Economics and Mathematics

Economic theories are often expressed most effectively using formal mathematics, and graduate school in economics requires a considerable investment in formal mathematics training.

The undergraduate curriculum at William & Mary is designed to accommodate both students who are comfortable with formal mathematics and those who are not.  The curriculum in courses at the 100-level and 300-level is built on the assumption that all William and Mary students are proficient in basic algebra.  A few courses at the 400-level require calculus, and this will be indicated in the course catalog or on the instructor’s syllabus.  In short, the Department does not have a calculus requirement for economics majors.  Because of the importance of calculus in economic modeling, the Department does encourage all students to take formal mathematics at least through basic calculus.

For students interested in graduate training in economics, the Department strongly recommends taking several mathematics courses as undergraduates.  For graduate school in economics, Mathematics 111 and 112 (Calculus), Mathematics 211 (Linear Algebra), and Mathematics 212 (Multivariate Calculus) are strongly recommended.   These courses are often useful preparation for students interested in graduate programs in Business, Public Policy, and Urban Planning.