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. We strongly encourage students to finish the core classes (303, 304 and 308) early in their concentration. That way, a student’s opportunities are expanded. The recommended timing of courses includes:

  • Economics 101/102 (Principles of Economics) in the freshman or sophomore year.
  • Economics 303 (Intermediate Microeconomic Theory) and Economics 304 (Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory) in each of the next two semesters. They can be taken simultaneously, but this is often not optimal.
  • Economics 307 (Principles and Methods of Statistics) by the end of the sophomore year, or no later than the first semester of the junior year.
  • Econ 308 (Econometrics) should be completed once its statistics prerequisite (Econ 307, or other approved courses) has been met.

We recommend this sequencing because the intermediate theory courses and the statistics and econometrics courses provide students with the tools required to perform economic analysis. Students who delay taking the intermediate theory classes will be unable to take 400-level courses (since they do not meet the prerequisites), and 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.

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 increasingly essential for students who intend to use their undergraduate economics degree in their first job. The course provides the tools for doing empirical work, independent research, and Honors projects. In addition, what students learn in econometrics proves helpful in reading the literature for many other classes. For these reasons we believe that students should take Economics 307 (Principles and Methods of Statistics), which is the prerequisite for Economics 308, as early as possible, and certainly 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.