Economics Department Courses and Requirements

Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources. It provides tools useful in diverse personal and professional activities. Students who major in economics often go on to graduate schools of economics, business, or law; or find jobs in finance, consulting, other business, the non-profit sector, or government. Students who seek work immediately after graduation find that education in economics broadens job opportunities. The department also offers a minor.

Students who take our courses learn about a wide range of forces that shape our economy and society. Our curriculum emphasizes economic theory, statistical analysis and the role of public policy in addressing economic and social problems. We teach students how to construct and test rigorous models of individual and aggregate behavior and how to interpret empirical results in the context of competing explanations. We offer a broad range of courses designed to serve the aspirations of all economics majors, as well as the intellectual purposes of the broader student body.


First-year students may take a placement exam offered by the Department to determine whether they may skip ECON 051 PO or ECON 052 PO prior to taking a more advanced course in economics that has one or both of these courses as a prerequisite. Majors and minors in Economics can consider their course requirements for 51 or 52 waived if they perform satisfactorily on the relevant portion of the test, but a student who skips both 51 and 52 must take one additional economics elective to fulfill the major or minor requirement. Placement exams are offered before classes start in the fall, before spring pre-registration in November, and before fall pre-registration in April.

Recommended Programs

It is strongly recommended that students take at least one economics course at the College before enrolling in 101 or 102. Potential economics majors and minors and others who plan to take economic statistics are encouraged to take ECON 57 PO early in their education, as it can enhance their experience in our elective courses. Students majoring in economics are advised to complete their six core courses (51, 52, 57, 101, 102, and 107/167) early in the major, and before studying abroad, to open up more elective courses for them.