How to Major in Economics
Majoring in economics will provide you with a set of highly transferable skills and a body of valuable knowledge in an ever-growing field.
Economics is the study of production, consumption, and the transfer of wealth. These are concepts that apply to virtually every area of labor and commerce, which means that your economics major could qualify you to work in nearly infinite settings. Your knowledge of financial systems, market behavior, and global economics could provide inroads into banking and finance, healthcare systems, government research, and a host of other high-paying career prospects.
If you’re ready to earn your degree at one of the most prestigious schools in the world, get started with a look at the Most Influential Schools in Economics.
Or read on to find out what you can expect as an economics major.
5 Reasons to Major in Economics
1.Economics majors are in high demand.
Students who major in economics gain skills that are in high demand across a wide range of professional sectors. Abilities such as budget analysis, cost estimation, and market analysis make economics majors highly employable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of job opportunities for economists is expected to grow by a robust 14% by 2029.
2.Economics majors can work in virtually any field.
One reason that economics majors are in such high demand is that the skills and knowledge you’ll acquire in your degree program are highly transferable. This means that your understanding of concepts such as local market behavior, small business enterprising, and investment banking could land you a role in any sector that interests you.
3.Economics majors have strong earning power.
It should come as no surprise that learning about wealth transfer puts you in a stronger position to accumulate your own wealth. Your specialized knowledge qualifies you to work in one of the better-paying professional fields. According to the BLS, financial analysts earned a median salary of $81,590 in 2019, while personal financial advisors earned $87,850, and economists pulled in $105,020.
4.Economics majors learn personal financial responsibility.
As a student of economics, you’ll learn about more than just making money. You’ll learn how to manage money as well. You’ll learn how to maintain a budget, save for the future, invest your money wisely and take steps to provide for a comfortable retirement. Your economics major provides important life skills that will benefit your long-term financial security.
5.Economics majors are influential.
Economics are a part of everything around us. The retail, labor, housing, banking, credit, and public works systems that shape our lives all operate according to deeply intertwined principles of economics. This means that research and policy in economics can have a dramatic impact on our everyday lives. Today, top influencers in economics are illuminating topics such as new economic geography, information asymmetry theory, wealth and income inequality, and much more.Find out who the Most Influential People are in Economics today!
What Kinds of Economics Degrees Are There?
The principles of economics are valuable in a wide range of career settings. This means that you can gain entry-level work in an array of fields with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. However, most experts who go on to become economists have earned advanced degrees in the field. The degree level you earn will depend on your career goals and educational interests.
- Associate in Economics: This two-year degree will provide you with an introductory education on subjects such as supply chain management, global economics, and labor studies. Your degree could qualify you to work as a bank account manager, sales manager, or an administrative assistant for a finance company. Your associate’s degree in economics could also provide an affordable head-start on your way to a four-year degree.
- Bachelor of Economics: Typically a four-year degree program, your bachelor’s degree in economics will provide a comprehensive education in economic principles and their connection to demographic experiences, geopolitical affairs, investment markets and more. Your major in economics would qualify you to work as a data analyst, budget consultant, financial planner, and in a wide range of other roles in finance, accounting, and money management.
- Master of Economics: Students who wish to become economists, or leaders in various areas of finance, should consider earning an advanced degree. Opportunities such as policy analyst and data scientist are often reserved for those who have earned a master’s degree. Likewise, masters in economics are in a more competitive position to land jobs as financial consultants, investment advisors, and more.
- PhD in Economics: The terminal degree in economics, this three to five year program will qualify you to lead research for a government agency or think tank or to teach economics at the post-secondary level. Beyond that, this advanced degree is highly regarded in the field of economics. The most influential economists will have typically earned a PhD in their field.
*Note: Many, but not all, degree programs offer the choice between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Likewise, many, but not all, advanced degree programs offer a choice between Master of Arts, and Master of Science degrees. In most cases, the primary difference is the diversity of course offerings. “Science” degree courses will focus almost entirely on the Major discipline, with a deep dive into a specific concentration, including laboratory, clinical or practicum experience. An “Arts” degree will provide a more well-rounded curriculum which includes both core/concentration courses and a selection of humanities and electives. The type of degree you choose will depend both on your school’s offerings and your career/educational goals. Moreover, there are sometimes numerous variations in the way that colleges name and categorize majors. The degree types identified here above are some of the common naming variations, but may not be all-encompassing.
What Are Some Popular Economics Concentrations?
Your “concentration” refers to a specific area of focus within your major. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides a complete listing of college degree programs and concentrations (Classification for Instructional Programs), as sourced from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). According to IPEDS, which places economics under the social sciences umbrella, the following are among the most popular economics concentrations:
- Economics, General
- Applied Economics
- Econometrics and Quantitative Economics
- Development Economics and International Development
- International Economics
- Economics, Other
What Courses Will I Take as an Economics Major?
Your concentration will determine many of the courses you’ll take as an economics major. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as microeconomics and macroeconomics. However, you will also have a chance to choose courses based on your specialized area of interest, from investment banking and labor practices to healthcare and marketing.
Common economics courses include:
- Principles of Economics
- Money and Banking
- Economics of Healthcare
- Labor Studies
- Economics and the Developing Sphere
- Gender and Economy
- Financial Markets
- Sustainability and Development
What Can I Do With a Major in Economics?
Your economics major can lead to a wide range of career opportunities, both within the field of economics, and in the countless professional sectors where financial, market, and budgetary analyses are required. With a degree in economics, you’ll have a chance to pursue an array of high-paying opportunities, including these top jobs:
- Financial Analysts
- Budget Analysts
- Personal Financial Advisors
- Securities, Commodities and Financial Service Sales Agents
- Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate
- Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists
- Cost Estimators
Curious how far you could go with a major in economics? Start with a look at the top influencers in the field today!***
Now that you know how to major in economics, check out The Most Influential Schools in Economics and get started on your path to an economics degree.