Economics

The Economics major provides a critical examination of how the economic system works in the United States and throughout the world. The introductory course, ECON1101, is a survey of economic problems, policies, and theory. The required courses in micro theory and macro theory, ECON2201–ECON2202, give a deeper analytical foundation. The two required courses in quantitative methods, ECON1151 and ECON2228, develop analytical and empirical research skills. Electives permit further study in a wide range of fields, including: banking, fiscal policy, international trade and finance, law and economics, public sector economics, development studies, capital theory and finance, labor economics, income distribution, financial econometrics, industrial organization, consumer economics, health economics, history of economic thought, transportation economics, environmental economics, urban economics, political economy, financial markets, real estate, sports, and public policy analysis.

The Economics major provides a foundation that is useful to those planning careers in law, government service, and business as well as those planning careers as professional economists. Professional economists work as leaders, administrators, and managers in a wide variety of fields.

The Core Courses

Principles of Economics (ECON1101) is a 4-credit course, with 3 hours of lecture and a 1-hour discussion section. This satisfies one of the two required social science Core courses. Qualifying AP scores on Micro Principles or Macro Principles can be used to satisfy the remaining social science Core course requirement. It is possible to waive this requirement entirely with qualifying AP scores on both Micro Principles and Macro Principles AP exams, but the Department strongly recommends taking Principles of Economics at Boston College for a well-rounded introduction to the U.S. economy and current policy issues. Some Enduring Questions and Complex Problems courses, available to first-year students, are offered by Economics faculty. They satisfy the Social Science core, but they do not count toward Economics major requirements.

Principles of Economics I/Microeconomics and Principles of Economics II/Macroeconomics (ECON1131 and ECON1132) satisfy the Core requirements in the social sciences. They are not open to students in the Class of 2023 and will not be offered after Spring 2020.

Requirements for Class of 2023 and Beyond

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Requirements for Classes of 2021 and 2022

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Double Major

Requirements for double majors are the same as those for the major.

Courses Taken Outside the Department

Students are permitted to transfer in external credits from summer study, study abroad, and any coursework taken outside the MCAS Economics department. WCAS, study abroad through OIP, and BC Summer Study are all considered external. The maximum number allowed for majors is two courses and one course for minors. Nine out of the eleven required courses for majors must be taken through the department. Six out of the seven required courses for minors must be taken through the department. Students transferring in from another university may transfer in more courses depending on their class year. However, at least five of the courses towards the major must be taken with the MCAS Economics department at Boston College.

The Theory courses,* ECON1151 Statistics and ECON2228 Econometric Methods, may not be taken outside the department.

All external courses need the syllabi approved by the Director of Undergraduate Study to determine eligibility for transfer. Lists of pre-approved courses abroad and through WCAS are listed on the Economics website.

The Department requires that at least nine of the courses for the major, and five of the courses for the minor and the CSOM concentration, be taken within the Department. Of the two courses that may be taken outside the Department, the following limit applies: a maximum of two electives for the major and one elective for the minor or CSOM concentration. The Theory courses, Statistics, and Econometric Methods may not be taken outside the Department. Students who transfer from another university may transfer more than three courses towards the major, but must take at least five courses for the major at Boston College. The transferred courses may include the Theory courses. All students who wish to receive credit for courses taken outside the Department must contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who will determine if particular courses can be counted towards the major, minor, or CSOM concentration. Note, finally, that the limits apply in total to all courses taken outside the Department. For example, a student who is studying abroad and has already received credit towards the major for an elective taken in a summer program can only receive credit for one elective taken abroad.

*Exceptions can be made for transfer students.

Economics Internship

ECON1199 Economics Internship, a 1-credit course, is 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 ECON1199 is required to complete an approval form that can be obtained in the Dean's Office of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. The form must be signed by the student's supervisor in the organization or agency providing the internship and by the Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. After it is signed, it should be sent to the student's class dean. At the end of the internship, the agency or organization supervisor must provide an evaluation to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The internship is graded on a pass/fail basis. Credits received through internships cannot be applied to the credits required for completing the major, minor, or CSOM concentration. Only one such credit will be counted toward the 120 required for graduation.

Information for Study Abroad

There are many excellent economics programs offered through universities overseas. Students are encouraged to ask their faculty advisors and the Office of International Programs for details about the quality of various programs. Schools with strong programs in economics include the London School of Economics and University College London in England; Trinity College and University College Dublin in Ireland; Pompeu Fabra University, Universidad Complutense, and Universidad Carlos III in Spain; University of Paris Dauphine in France; Bocconi University in Italy; and the University of Melbourne in Australia. Some programs require a full-year commitment, which requires careful planning in order to complete major requirements.

To ensure that students are able to complete the requirements for the major in time for graduation, we prefer students to have five courses completed before studying abroad: Principles of Economics, Statistics, Econometric Methods, and Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Theory. Minors and CSOM concentrators should have completed Principles of Economics, Statistics, and at least one Theory course. At a minimum, all students must complete Principles of Economics and one Theory course to be approved for study abroad. To be eligible to transfer back credits for the major, minor, or CSOM concentration, students must earn at least a B- in at least one of the Theory courses before going abroad.

Department policies on study-abroad courses are as follows:

  • Up to two of the electives that are required for the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Economics major may be taken abroad. Minors and CSOM concentrators are limited to counting one elective from abroad towards their degree requirements.
  • The prerequisite restrictions on upper-level and lower-level electives taken at Boston College apply to courses taken abroad.
  • Electives previously transferred from outside the Department, such as from a summer program, reduce the number of electives that can be transferred from study abroad.
  • Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Theory, Statistics, and Econometric Methods cannot be taken abroad. This means that students interested in studying abroad must carefully plan their courses for the major. Theory courses and Econometric Methods must be completed by the end of junior year. For example, students who begin the major in sophomore year should take the Principles and Statistics courses and one of the Theory courses in the second semester, and then complete the second Theory course and Econometric Methods junior year in the semester that they are at Boston College. These students should not expect to be approved for study abroad for their entire junior year.

Those students planning to participate in the Department’s Honors program are strongly advised to identify a thesis topic and a faculty supervisor before going abroad. Very tight deadlines during the fall semester of senior year make this advance planning essential.

Students should meet with their advisors to plan their semester or year abroad. Students who are considering doing Ph.D. work in economics should think ahead and plan their programs abroad with particular care.