Economics Advising Guide
The basis of Economics is the study of how markets organize the production and distribution of goods and services, and how other institutions may act to modify the outcomes of markets. A common theme in many applications of economics is the debate over the proper role of the private and public sectors in dealing with societal well-being. Topics to which economic analysis may be applied include international trade, the economic aspects of the changing world order, environmental policy, issues of wealth and poverty, and the behavior of government, corporations and financial institutions. These issues are studied through a wide variety of methods, including mathematical reasoning, statistical inference, and historical study. In this regard economics differs from other social sciences primarily in its more frequent emphasis on mathematical reasoning. The goal of economics is not only to better understand the world in which we live, but also to contribute to the development of sound private and public sector policy.
Uniqueness of our program: The Dickinson College Economics program is unique and well-suited to the liberal arts. We believe that the study of Economics is most fruitful when approached from contending and comparative perspectives. In addition to the usual education in mainstream economic thought, our students are exposed to other schools of thought such as Austrian, institutional, post-Keynesian, radical, and ecological economics. Ideologically, these schools range from libertarian to socialist. Methodologically they range from highly mathematical to anti-mathematical. Our emphasis on educational breadth also applies to the international dimension, our students may study international trade and finance, alternative economic systems, and more specific courses dealing with the economies of Latin America or Japan. Along the historical dimension, students may study the evolution of our economic system and our economic ideas. The extraordinary breadth of knowledge arising from such an approach blends well with the analytical rigor of mainstream economics to produce students capable of competing in top mainstream graduate programs, yet capable of considering issues from a more fully reasoned world view than that of the typical Economics major.
Who should major in Economics: The decision to major in Economics should be based on a genuine interest in the discipline. Students should be anxious to study in depth the economic dimension of society. They should have a strong interest in contemporary economic issues such as unemployment, inflation, efficiency, deficit spending, poverty, discrimination, world hunger, corporate power, environmental pollution, the foreign challenge to the U.S. economy, unions, and other economic issues of our time. If a student has such interests, and if after testing the study of economics in an introductory economics course he/she is excited about further study, then the major is right for that person.
Introductory courses appropriate for prospective majors
ECON 111, Intro to Microeconomics is the preferred entry level course for the major or minor.
Caution: Students who are thinking about or planning to major in economics should begin the major sequence in their first or sophomore years. The economics major is a four-year program and students who enter the program late will find it difficult to complete the major in time to graduate.
Introductory courses that fulfill distribution requirements
ECON 100, Contemporary Economics
ECON 111, Intro to Microeconomics.
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Economics.
Independent study, Independent Research, and Student/Faculty Collaborative Research
Each faculty member has special fields of study and will usually be available for advice in that area. No more than two independent study, independent research, or student/faculty collaborative research enrollments may be counted toward the major and they must conform to the appropriate level within the major.
Honors in the Major
You will need to complete an in-depth two semester research project on your chosen topic and produce a written thesis that meets the standards set by the Economics Department. Students intending to graduate with honors should start the planning process during their junior year.
Preparation for graduate study
Those planning graduate study in economics should plan a minimum of four courses in math and statistics depending upon the particular graduate program they choose to enter. Students should see their Economics advisor for other information about graduate study in Economics.
Students intending to pursue graduate study in Economics are strongly urged to complete one of the following sequences beyond the basic mathematics requirement for the major: 1) ECON 474 and 475; 2) MATH 261 and 262; and ECON 475.
Careers: The Economics major graduates with a wide range of opportunities. Based on the experience of our graduates, the general analytical skills of Economics seem to be valued in certain areas of business, such as finance, consulting, economic forecasting, and general management. Economic analysis is also valued in the public sector, which employs many economists as policy analysts and economic forecasters. Thus, although business uses economics and although economics studies the behavior of business, it does not follow that the Economics major is fully prepared for or limited to a career in business. Other desirable careers frequently pursued by economics majors include law and academics. The study of Economics provides both the analytical ability and breadth of understanding to permit the student’s development into an informed and effective human being regardless of one’s career goals.