Students often ask questions about the department’s policies regarding economics courses taken away from Amherst College.  Here are the main points to keep in mind.

The following major requirements cannot be met with classes taken elsewhere:

  • Economics 111

  • Core theory classes

  • Upper-level electives

  • Thesis classes

The following classes may, under certain circumstances, be taken at another institution:

  • Lower-level electives*

A class taken elsewhere will usually count towards the major if the class:

  • is an economics class

  • is taught by an economics department

  • requires at least the equivalent of Economics 111 as a prerequisite

  • does not duplicate a class you have taken or will take at Amherst

Students can take an economics elective at another campus in the five-college consortium or while studying abroad.  We support this decision when a course truly offers an opportunity you cannot get at Amherst – either by covering a different area of economics or discussing the economy of the country in which you are studying abroad.   However, we encourage you to make these choices carefully.  It is rarely advisable to take more than one elective elsewhere, and students may not take more than two electives elsewhere unless they receive prior written approval to do so.

Transfer students: Different policies apply to students transferring to Amherst from another college or university.  Transfer students should work with the Dean of Students and the economics department to agree on appropriate credit for economics classes completed prior to coming to Amherst.

Business courses: Business is not economics, and vice versa. The department recognizes that many economics majors are interested in business or accounting. While it is true that the academic study of business often employs economic tools to investigate economic questions and that business courses may be useful in securing employment after graduation, it is important to remember that the study of economics is distinct from the study of business.  Consequently, in keeping with the liberal arts mission, the economics department does not give economics elective credit for any business or accounting courses.

If you have any questions about these policies or a specific course you are considering, we encourage you to talk with your advisor.  The next section provides more detail about how to get credit for an economics elective taken while studying abroad.



* Note that you can take an economics elective that is taught at a higher level elsewhere (for example requiring intermediate microeconomics as a prerequisite) and get credit for it as an economics elective.  You will not, however, be able to count it towards your upper-level elective requirement.  Only 400-level courses taught at Amherst can satisfy the upper-level elective requirement.