Majoring in Economics

Economics is a popular undergraduate major. Each year, about 400 students at W&M are economics majors. All majors work closely with a faculty advisor, who helps them plan their degree. Many take advantage of programs such as the Honors program or independent study that extend their experience outside of the classroom.

The major requirements include a relatively small number of core courses. You will complete your degree by choosing from our large and diverse set of elective courses. There are many ways to focus your economics major, but all of our graduates:

  • Are well versed in fundamental economic theory:
  • Understand economic models: their creation, modification, strengths and weaknesses
  • Have experience in collecting and analyzing data used in testing and calibrating economic models
  • Appreciate economic institutions' roles in society, politics, and history;
  • Can effectively communicate economic information through writing and verbal presentation.
  • Are encouraged to participate in research.

This flexible curriculum prepares students for a wide range of jobs after graduation. Our alumni work in fields like management and consulting, banking and finance, sales and insurance. Many also work in the public sector: for federal, state and local governments or for non-profits.

Economics majors are also well prepared for a wide range of graduate schools. More than half of our alumni pursue some form of graduate degree. Business Administration (16% of majors) and Law (12%) are the most common disciplines to study. Only about 3% of our graduates go on to complete a Ph.D in economics, but this is enough to make W&M twelfth in the nation in total economics majors who subsequently complete a Ph.D. in economics.

For details, see the Handbook for Economics Majors and Minors [pdf].