Major in Economics


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 Theory: Standard (ECON 2201) and Honors (ECON 2203)
Macroeconomic Theory: Standard (ECON 2202) and Honors (ECON 2204)

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 and CSOM concentrators 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.

The Honors sections of Theory should be taken by students planning to participate in the Honors Program as a substitute for ECON 2201 and ECON 2202, and by all students considering graduate work in economics. They are designed for students who have an aptitude for theory, have done well in Principles and have had one year of calculus (MATH 1102-1103 [preferred], MATH 1100-1101, or the equivalent). Department permission is required to register for the Honors sections of Theory.

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.

Economics Electives

The department offers a wide variety of electives covering the major fields in economics and also reflecting the research interests of the faculty. Courses at the 2000-level require Principles and/or Statistics as prerequisites. Courses at the 3000-level require one or both Theory courses. A growing number of upper-level electives may have additional requirements, such as Econometrics. Consult the course listings for specific information on course content and prerequisites.

Writing-Intensive Courses

Each semester the department will offer several electives in a writing-intensive format with lower enrollments and a significant writing component. These courses provide excellent opportunities to develop writing skills and to get to know a professor more closely. Consult the course listings each semester for up-to-date information on which courses are being offered in this format.

Independent Study (ECON 2299, ECON 3399)
Senior Thesis Research (ECON 4497)
Advanced Independent Research (ECON 6601)

Independent Study provides students with the opportunity to explore in depth a topic that has been introduced in an existing department elective or to do research in an area that is not covered by the current elective offerings. A written proposal must be developed in consultation with a faculty member who has agreed to supervise the project and submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval prior to registrationProposal form.

ECON 4497 is open to students who participate in the department's Honors Program, and ECON 6601 is open to students doing Scholar of the College projects. In each case students should consult with Prof. Robert Murphy prior to registration. Application form.

Students may count only one independent course toward the electives required for the major.

Internships (ECON 1199)

ECON 1199 is a one-credit-hour course available for any student who wishes to do an internship with an agency or organization that requires a Boston College connection as a condition for offering the internship opportunity. A student who wishes to enroll in ECON 1199 must complete an approval form that can be downloaded or obtained from the office of the associate deans of Arts and Sciences. The form must be signed by the student's supervisor in the organization or agency providing the internship and then by the Undergraduate Program Specialist for the Economics department. After it is signed it should be sent to the student's class dean. At the end of the internship the supervisor must provide an evaluation to the Undergraduate Program Specialist. The internship will be graded on a pass-fail basis. Internship credit does not reduce any other course credit required for completing the major.

Graduate Courses

Juniors or seniors with exceptional records and with good mathematical backgrounds are invited to take one or more courses offered in the Ph.D. program (courses numbered in the 7000's and 8000's).