Planning Your Major

Recommended Timing of Courses

The requirement that at least nine semester hours must be taken in courses numbered 400 or above, combined with the fact that all 400-level courses have a prerequisite of at least one course in Intermediate Economic Theory (Economics 303 and/or 304), means that the Intermediate Economic Theory courses cannot be put off until the final semester. It is possible to put these courses off until one's next-to-last semester, but this is strongly discouraged. The recommended timing of courses includes:

  • Economics 101 (Principles of Economics) in the freshman or sophomore year
  • one each of Economics 303 (Intermediate Microeconomic Theory) and Economics 304 (Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory) in each of the next two semesters
  • Economics 307 (Principles and Methods of Statistics) during the sophomore year or no later than the first semester of the junior year.

We recommend this sequence of courses because the intermediate theory courses and the statistics course provide students with the tools required to perform economic analysis. Students who delay taking the intermediate theory courses will not only be unable to take 400-level courses (because they do not meet the prerequisites), but they will also find any other economics classes to be more difficult. The intermediate theory courses provide the foundations of economic analysis that are used in all the other courses.

While not required, Economics 308 (Econometrics) is one of the most important courses that a student concentrating in economics can take. This course is essential for those intending to pursue graduate work in economics, business, or any public policy related program, and is strongly recommended for students who intend to use their undergraduate economics degree in their first job. The course provides the background for empirical work with useful tools for independent research and Honors projects. In addition, it is helpful in reading the literature for many courses. For these reasons we believe that it is important that students take Economics 307 (Principles and Methods of Statistics), a prerequisite for Economics 308, during the sophomore year or no later than first semester of the junior year.

In general we recommend that students attempt to spread their economics training throughout their undergraduate years in such a way that they have no more than three economics courses in any given semester. Students who are late converts to economics may find this difficult, and exceptions to this guideline have been common in the past.