Major and Minor in Economics

To declare or change a Major or Minor in Economics please fill out this form.

Overview of the Major in Economics

There is a calculus pre-requisite to be completed before taking either intermediate theory course and econometrics. The list below should be used as a guideline. If you have questions, please contact the economics Academic Advisor or Director of Undergraduate Studies.

  • One semester (MATH 1102 [preferred], MATH 1100 or advanced placement) 
  • It is recommended that those who are less comfortable with the math also take ECON 2211 Math for Economic Analysis prior to or concurrent with ECON 2201.

The AB Calculus version of Advanced Placement will be accepted as one semester of calculus and the BC Calculus version will be accepted as two semesters of calculus. Students with other forms of Advanced Placement (e.g., International Baccalaureate) should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Students considering graduate work in economics or related disciplines should take additional mathematics courses, roughly the equivalent of a minor in mathematics.

The Economics major is meant to be structured. Students should take ECON 1101 before taking economics courses other than Statistics.

With the exception of ECON 2211, students should complete at least one Intermediate Theory course before beginning the electives, although we recognize that those who start the major late may not have time to follow this sequence precisely. Students who need to take an elective before completing an Intermediate Theory course should register for a 2000-level elective that has only Principles as a prerequisite. It is also sometimes possible, with permission of the professor, to take a 3000-level elective concurrently with its Intermediate Theory prerequisite.

Economics electives are taught in two formats: the traditional lecture format, with enrollments up to 50, and a smaller writing-intensive format, with enrollments capped at 20 to 25 depending on the size of the writing component. Students are urged to take advantage of the writing-intensive courses and to check with the Department before the registration period to learn which courses will be offered in which format.

General department policy is that students may apply external credits to no more than three courses for the major. External credits are any college level credits taken outside the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. This includes summer session(s) at BC or another institution, study abroad programs, and/or courses through Woods College of Advancing Studies. Below are the types of courses which can be taken outside the MCAS Economics department. *Note: the exception to this is for students who participate in a year-long study abroad experience; in this case a student can take a third elective.   

  • One introductory course
  • Two electives*
All intermediate courses [Theories, Statistics, and Econometrics] must be taken through the BC Economics department. Exceptions are made for transfer students.
 
Transfer students who have taken economics courses at their previous school should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss their individual situations. In general, if a student has taken Principles of Microeconomics course OR a Principles of Macroeconomics course, it will count as one course towards the Social Science Core requirement but it will not count towards the major. You will need to take Principles of Economics (ECON 1101). However, if a student has taken both Micro and Macro Principles courses, they will generally receive credit for ECON 1101, satisfying one course towards the major. If the student took a single Principles of Economics course, that combined both Microeconomic and Macroeconomic elements, this will generally be accepted as equivalent to ECON 1101.

The Department recognizes advanced placement based on AP, IB, or similar coursework for Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics. Please consult the University's Core Curriculum fwebsite for information on policies and qualifying scores. Each of these counts as a course towards the Social Science Core requirement.

Students who have earned advanced placement in both Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics are not required to take Principles of Economics (ECON 1101). However, they are still required to complete eleven courses for the major by taking additional elective courses.

The requirements for students who double major in Economics and another Arts and Sciences major are the same as for the major.

Principles of Economics (ECON 1101)

This course, which qualifies as one of the two required University Social Science Core courses, is the introductory course to the major.

This course is reasonably standardized. All instructors use one of the more analytical texts on the market. The level of difficulty and coverage is very similar across sections. The courses are test and problem-set oriented. Students can expect one or two mid-term exams and a comprehensive final exam.

There are no specific prerequisites for the Principles course, but all Principles instructors assume that students  are able to read graphs and understand the fundamentals of high school algebra and geometry, in particular the algebra of a straight line. Students lacking these fundamentals should take a remedial mathematics course prior to registering for Principles.

Statistics (ECON 1151) and Econometric Methods (ECON 2228)

A one-semester statistics course (ECON 1151) is required of all majors. The statistics course is a 4-credit course. It covers probability theory, random variables, sampling, estimation, hypothesis testing, and an introduction to regression analysis. All students taking Statistics for credit toward the Economics major or minor must take the course in the BC Economics department. CSOM Economics concentrators should take the Statistics course offered through the Carroll School.

A one-semester Econometric Methods course (ECON 2228) is required of all majors. This course is a semester of regression analysis and is offered both semesters. It is the pay-off course in statistics for economics majors. It is a four-credit course which focuses on how economists analyze data to test various theories. All students taking Econometrics (ECON 2228) for credit toward the major must take the course in the BC Economics department. One semester of Calculus and Statistics are prerequisites for ECON 2228.

This course should be taken by the end of sophomore year. Late entrants to the major must complete the course as early as possible in their junior year. ECON 2228 is a strict prerequisite for an increasing number of electives, such as Financial Econometrics (ECON 3327), Impact Evaluation in Developing Countries (ECON 3373), Applied Health Economics (ECON 3390) among others.

Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Theory

Micro and Macro Theory are one-semester courses that are required for all majors, minors, and CSOM concentrators. Both theory courses must be taken in the BC Economics department. Several sections of each are offered each term and they may be taken in either order. There is a prerequisite of one semester of calculus, as described above.

Economics majors should complete both intermediate theory courses by the end of their sophomore year. Late majors must complete this as early as possible in their junior year. Minors must complete one of these courses by the end of the junior year. Exceptions to this policy may be granted by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

All Theory sections are test and problem-set oriented with one or two mid-term exams and a comprehensive final. Choice of text is up to the individual professors.