taken as early as possible in the student’s curriculum. These three courses prepare students for 300 and 400-level courses on a variety of theoretical and applied topics. ECON 490 (Experiential Learning), ECON 491 (Individual Study in Economics), and ECON 499 (Internship) are department courses that expose students to the economics profession through experiential learning in the discipline.
Requirements for the Major in Economics
Thirty-nine (39) credits, to include ECON 201, 202, 300, 303, 304, 361, 462; either ECON 374 or 375; and fifteen (15) additional credits in upper-level economics courses. No more than nine (9) hours in experiential learning courses (ECON 490, ECON 491, and ECON 499) may count toward the major. No more than six (6) credits in any one experiential learning course may count toward the major.
Economics Course Offerings
Economics course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of ECON in the course listings.
100 – Economics of Social Issues (3)
This course surveys contemporary social issues, while focusing on economic aspects and using economic approaches.
201 – Principles of Macroeconomics (3)
One half of the two-semester introduction to economics and economic theory in the context of a general education course. Survey of economic activity in the economy as a whole, focusing on such issues as economic growth and business cycles, unemployment, and inflation.
202 – Principles of Microeconomics (3)
One half of the two-semester introduction to economics and economic theory in the context of a general education course. Economic analysis of households, firms, and markets.
300 – Introduction to Economic Analysis (3)
Prerequisites: Economics 201 and 202, and major or minor status. This first course in a three course sequence (including 361 and 462) on the development of research skills in economics, students will be introduced to the tools of economic analysis, including how to develop a good research question, how to do a literature search in economics, how to find and collect economic data, and how to integrate economic theory and empirical analysis, as wall as oral and written presentation skills.
301 – Mathematical Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Use of mathematical methods in economic analysis. Topics will include equilibrium analysis, comparative statics, and optimizations.
303 – Microeconomics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Systematic study of the role of the price system in organizing economic activity and an evaluation of its effectiveness.
304 – Macroeconomics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Analysis of the determinants of macroeconomic activity including national income, employment, and the price level. Investigation of the capabilities and limits of government stabilization and growth policies.
311 – Industrial Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Case study analysis of different types of structural organization, behavior, and performance of industry.
312 – Government and Business (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. The rationale for and impact of government participation in the marketplace.
321 – Money and Banking (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Analysis of financial instruments, markets and intermediaries and monetary policy.
322 – Investment Analysis (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Introduction to portfolio theory and the evaluation of investment alternatives. Topics include the stock market and the valuation of securities.
324 – Economics of Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Sector (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Exploration of economic issues associated with philanthropy and the non-profit sector.
331 – Environmental and Resource Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. The application of economic methods to analysis of environmental and natural resource issues. Public policy issues will also be considered.
332 – Economics of Health (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. A survey of market behavior, institutions, and public policy in the provision of health services.
333 – Introduction to Game Theory (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Introduction to the theory of games as applied to the study of economics, business and international affairs. Topics include games of complete and incomplete information and non-cooperative games and cooperative games.
341 – Public Finance (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Economic analysis of the impact of government spending and taxation on the allocation of resources and distribution of income.
342- Law and Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Economic analysis of legal rules and institutions.
351 – Poverty, Affluence, and Equality (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Economic analysis of the distributions of income and wealth, poverty, and discrimination.
352 – Labor Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Economics of labor force participation, occupational choice, education and training, mobility, compensation systems, productivity and unemployment. Specific topics at discretion of instructor.
354 – Urban and Regional Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. An economic analysis of contemporary urban topics including location theory and economic structure of cities, growth and development of central cities and ghettos, housing, transportation, poverty, crime, and fiscal issues.
361 – Introductory Econometrics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201, 202 and 300. ECON 361 is the second course of a three-course sequence (including 300 and 462) on the development of research skills in economics. The course provides students with a more sophisticated understanding of the statistical methods used in economics and expects students to produce more sophisticated economic research.
374 – History of Economic Thought (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. A survey of economic analysis from antiquity to the 21st century. Focus on the 18th and 19th centuries.
375 – American Economic History (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. The study of factors contributing to the economic development of the United States.
381– Microfinance for Development (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Discusses the economic lives of the poor, provides an introduction to the theoretical foundations of microfinance, and reviews the relationship between microfinance, household level poverty and the development process.
382 – International Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. An introduction to international trade, the balance of payments, exchange rate determination, and related issues of international economic policy.
384 – Economic Development (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. An introduction to theories of economic development. Focus on current problems of developing countries.
405 – Contemporary Economic Issues (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201, 202, 303 and 304. Discussion of contemporary issues in economic theory and policy.
462 – Advanced Economic Analysis (3)
Prerequisite: ECON 201, 202, 361 and Senior Standing. ECON 462 is the third course in a three-course sequence (along with 300 and 361) in the development of research skills in economics. This course has the highest expectations with respect to mastery of statistical methods in economic research and the quality of research produced. This course serves as a capstone to the study of economics at the University.
482 – International Finance (3)
Prerequisite: ECON 201, 202 and 382. Survey of the major topics in contemporary international finance: exchange rate determination, international banking, currency speculation, and European Monetary Union.
485 – New Institutional Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201, 202, and 384. Comparison of the institutions that govern the production and distribution of goods and services in different countries. Focus on the evolution of institutions and their influence on economic performance.
488 – Seminar in Economics (3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Special topics of interest to faculty and students.
490 – Experiential Learning (1-3)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202 and permission of the instructor. A faculty supervised experience
designed to challenge students to go outside of the bounds of the typical classroom.
491 – Individual Study in Economics (1-6)
Prerequisites: ECON 201 and 202. Directed individual research on an approved topic in economics. Required for honors in economics.
499 – Internship (Credits variable)
Prerequisites: ECON201 and 202. Supervised off-campus experience, developed in consultation with the department.