Undergraduate Program

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. The department offers a program of mentoring for students who want to pursue graduate education in economics (CARE). 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. 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.


Starting in Summer 2021, pre-requisites for all ECON courses will be enforced upon registration.  Students will not be able to enroll in an ECON course in Lionpath until pre-requisites for that course have been satisfied.

Please note that you can enroll in a course for the next semester if you are currently enrolled in the pre-requisite course.  However, if you drop, fail, or withdraw from the pre-requisite class, you will automatically be removed from the course that requires the pre-requisite.  This removal may happen at a later date closer to the start of the following semester, and you may need to enroll yourself in additional credits to keep full-time status. 

The Economics Department does not accept transfer credits for the following courses:

  • ECON302 (Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis)
  • ECON304 (Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis)
  • ECON306 (Introduction to Econometrics)

Thus, all Economics majors and minors must complete these courses through Penn State.

 Entrance-to-major requirements:

  • C or better in ECON 102 and ECON 104,
  • an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher, and
  • at least 29.1 total credits earned.

The bachelor of arts degree requires students 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 the bachelor of science 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. 

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.

For information on declaring ECLBS as a concurrent major, click here.

Assessment Mechanisms

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Liberal Arts - About the College

Information on the honor code and the college values statement for undergraduate students available at: http://www.la.psu.edu/current-students/undergraduate-students

How Can We Help?

If you have additional questions about the Economics degree programs at Penn State, please contact Honors Adviser Russ Chuderewicz, one of our Undergraduate Academic Advisers, or Undergraduate Staff Assistant Pam Dutko.