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FAQs, Economics

What is economics?

Economics is usually defined as the study of the allocation of scarce resources. But the more interesting question is, “What do economists actually study?”. Most people believe that economists just study stocks, bonds, interest rates, inflation, unemployment, and so on. But these topics are only a tiny part of what economists study. Some economists use their economic tools and methods to study marriage, divorce, discrimination, crime, addiction, sports, voting behavior, and much more. If you are interested in learning more about any subject, chances are you can apply the principles of economics to do so. 

In what industries or areas do economists work?

Economists work in a wide variety of areas including banking and finance, insurance, sales, management, and education. They work for private companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. (For information on employment areas for economics majors, see Economics: What Can I Do With This Major?.)

How do jobs in economics pay?

Salaries in economics compare very favorably to salaries in other fields. In 2013, the average starting salary in economics was $56,300, which was higher than the average starting salary in management, marketing, and accounting. (For more information on salaries, see the NACE Salary Survey.)

What are the requirements for a minor in economics?

Students with a major in the School of Business Administration may earn a minor in economics by completing the SBA core requirement 300-level or above economics elective, as well as three more 300-level or above economics electives.  

Students with a major outside the School of Business Administration may earn a minor in economics by completing EC 201 (Principles of Macroeconomics), EC 202 (Principles of Microeconomics), MATH 117 (Elementary Functions or appropriate equivalent), and four 300-level or above economics electives. See also the course catalog.

Is it true that economics is a good major for someone who wants to go to law school?

Yes. A study published in the Journal of Economic Education ranked economics majors as having the highest average scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

Are there any famous economics majors?

Yes, lots. Among U.S. presidents alone, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan were all economics majors. (See the list of famous economics majors.) Economist Steven Levitt has become famous by merging economics and pop culture with his bestselling book “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.”