Below, we outline a few possible scenarios for the plan of study for an economics major.  These are merely sketches – they are in no way prescriptive!  We hope that they will give you a general idea of how the economics major might look so you can make the best possible plan for your own situation.

Some guiding principles you might like to keep in mind in designing your schedule:

  • Mix electives in with the core theory classes

  • Avoid taking more than two economics classes in any one semester

  • Move on to upper-level electives by junior year

  • Finish the core by the end of junior year

Starting in the First Year:

This is essentially the most basic version of the economics major.  The 9 economics courses are spread evenly over the four years, electives are mixed in with core theory courses, and the student never takes more than two economics classes in any given semester.

  Fall Spring
First Year Econ 111 Elective
  Math 111  
Sophomore

Core Course (300/301, 330/331)

Core Course (300/301, 330/331)
  Elective   
Junior Core Course (360/361)  Elective (possibly upper-level)
  Elective (upper-level)  
Senior Elective (possibly upper-level)  

Starting in the Second Year:

This is another relatively common version of the economics major, but it is a bit more compressed because the student does not take Economics 111 until sophomore year.  The 9 courses are spread reasonably over the three remaining years, but there is a bit more pressure to get the core classes in quickly (without doubling up) in order to be ready for upper level electives and the comprehensive exam.  The student still has electives mixed in with core theory courses, and never takes more than two economics classes in any given semester.  This student is taking one additional math class, which is common.

  Fall Spring
First Year   Math 111 (Intro to Calculus)
Sophomore Econ 111 Core Course (300/301, 330/331)
  Math 121 (Intermediate Calculus) Elective 
Junior Core Course (300/301, 330/331) Core Course (360/361)
  Elective  Elective (possibly upper-level)
Senior Elective (upper-level) Elective (possibly upper-level)

Going abroad in Junior Year:

This schedule involves a student who studies abroad both semesters in her Junior year.  (Of course many students go abroad for only one semester.)  In most cases, students studying abroad will get credit for one economics elective while studying abroad.  If the student plans ahead, he or she should not need to cram too many economics courses into senior year.  However, the final core class is taken in senior year, which is a bit late and means that this student is not eligible to do an honors thesis.  The student still has electives mixed in with core theory courses, and never takes more than two economics classes in any given semester.

  Fall Spring
First Year Econ 111 Elective
  Math 111  
Sophomore Core Course (300/301, 330/331) Core Course (300/301, 330/331)
  Math 121 (Intermediate Calculus) Elective (possibly upper-level)
Junior Elective credit while abroad  
Senior Core Course (360/361) Elective (possibly upper-level)
  Elective (upper-level) Elective

Taking some of the advanced core theory courses and possibly doing a thesis:

This schedule includes some extra math and two of the advanced versions of the core classes.  The extra math is necessary to do the advanced versions of the core classes (and is not a bad idea anyway!)  Since the core courses and a couple of upper level electives are included by the end of junior year, the student is in a good position to do an honors thesis if he or she so chooses.

  Fall Spring
First Year Econ 111 Elective
  Intermediate Calculus (Math 121) Multivariable Calculus (Math 211)
Sophomore Core Course (301) Core Course (331)
  Elective Intro to Statistics (Stat 130 or 135)
Junior Core Course (360) Elective (upper-level)
  Elective (upper-level)  
Senior Thesis Seminar (498) Thesis (499)
    Elective (upper-level)

Taking all advanced core theory courses, doing a thesis, and possibly going on to a Ph.D.:

This schedule includes all of the advanced versions of the core classes, several extra math classes that are recommended for those going on to a Ph.D., and additional upper level electives.  The schedule develops a very strong foundation for the thesis and possible graduate study.

  Fall Spring
First Year Econ 111 Core Course (331)
  Multivariable Calculus (Math 211) Elective
    Intro to Statistics (Stat 130 or 135)
Sophomore Core Course (301) Elective (possibly upper-level)
  Elective Linear Algebra (Math 272)
Junior Core Course (361) Elective (upper-level)
  Elective (upper-level) Analysis (Math 355)
Senior Thesis Seminar (498) Thesis (499)
    Elective (upper-level)