The Undergraduate Program
There are two different undergraduate degrees in the College of the Liberal Arts that a student may earn in economics at Penn State. A bachelor of arts (ECLBA) or a bachelor of science degree (ECLBS) in economics. A minor in economics is open to students enrolled in any college. A departmental Honors Program provides a small group of outstanding students an opportunity for independent research and close contact with faculty and fellow students.
A student in either economics major must complete:
- 45 credits of General Education,
- requirements for the major,
- University requirements for the bachelor of arts degree if that degree is chosen, and
- sufficient elective credits to make the total number of credits earned equal to 120.
In order to count a course for any part of the requirements for the major, a grade of C or better must be earned. Courses passed with a grade of D may be counted towards General Education or elective requirements. Students must also take one 3-credit "Writing Across the Curriculum" course and meet the University's "Intercultural and International Requirement" by completing a GI designated course. The Writing and Diversity courses can also be used to satisfy part of General Education, major, B.A., college, or elective requirements, but the credits for the course can only be counted once.
The economics program does have two entrance-to-major requirements: students must complete ECON 102 and ECON 104 with a grade of C or better prior to declaring the Economics major.
The ECLBA major requires the student to reach the 12th-credit level of proficiency in a single foreign language, and also has a set of university-wide B.A. requirements. Instead of foreign language, the ECLBS major requires specific quantitative skills courses.
The economics minor requires the student to pass with C or better 18 credits of courses in economics: Economics 102 (GS), 104 (GS), 302 (GS), 304 (GS) and any two 400-level courses in the economics department. Upon graduation, the student's transcript will state that the economics minor has been completed. The diploma received at graduation will not indicate that a minor has been completed. To declare the minor, use the eLion Minor Declaration application.
Academic advisers are available in the Economics Department to discuss the details of these programs with you. They will also be able to help you evaluate your own skills and preparation for these majors as well as provide you with current information about career prospects for economics majors. For further information see the advising schedule at the Economics Department web page under the Undergraduate Program.
Program Goals and Assessment Mechanisms
Students who complete an undergraduate major in economics will:
- understand and be able to apply the fundamental concepts of intermediate microeconomic theory and intermediate macroeconomic theory, and at least two fields in economics.
- be able to write a paper doing economic analysis that is coherent, cogent, and grammatically correct.
- Be able to carry out quantitative analyses of economic data.
- Students are required to take ECON 302 (intermediate microeconomic theory) and ECON 304 (intermediate macroeconomic theory); exit surveys of recent graduates, which have been in use by the Department for some time, will be modified to include questions both on their experiences in these courses and on the students’ sense of mastery of the relevant material.
- In addition to the prescribed courses for the major, Liberal Arts students take six elective courses of 300- and 400-level economics. We will examine student records to ensure that each student’s electives in economics cover at least two different fields in the discipline.
- Students will have the opportunity to take 400-level writing-intensive seminars in economics that typically require a term paper applying the tools of economic analysis to some question or issue. The Department will poll instructors of these courses to determine that the level of economic analysis is appropriate and the use of the English language is satisfactory, and exit surveys will include questions seeking students’ perceptions of their ability to write coherent, cogent, and grammatically correct papers in economics.
- Students in economics take ECON 306, Introduction to Econometrics, which teaches them the theory and practice of quantitative analysis in economics. Exit surveys will include questions on the 306 course and on the students’ sense of mastery of quantitative economic analysis.
How Can We Help?
If you have additional questions about the Economics degree programs at Penn State, please send e-mail to Russ Chuderewicz, Advisor to honors students; Lisa Brooks, Suzanne Bennett , and Nimisha Thakur. Academic Advisor; or Gay Catherman , Undergraduate Staff Assistant.
Or contact us at:
Economics Office of Undergraduate Studies
The Pennsylvania State University
609 Kern Graduate Building
University Park, PA 16802-3306