Program Advice for Economics Majors


The Department of Economics offers programs leading to the B.A. and B.S. degrees. The following advice is designed for majors and prospective majors.

Admission to the Major

For students matriculating Fall 2004 or later, completion of both Eco 110 and 111 with grades of C or better is required for admission to the major.

Distinction between B.A. and B.S. Degrees in Economics

To most people outside the University, it makes little difference whether a bachelor's degree in Economics is called B.A. or B.S. In many colleges and universities only one degree program is available – usually the B.A. In some schools that offer both degrees there is virtually no difference between the requirements for the two, while in others the B.S. requires substantially more coursework in mathematics, economics, or computer science.

At Albany, for students matriculating Fall 2005 or later, the (new) B.S. program requires more study of calculus, econometrics, and advanced economics than does the B.A. For students matriculating before Fall 2005, the B.S. program requires more mathematics than the B.A., and the B.S. restricts the selection of the minor.

Most Economics majors choose the B.A. program, which provides a good background for students who plan to begin jobs and careers immediately after graduation. The (new) B.S. program is designed for students who seek a more challenging and rigorous academic program, and it is well suited for those who plan to go on to graduate school or professional study – especially in technical fields such as economics or management science.

Students who are studying Economics as their second major will receive a B.A. or B.S. according to the program and requirements they meet in their first major. Thus, for example, students whose first major is the B.A. program in Mathematics will receive a B.A. degree from the University regardless of whether they choose the B.A. or B.S. program in Economics.

Course Sequencing in the Economics Major

  1. Principles of Economics Courses: Eco 110 (Micro) must be taken before Eco 111 (Macro), because of the way course material is sequenced at Albany. Eco 110 is a prerequisite for Eco 111 in the Bulletin.

  2. Mathematics Requirements: (For the B.A.: Mat 101, 106, 111, 112, or 118, or Eco 210. For the B.S.: Mat 111, 112, or 118, plus Mat 113 or 119 or Eco 410.) The necessary courses, at least to the B.A. level, should be taken before the Junior year because Eco 300, 301, and 320 demand this as a prerequisite.

    • Students who do not have a precalculus background and who need course-based coverage of this material are advised to take either (i) Mat 101 (Algebra and Calculus I) and Mat 106 (Survey of Calculus), for the B.A. degree, or (ii) Mat 101 and 111 (Algebra and Calculus, I&II), for the B.A. or B.S. degree. (The Mat 101/111 sequence integrates precalculus and Calculus I, and it prepares students to take Mat 113).

    • Students who have a precalculus background, or who are confident of their ability to learn mathematics easily, can take Mat 106 (Survey of Calculus). This provides a good background for students in the B.A. program who do not plan to go on for graduate study in Economics or a technical field.

    • Students who have a precalculus background also can take Mat 112 (Calculus I) or Mat 118 (Honors Calculus I). These courses count toward requirements for both the B.A. and the B.S. in Economics, and taking either one provides flexibility in planning a degree program. For the B.S., these courses are followed by Mat 113 (Calculus II) or Mat 119 (Honors Calculus II) or Eco 410 (Mathematics for Economists).

    • When offered, Eco 210 (Tools of Economics) is open by special permission only.

  3. Upper-Level Required Courses: The required core courses Eco 300, 301, and 320 should be taken in the junior year or before. All three core courses have the B.A. level math requirement as a prerequisite.
    • Eco 300 (Intermediate Microeconomics) should be taken as soon as possible after the calculus prerequisite is fulfilled, because it is useful for many other courses in Economics even when it is not required.

    • Eco 301 (Intermediate Macroeconomics) should be taken after Eco 300, because the study of macroeconomics demands a good background in microeconomics.

    • Eco 320 (Economic Statistics) can be taken in any order relative to Eco 300 and 301.

    • Eco 420 (Applied Econometrics), for the (new) B.S. program, must be taken after Eco 320.

    Note: for students matriculating Fall 2004 or later, the core courses must be taken at the University unless completed elsewhere prior to matriculation.

  4. Upper-Level Elective Courses: All courses at the 300 and 400 levels have Eco 110 and 111 as prerequisites, either directly or indirectly. The selection of courses at this level calls for a sequencing of courses based on the additional prerequisites that courses have and on academic interests.

    The B.A. and B.S. programs have different elective-course requirements, and some 400-level courses for the B.S. program must be taken at the University unless completed elsewhere prior to matriculation.

    Some 300-level courses require Eco 300 (Intermediate Microeconomics) as a prerequisite, and all 400-level courses have 300-level prerequisites. See the Economics Courses and Prerequisites list or the descriptions of Economics courses in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Selecting Upper-Level Electives

Students may choose to focus their study in a few areas of specialization or to take courses in a wide variety of areas – this depends on their academic and career interests. The following lists suggest courses that are appropriate for different areas. (Not all upper level electives are shown here, and some courses appear in more than one area. In addition to the prerequisites shown, all these courses require Eco 110 and 111.)

Business and Management:
  • Eco 370  Economics of Labor
  • Eco 383  Economics of Law (prereq: 300)
  • Eco 474  Industrial Organization (prereq: 300)
  • Eco 475  Managerial Economics (prereq: 300 and 320)
Finance and Macroeconomics:
  • Eco 350  Money and Banking
  • Eco 351  Theory of Interest (prereq: Mat 113 or 119)
  • Eco 401  Macroeconomic Modeling, Forecasting ... (prereq: 300, 301, 320)
  • Eco 446  International Finance (prereq: 301)
  • Eco 466  Financial Economics (prereq: 301 or 350)
International Economics:
  • Eco 330  Economics of Development
  • Eco 360  International Economic Relations
  • Eco 361  Development of the Latin American Economy
  • Eco 362  Economies of Japan and Korea
  • Eco 445  International Trade (prereq: 300 and 301)
  • Eco 446  International Finance (prereq: 301)
Government and the Economy:
  • Eco 341  Urban Economics
  • Eco 355  Public Finance
  • Eco 356  State and Local Finance
  • Eco 383  Economics of Law (prereq: 300)
  • Eco 385  Environmental Economics
  • Eco 455  Public Microeconomics (prereq: 300 and 355)
Social Welfare:
  • Eco 341  Urban Economics
  • Eco 355  Public Finance
  • Eco 370  Economics of Labor
  • Eco 371  The Distribution of Income and Wealth (prereq: 300)
  • Eco 381  Economics of Health Care (prereq: 300)
  • Eco 383  Economics of Law (prereq: 300)
  • Eco 385  Environmental Economics
Quantitative Analysis:
  • Eco 351  Theory of Interest (prereq: Mat 113 or 119)
  • Eco 401  Macroeconomic Modeling, Forecasting ... (prereq: 300, 301, 320)
  • Eco 405  Game Theory (prereq: 300 and 320)
  • Eco 410  Math for Economists (prereq: 300 and 301)
  • Eco 420  Applied Econometrics (prereq: 320)
  • co 427  Computer Applications in Economics (prereq: 320)

Honors Program

The honors program in Economics is designed to provide capable and motivated students with a greater understanding of economics and to better prepare them for graduate and professional schools. The key feature of the program is the senior honors thesis, which is completed while the student is enrolled in the Senior Honors Research Seminar. The other requirements of the program depend on whether the student matriculated before Fall 2005, or Fall 2005 and later. Interested students should look at the requirements in the Bulletin and see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Planning for Graduate Study

The Economics major provides a strong background for students who plan to go on to graduate study at the Masters level in Economics (M.A.) or Business (M.B.A.). For both fields, gaining experience in computer applications is important, and taking more than the minimum mathematics requirement is a good idea. For business, especially, developing strong communications skills (public speaking and writing) is important.

The Economics major also provides an excellent background for graduate study in professional schools of law, public administration, public health, and other fields.

Students interested in doctoral level (Ph.D.) study in Economics should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and other faculty members. Ph.D. study requires a very strong background in mathematics. Three semesters of calculus (through Mat 214, Calculus of Several Variables) plus one semester of Linear Algebra (Mat 220) is the bare minimum. Taking a minor or second major in Mathematics is strongly recommended. Our web directory of Economics Departments with Ph.D. programs can help you learn about different programs.

Combined Bachelor's/Master's Programs

Combined programs leading to a bachelor's degree in Economics and a master's degree in Business Admininstration (M.B.A.), Health Policy and Management (M.S.), or Public Administration (M.P.A.) provide students the opportunity to fulfill integrated requirements for the undergraduate and graduate degrees. With careful planning, it is possible to earn both degrees in five years. Students are normally admitted to the combined program in their junior year. For further information, look at the statement of requirements and see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Career Planning

Prospective employers looking for Economics majors are often looking for students who have good technical skills (computer use, statistics, and mathematics) and who are comfortable working with data and analytical problems. In addition to appropriate courses in Economics, students are advised to take "skills courses" in other departments and to develop these skills on their own.

Information about careers that are especially suitable for Economics majors can be found at Career Services, Science Library G-50. In addition to the "specialist training" that being an Economics major provides, our students receive a strong general education that is valuable for careers in business, government, and the non-profit sector.

Graduates of the Economics program work as financial analysts, finance and credit officers for insurance companies and banks, economic analysts for corporations, policy and legislative fiscal analysts, business officers for non-profit and government organizations, entrepreneurs, as well as administrators and heads of businesses and government agencies. In addition, graduates go to work as lawyers, teachers, police officers, and in other diverse occupations.

Economics Internship

The Economics Internship (Eco 496) provides an opportunity to gain experience in a career setting in the private, non-profit, or public sector. Students can use this to explore a possible career path and to enhance their own job search.

Taken as a 3-credit course, the internship requires 150 hours of sponsored activity plus several reading and writing assignments. This internship is available only for Economics majors with senior class standing and an overall GPA of 2.50 or higher.


Back to undergraduate home