You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Economics Undergraduate Programs

Curriculum

All students majoring in economics will learn the analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills that are essential in today’s economy. In addition to a core curriculum in micro and macroeconomic theory, statistics, and econometrics, students can choose from among our applied, policy-oriented courses, including those in international trade and finance, economic development, history, gender analysis, labor, environmental, political economy, public finance, and health economics. Students complete their program though a capstone experience that allows them to put into practice the skills and knowledge they have accumulated while at AU. 

By the end of the program, all students are able to:

  1. Describe the function of key economic institutions.
  2. Execute a project that applies an economic idea or model.
  3. Implement a regression analysis to address a real-world economic question.

Choose among three majors or a minor depending on your career goals and the level of mathematical analysis that would like to discover. The BA in Economics is ideal for those more interested in policy analysis than economic modeling and can be easily combined with numerous other majors on campus. The BS in Economics and BS in Mathematics and Economics allows students to explore more sophisticated economic techniques and are highly recommended for those considering pursuing a PhD in Economics or other quantitative field.

All majors are assigned to a professional advisor, but students are encouraged to connect to our faculty and program director Professor Evan Kraft for advice and mentorship.

Curriculum Advice

Curriculum Advice

There is no one path to completing your economics degree. Majors are encouraged to

Refer to the Course Rotation Page for information on when your desired electives and capstones are typically offered.  See the department’s archive of past syllabi to find out more information about a course. 

  • Aim to complete Principles of Microeconomics (ECON-200 or ECON-150), Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON-100), and statistics (STAT-202, 203 or 204) by the end of your second year.  Students in the BS in Economics or BS in Mathematics and Economics should also complete Calculus I (CALC-221) by the end of your second year. 
  • Aim to complete Intermediate Micro (ECON-300 or ECON-400), Intermediate Macro (ECON-301 or ECON-401) and Applied Econometrics I (ECON-322) by the end of your third year. 
  • Note that ECON-480 Senior Research Seminar is currently only offered in the Fall semester while ECON-478 Senior Policy Analysis Seminar is only offered in the Spring semester. 
  • Consult with your CAS adviser and the Undergraduate Program Director to discuss your priorities, goals and schedule. 
   
   
   
Rows are for years 1-4 and the 3 columns are for the year, the fall classes, and the spring semesters.
Year Fall Spring
1st AUx-I
WRTG-100 (W1)
Complex Problem
Habits of Mind #1
ECON-100 Principles of Macro
STAT-202 Basic Statistics (Q1)
AUx-2
WRTG-101 (W1)
Habits of Mind #2
Habits of Mind #3
ECON-200 Principles of Micro
MATH-221 Calculus 1 (Q1)
2nd Habits of Mind #4
ECON-400 Intermediate Micro
ECON-314 Economic Inequality (DIV)/Econ Elective #1
Habits of Mind #5
ECON-401 Intermediate Macro
CSC-148 Intro to Computer Science or MATH-222 Calculus II
3rd Apply to the BS/MA Program!
ECON-322 Applied Econometrics 1 (Q2)
ECON-440/640 Communicating Economics (W2)
Econ Elective #2
ECON-405/605 Intro to Math Econ
Study Abroad!
Econ Elective #3
4th* ECON-480 Senior Research Capstone**
Econ Elective #4

ECON-478 Senior Policy Analysis Seminar***
Econ Elective #5

*Capstone options: ECON-480, ECON-478, ECON-491 Senior Internship (offered fall and spring), ECON-492 Senior Internship in Teaching (offered fall and spring)
**ECON-480 Senior Research Capstone - only offered in the fall semester
***ECON-478 Senior Policy Analysis Seminar - only offered in the spring semester

Year Fall Spring
1st AUx-1
WRT-100 (W1)
Complex Problems
Habits of Mind #1
ECON-100 Principles of Macro
AUx-2
WRT-101 (W1)
Habits of Mind #2
ECON-200 Principles of Macro
STAT-202/203/204 (Q1)
2nd Habits of Mind #3
ECON-300 Intermediate Micro
Suggestion: ECON-314 Economic Inequality (DIV)* (Elective 1)
Habits of Mind #4
ECON-301 Intermediate Macro
ECON-322 Applied Econometrics I (Q2)
3rd Apply to the BA/MA Program!
Suggestion: ECON-440 Communicating Economics (W2) (Elective 2)
Econ Elective #3

Study Abroad!**
Econ Elective #4

4th Habit of Mind #5 Capstone***
Econ Elective #5

*Economics offers two diversity and equity (DIV) options: ECON-314 Economic Inequality and ECON-316 Political Economy of Race in the United States.
** 12 credit hours of the Economics program can be fulfilled through the London School of Economics study abroad program. 6 credit hours of the BA in Economics program can be fulfilled through other study abroad programs.
***Capstone options: ECON-480 (Fall only), ECON-478 (Spring only), ECON-491 Senior Internship (offered fall and spring), ECON-492 Senior Internship in Teaching (offered fall and spring)

Year Fall Spring
1st AUx-I
WRT-100 (W1)
Complex Problems
Habits of Mind #1
ECON-100 Principles of Macro
AUx-2
WRT-101 (W1)
Habits of Mind #2
ECON-200 Principles of Micro
STAT 202/203/204 (Q1)
2nd

Habits of Mind #3
ECON-300 Intermediate Micro
Suggestion: ECON-314 Economic Inequality (DIV)* (Elective 1)

Habits of Mind #4
ECON-301 Intermediate Macro
ECON-322 Applied Econometrics 1 (Q2)
3rd

Apply to the BA/MA Program!
ECON-372 International Economics: Finance
SISU-320 OR IBUS-300

Study Abroad!**
ECON-371 International Economics: Trade

4th Econ Development Elective
Habit of Mind #5
Capstone***

* Economics offers two diversity and equity (DIV) options: ECON-314 Economic Inequality and ECON-316 Political Economy of Race in the United States.
** 12 credit hours of the Economics program can be fulfilled through the London School of Economics study abroad program. 6 credit hours of the BA in Economics (International Track) program can be fulfilled through other study abroad programs.
*** Capstone options: ECON-480 (Fall only), ECON-478 (Spring only), ECON-491 Senior Internship (offered Fall and Spring), ECON-492 Senior Internship in Teaching (offered Fall and Spring)

Students interested in applying for a PhD in Economics program should try enhance their quantitative experience. At a minimum, we recommend completing Calculus III (MATH-313), Linear Algebra (MATH-310), and Foundations of Mathematics (MATH-403), all required courses in the BS in Mathematics and Economics. Students should also consider getting as much research experience as possible; choose to take ECON-424 Applied Econometrics II as one of your electives, and ECON-480 Senior Research Capstone as your capstone experience.

Advice for BA in International Studies Double Majors

Under university regulations, you can

  • Share up to 19 credits between the BA in Economics and BA International Studies, including

    ECON-100 Principles of Macro
    ECON-200 Principles of Micro.
  • Substitute ECON-370, ECON-371, or ECON-372 for SISU-300.
  • Register for up to 9 credits in the required thematic areas of the BA in International Studies (particularly those in the Global Economy and Global Inequality and Development areas).
  • Complete some of the remaining 18 credit hours of the BA in Economics program as part of your integrative core requirements, such as the W2 (ECON-440) or DIV (ECON-314 or ECON-316) requirements, or complete a double major using the elective credits needed to reach 120 credit hours to graduate.

Advice for Kogod School of Business Double Majors

Under university regulations, you can share up to 9 credits between the BS in Economics and your Kogod Degree, including

Under university regulations, you can

  • ECON-150 Economics for Business, STAT-204 Introduction to Business Statistics, MATH-221 Calculus I (BS in Finance), ECON-401 Macroeconomics (BS in Business Administration) (or selected other electives) .
  • Some of the remaining credit hours of the BA or BS in Economics program can be completed as part of your integrative core requirements, such as the W2 (ECON-440) or DIV (ECON-314 or ECON-316) requirements or complete a double major using the elective credits needed to reach 120 credit hours to graduate.

Interested students should apply to the program in their junior year. Students will be admitted formally to MA status only after they have completed all requirements for their BA or BS with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher. Once admitted to the BS/MA program, you may substitute as many as three courses at the 600 level for your BA or BS requirements. 

Recommended substitutions include

  • ECON-605 Introduction to Mathematical Economics for ECON-405 Introduction to Mathematical Economics
  • ECON-601 Macroeconomics for ECON-401 Intermediate Macroeconomics with Calculus
  • ECON-600 Microeconomics for ECON-400 Intermediate Microeconomics with Calculus
  • ECON-623 Applied Econometrics I for ECON-322 Applied Econometrics I
  • ECON-624 Applied Econometrics II for ECON-424 Applied Econometrics II
  • ECON-640 Communicating Economics for ECON-440 Communicating Economics