Economics Requirements

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The study of economics examines how entities from individuals to nations allocate resources to achieve objectives congruent with their desires and interests. A strong economics background can help one better predict movements in stock markets, achieve a balance between economic policy and environmental goals, recognize the costs and benefits of increased globalization including international trade, and predict how different government policies influence the business cycle.

Economic forces have had powerful effects throughout world history and so a strong background within economics can greatly increase one’s understanding of the world today. Moreover, economics helps develop analytical abilities and skills such as forecasting market trends and managing financial portfolios that are attractive to a wide range of employers in both the private and public sectors. Obtaining an economics major is also beneficial to those who enter graduate programs in business, law, or any of the social sciences.

Within the major, students can specialize in different fields, including international economics, and financial economics. Both areas are rapidly increasing in importance as the world becomes more interdependent and as more people hold financial portfolios. Students specializing in general economics can also tailor a program to meet their specific interests through consultation with one of the undergraduate advisors in the department.

With different specializations and foundations, students have great flexibility to augment their economic training with courses that meet particular interests in areas such as business, political science, or journalism. Students can thus combine their economics degree with other disciplines so as to pursue a wide range of careers and interests.

The requirements for an economics major are given below. Economics courses at the 300-level generally require only introductory economics (ECON 240 or ECON 241) whereas those at the 400-level are more sophisticated treatments building upon ECON 340 or ECON 341. Courses taken for a pass/fail grade will not be counted toward the major without the written consent of the director of undergraduate studies within the economics department. Transfer students can receive credit towards the major from equivalent economics courses at other institutions. However, at least five economics courses must be taken at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Students are highly encouraged to discuss their major programs and career goals with a professor within the department. Undergraduates considering graduate economics programs should meet with a professor as soon as possible in order to adequately prepare for the economics and mathematical rigor of these graduate programs.

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
Requirements for Major in Economics 21
Business Foundation Courses - choose among the following groups of courses: 47
Business and Economics Foundation: ECON 208 (or equivalent), ECON 240, ECON 241, and other Professional Business Core courses with substitution of up to six courses -- at the upper-division (300 & 400) level -- by upper-division courses in fields allied to Economics, including: Political Science; History; Philosophy; Languages, Cultures, and International Studies; Linguistics; Journalism; Agribusiness Economics; Paralegal Studies; Sociology; Psychology; Geography; Anthropology; Archaeology; Linguistics; Mathematics; Computer Science; and Engineering.
Economics Foundation: ECON 208 (or equivalent), ECON 240, ECON 241, and courses in fields allied to Economics including: Political Science; History; Philosophy; Languages, Cultures, and International Studies; Linguistics; Journalism; Accounting; Finance; Management; Marketing; Agribusiness Economics; Paralegal Studies; Sociology; Psychology; Geography; Anthropology; Archaeology; Linguistics; Mathematics; Computer Science; and Engineering.
ECON 340, ECON 341 6
Specialization (choose one) 15
General Economics: 15 additional credit hours within the economics department.
Financial Economics: ECON 315, ECON 416, and nine additional credit hours within the economics department.
International Economics: ECON 329, ECON 429, and nine additional credit hours within the economics department.
Law and Economics: ECON 302-I, ECON 350, and nine additional credit hours within the economics department.
Electives 13
Total 120

Undergraduate Research and University Honors Program

Economics majors who wish to pursue undergraduate research are encouraged to take one or more of the courses: ECON 416, ECON 429, and ECON 463. These courses include a research project in which students formulate a research question, review literature related to the question, gather relevant data, and provide a research conclusion. Student communicate their research findings via a written paper and, if possible, via an oral presentation.

Economics majors with a cumulative SIU GPA of 3.3 or higher and at least 12 hours of SIU credits are encouraged to join the University Honors Program to further their research experience.

Economics Minor

For students majoring in other programs, a minor in economics is useful for employment in business or government and for graduate work in any of the social sciences, law, or business. 

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
Requirements for a Minor in Economics 15
For students who complete the Professional Business Core [PBC] take an additional six credits in economics not including: ECON 208, ECON 240, ECON 241, ECON 301, and ECON 399. (Note: ECON 208, ECON 240, and ECON 241 are in the PBC). For all other students, take ECON 240, ECON 241, and take an additional nine credits in economics not including ECON 301, and ECON 399.

Bachelor's and Accelerated Master's Track

Economics majors can enter an accelerated Bachelor's-Master's program in which specific courses satisfy requirements in both degrees allowing for completion of the master's in just one year after the B.A. To enter this program, students apply through the School of Analytics, Finance, and Economics during their junior year and must have at least a 3.25 GPA in all coursework.

Before the end of their senior year, students in this program take ECON 465 (Mathematical  Economics) and  ECON 463 (Applied Econometrics), one other 400-level Economics course, and  MATH 150 (Calculus I). Nine credits from these 400-level Econ courses can be applied to both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree. Because the master’s requires 30 hours of coursework, students in the accelerated master’s program only need 21 hours after their senior year thereby making it possible and likely to complete the master’s degree in only one year.

Please see the school director for more information.