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Undergraduate Advising

  • Package for Undergraduate Economics Majors
    The following document contains information regarding the requirements for an economics major, a graduation certification check-off sheet, mathematics requirements for Ph.D. programs and programs in finance, suggestions for selecting a graduate ​​program, and advice on requesting recommendations from faculty.
    ​​​​Package for Undergraduate Economics Majors
  • Economics Major with a Mathematics Minor
    Economics students interested in pursuing graduate school at either the MA or Ph.D. levels in Economics, Business or Finance are strongly encouraged to have at least a mathematics minor. Those interested in the better Ph.D. programs, even in business and finance, will need considerably more. The following document outlines two model programs depending on interest and background.

    The economics depa​​rtment will waive Econ 3801 - Mathematical Economics as a required course for the major for those students with Calculus 1, 2 and 3 with grades of B or better. The total number of econ hours required for the major remains 40.
    ​​Economics Major with Mathematics Minor​
  • Honors in Economics
    Below is a PDF with information about the requirements for departmental honors.  Students wishing to earn departmental honors should consult with their advisor no later than the beginning of their senior year.
    Honors in Economics Requirements
  • Geographic Information Science (GIS) Certificate
    A number of students who are in the job market report that they are being asked about their knowledge of GIS.  Students can get a certificate in GIS with 18 credit hours (he also said that students should really take a couple more courses to be truly proficient).  Students should be advised of this option.  Below is the website for the certificate program:
    GIS Certificate Website
  • ​General Advice for Economics Majors
    Be visible. Hang out in the computer room in the department. Contribute to discussions in class, and ask your teacher when you need help.  Form study groups. It will be more fun and when it comes time to collect letters of recommendation your instructor will have more to say. Take your courses in Economics in order.  Classes increasingly emphasize statistics and econometrics and it will be more and more important to take these before your electives. The intermediate theory classes will also help with electives.  The order should be: Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, then Statistics and Math Economics (if you do not plan a Mathematics minor).  Then take Econometrics and the Intermediate Theory courses.  You will have better success in the Health, Trade, Development and Labor electives if you have Intermediate Micro and Econometrics.  You will do better in Finance and International Finance if you have Intermediate Macro and Econometrics.  Race and Gender, Sex and Drugs can still be taken immediately after principles. 

    The department strongly recommends a Mathematics minor or a dual Math/Economics major for those students with graduate school ambitions. A strong math background will dramatically affect your placement.  The minor is Calculus 1, 2 and 3 along with 3 more. There are two tracks mathematics recommends. A practical track includes Linear Algebra, Differential Equations and Problem Solving (Math 3191, 3200, 3250).  The Theory track includes Real Analysis and its prerequisites.  If you do the minor, (with grades of B or better in Calc. 1 and 2) then you do not need Econ 3801, but you will still need 40 hours of Economics.  If you do the dual major (Math and Econ) then you do not need Econ 3811 or Econ 3801 and the total number of Econ hours is reduced to 30.  Details may be found on the department Advising page.

    Many of our students take courses in the Business School.  The two beginning courses in Accounting are popular. (Acct 2200, 2220)  There are limits for non-Business majors but it is possible to petition to take additional courses.  If your petition is denied, do not despair. Economics is considered a strong foundation for graduate work in Business, especially Finance.   There is a dual MA/MS in Finance and Economics, with details on the department’s advising page.  The Finance program also has a variety of MS degrees that require significant graduate work in Economics.  The Business School offers a minor in Insurance and may soon offer a minor in Finance. (Ask the business representative about this.) The  Risk, Management and Insurance Minor is described here​

    There are many other popular programs and courses.  Good computer and statistical skills are always useful, so Econ 4030 (SAS) is highly recommended or the Math 4810, 4820 sequence (Probability and Statistics).  The SAS certificate is good for 12 months so you may want to take 4030 your Senior year. There is a certificate program in Geographic Information Systems​ that will give you strong data analysis skills.

  • Advice from Former Students
    Student 1:

    “Thanks for asking me for input, well, I think taking more computer science classes and have a strong math background will be very helpful. The ability to code in computer science language will never hurt you, so I would say pick it up as soon as one can.”

    Student 2:

    “I do have a few comments regarding the course selection and grad schools based on my own experience. Hope it will help.

    1) Course Selection

    I would suggest the undergraduate to select courses broadly and do not be scared away by the courses that you do not like or excel at. Take myself as an example, back to a few years ago as an Economics Major student, I was so glad to have the opportunity to choose courses from a long list including Economics, Mathematics, Finance, Accounting, Philosophy, Communication, etc. It was not until I had worked in the real business world that I understood how important those course were. For example, I found accounting essentials could provide a solid foundation for your job regardless working as an analyst for banks, investment firms, fund companies, or starting your business. Also, strong mathematics, statistics or CS background could make you a competitive candidate for a fund or risk analyst position. Communication skills are very necessary especially for international students looking for a front desk or client related opportunity. What's more important, no matter what you will be doing going forward, you’d better always be aware of the U.S. and global policies, which shows the importance of understanding macro-economics and international finance/trade. For instance, for fund managers, Fed policy plays a vital role in their decision making process. They take prompt actions with regards to the real-time information and predictions on the timing of Fed policy changes. For business owners, policy changes such as QE could have a significant effect on their businesses in terms of financing cost, international trade, business environment, etc. In fact, this is something related to every household when making decisions such as buying a house.

    2) Graduate School

    Getting into a grad school immediately after getting your bachelor degree might not be the best choice. If I get a second chance, I might try to hunt an internship or job first before applying for an advanced degree. Why? On the one hand, you could have a better understanding of what you really love and what your expertise is; on the other hand, you would have a better chance to be admitted by your dream school and study or do projects with more talents like you. However, I am not regretting the decision I made two years ago regarding pursuing a master degree. Just keep in mind, no matter when and where you go to the grad school, you’d better try to set up your goal, work hard, reach out more people and be nice to others. Networking is extremely important, since it not only let you make more friends but also keep you posted with ongoing information. You never know.”

    Student 3:

    "Here you will meet the most helpful Professors, Teaching Assistants and Academic Advisors who show you how to learn and where to look. Here you will master the most lethal weapon, not only professional knowledge, but the ability to learn. Here is the university that helps you in whatever way to make your dream come true. Perhaps the roots of education are bitter, but believe me, the fruit is sweet. Best wishes for all ICB students."

    Student 4:

    “What I wish someone had advised me, though admittedly they might have done had I known to ask, is to do lots of projects outside of class. Grades are important, but what I ran into later on was "Great, grades! Now what else have you done?" Employers are focused on experience. They want to see that you can do something, not just test well. They want to see that you understand the material.

    Don't worry about doing groundbreaking analysis. Just explore the material from your classes. Put your projects up on a blog, keeping in mind that it might get read by a future employer at some point. Realize that most of the world hasn't gone beyond Intro to Micro/Macro Economics, and might be surprised and intrigued to find there is more to economics than they learned as Freshmen.

    When you have questions, and these side projects will hopefully fill you with them, ask a Professor. You'll learn many times as much from a directed question than you learned from the lecture, and engaging with the Professors outside of class could lead to more interesting projects!

    Furthermore, lose your fear of math as soon as possible! Math is not merely calculation, it is a language. Don't leave it for later. While you can't apply much economic knowledge to math problems, you will constantly apply mathematical knowledge to economic problems. If you understand the language of math before you explore economics in depth, the material will make more immediate sense and you will end up with a much deeper understanding. If you spend half the class struggling with the math, you aren't learning the economics!

    Don't get discouraged by those first few math classes either. Calculus 1 and 2 were the most difficult classes I came across on my way to a degree in math. They are perversely designed to "weed out" some portion of students. Once you make it through those two, you're home free.

    Lastly, realize that your degree -that piece of paper- is only one line of your resume -another piece of paper- that will only get you as far as the interview stage. From there, you must impress with knowledge, experience, and social skills. Be sure that the degree you work so hard for is not just a piece of paper. Make sure it represents a body of knowledge that you are poised to expertly wield for the right price or the right cause.”

  • Personal Statement for Graduate School
    The links below are for two websites helpful in writing the personal statement for graduate school.  Many more can be found by googling 'examples of personal statements for graduateschool'.

  • Ranking U.S. Economics Programs by Faculty and Graduate Publications:
    An Update Using 1994-2009 Data  –  Michael A. McPherson
    "This article ranks academic institutions by pages published in top economics journals over the 1994-2001 and 2002-2009 periods. Because it uses a methodology similar to several earlier articles, this article permits a consideration of how institutions' ranks have changed over the past 35 years. I construct rankings based on publications by individuals affiliated with each institution, by faculty members in the economics departments at each institution, and by alumni of each doctoral program. With few exceptions, the positions of programs near the top of the rankings change little over time. However, much more dramatic changes in rank occur for lower-ranked institutions."
    McPherson - Ranking U.S. Economics Programs
  • Graduate School Admissions (2012-2013)
    The following is a list of graduate programs which have admitted our B.A. students from 2012 to 2013:
    • Baylor University (Accounting)
    • Boston University (Economics, Financial Engineering, Public Relations, Actuarial Science)
    • Case Western University (Finance)
    • Columbia University (Urban and Regional Planning)
    • Cornell University (Economics, Financial Engineering)
    • Duke University (Economics, Statistics and Economics Modeling)
    • Fordham University (Finance, Quantitative Finance)
    • Georgetown University (Statistics, Economics)
    • George Washington University (Economics)
    • London School of Economics (Economics, Statistics, Development)
    • New York University (Economics)
    • Northeastern University (Finance)
    • Lehigh University (Accounting)
    • Ohio State University (Economics)
    • Pennsylvania State University (Agricultural Economics)
    • Pepperdine University (Business)
    • Washington University at St Louis (Economics, Financial Mathematics)
    • Southern Methodist University (Finance)
    • Syracuse University (Economics)
    • Tulane University (Finance)
    • University of Colorado Boulder (Marketing, Mathematics - Ph.D.)
    • University of California – Davis (Agricultural Economics – Ph.D., Statistics)
    • University of California – Los Angeles (Financial Engineering, Human Development)
    • University of California – Santa Barbara (Economics)
    • University of Chicago (Financial Mathematics)
    • University of Delaware (Economics)
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Accounting, Economics, Financial Engineering)
    • University of Maryland (Finance, Information Systems)
    • University of Minnesota (Statistics)
    • University of Rochester (Accounting)
    • University of Southern California (Financial Engineering)
    • University of Washington – Seattle (Statistics)
    • University of Warwick (Economics, Finance, Industrial Relations)
    • University of Wisconsin Madison (Economics)
    • Vanderbilt University (Economics)
    • Washington University at Saint Louis (Economics, Financial Mathematics)

    Please e-mail Dr. Steven Beckman with any information you feel would be useful on this page.