Affiliation: School of Social & Cultural Studies
Economics examines how societies cope with the pervasive problem of relative scarcity. Relative scarcity arises because an individual’s wants are unlimited whereas the resources required to satisfy those wants are not. The study of mediating scarcity is well suited for the student interested in the liberal arts and sciences tradition.
Positioned methodically between the sciences and the humanities, modern economic theory recognizes the market process, subject to the influence of both social and political forces, as the primary resource allocation mechanism. The market process only determines who gets, and who does not get, resources. It does not erase scarcity; some wants remain unmet. Thus, issues of equity, justice and fairness are implicit in any resource allocation. All students must understand and appreciate the process and issues involved in resource allocation.
The curriculum in economics is designed to empower students with a self-sustaining capacity to think and learn. Students should know how to pose questions, collect information, identify and use an appropriate framework to analyze that information and come to some conclusion.
All students complete a required core in microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics begins with an analysis of an individual and builds up to an analysis of society. The major theoretical tools of modern microeconomic analysis, supply and demand, are used to determine relative prices. Relative prices determine resource allocation (what to produce and how to produce) and distribution (how real income is divided among the members of society). Macroeconomics begins with an analysis of society as a whole and works downward to the individual. Macroeconomic theory utilizes various aggregate variables including income, prices, and employment to study the growth and stability of an economy operating in a global context.
The Bachelor of Arts requires intermediate proficiency in one foreign language and quantitative methods through elementary statistics. The Bachelor of Science requires more advanced quantitative study. Elective hours in economics in each program provide the student with the opportunity to develop additional depth in a selected area.
Either program in economics, when combined with the appropriate electives and required support, is an excellent preparation for law, business, government service, professional school or graduate study in economics. Students should consult with their advisor regularly to ensure that their course work is consistent with their plans after graduation.
An overall cumulative GPA of 2.25, a 2.25 GPA in major requirements, and a “C” or better in each major requirement is required to graduate with a degree in economics.