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.

After meeting the requirements of the economics major and those of the College of Liberal Arts, students still have 35 hours of electives outside the department. This flexibility allows students 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

Economics Major - General

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 41
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements 14
Economics Requirements 30
Foundation courses: ECON 240, ECON 241, ECON 308, ECON 340, ECON 341 15
Five electives: chosen in consultation with major advisor 15
Electives 35
Total 120

Economics Major - Financial Economics Specialization

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 41
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements 14
Financial Economics Specialization Requirements 30
Foundational courses: ECON 240, ECON 241, ECON 308, ECON 340, ECON 341 15
Specialized courses: ECON 315 or FIN 330, and ECON 416 6
Three electives: chosen in consultation with major advisor 9
Electives 35
Total 120

Economics Major - International Economics Specialization

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 41
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements 14
International Economics Specialization Requirements 30
Foundational courses: ECON 240, ECON 241, ECON 308, ECON 340, ECON 341 15
Specialized courses: ECON 329 and ECON 429 6
Three electives: chosen in consultation with major advisor 9
Electives 35
Total 120

Economics Major - Law and Economics Specialization

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 41
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements 14
Law and Economics Specialization Requirements 30
Foundation courses: ECON 240, ECON 241, ECON 308, ECON 340, ECON 341 15
Specialized courses: ECON 302I and ECON 350 6
Three electives: chosen in consultation with major advisor 9
Electives 35
Total 120

Department Honors Program

Juniors and seniors who are economics majors and working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in the College of Liberal Arts may choose to enter the Departmental Honors Program. To receive departmental honors, a student must have a GPA in Economics of 3.5 or better AND: a) Complete six hours of ECON 443, Honors Research in Economics, with a grade of B or better OR b) Complete six hours of 400-level coursework within the economics department with a grade of B or better in each course. Moreover, for each of these courses the student must complete an assignment beyond that of the regular coursework asked of non-Honors students, An outline of this assignment must receive the written consent of both the instructor and the department chair for the assignment to be approved as fulfilling the requirements of the Honors Program. Successful completion of the department’s honors program is noted on the diploma and the transcript. Students receiving credit for ECON 443 may not apply ECON 301 hours toward the major. Concurrent participation in the University Honors Program is encouraged.

Economics Minor

For students majoring in other departments, 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. A minor requires 15 hours of economics courses, including both ECON 240 and ECON 241. ECON 301 cannot be counted towards the minor. Students must obtain at least a 2.0 grade point average in the 15 hours of coursework counted towards the minor. Transfer students must take at least three economics courses at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

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 Department of Economics during their junior year and must have at least a 3.25 GPA in all coursework.  Please see the Director of Graduate Studies in the Economics Department for more information.