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See course descriptions for this department or program
Chair, Professor Patrice Franko
The Economics Department provides a wide selection of courses analyzing market behavior and the interactions among consumers, firms, and governments. Economic tools, which are applicable to a broad range of topics, are used to investigate how individuals and firms make decisions in private and public spheres and the consequences of resulting resource allocations. As the following courses illustrate, economics is central to the study of poverty, discrimination, growth, unemployment, the environment, international trade, and development, encompassing everything from fertility rates and crime to the cyclical nature of a country’s aggregate production.Economics classes emphasize theoretical modeling, empirical analysis, and critical thinking. After completing core courses in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, students choose from a wide variety of electives. Within the major, students may elect a concentration in financial markets, international economics, public policy, or mathematical economics. The economics major provides undergraduate students with an excellent background for employment and graduate work in numerous fields, including economics, business, law, government, health care, and education.
Requirements for the Major in Economics
Economics 133, 134, 223*, 224*, and 345**; Mathematics 121 or 161, or equivalent; either Mathematics 231 or the two-course sequence Mathematics 381, 382; one economics senior seminar; three additional courses (totaling at least nine credit hours) in economics, at least two of which must be numbered 300 or above (at least one of the 300-level courses must be taken at Colby). Although potential majors are strongly encouraged to take Economics 133 and 134 in their first year, completion of the major is possible if begun during the second year.
Requirements for the Major in Economics with a Concentration in Financial Markets
Economics 133, 134, 223*, 224*, 345**, and 393; one economics senior seminar; one additional economics course chosen from Economics 338 or 373; two additional elective economics courses, at least one of which must be at the 300 level; Administrative Science 221, 311, and 322; Mathematics 121 or 161, or equivalent; either Mathematics 231 or the two-course sequence Mathematics 381, 382.
Requirements for the Major in Economics with a Concentration in International Economics
Economics 133, 134, 223*, 224*, 345**, and 393; one economics senior seminar; five additional economics courses, at least two of which must be at the 300 level, chosen from Economics 214, 215, 271, 292, 294, 297, 333, 335, 373, and 378; ; Mathematics 121 or 161, or equivalent; either Mathematics 231 or the two-course sequence Mathematics 381, 382.
Requirements for the Major in Economics with a Concentration in Public Policy
Economics 133, 134, 223*, 224*, 345**, and 393; one economics senior seminar; two economics courses chosen from Economics 312, 331, 332, 338, 351, 355, and 379; three additional economics courses (any subject, any level); Mathematics 121 or 161, or equivalent; either Mathematics 231 or the two-course sequence Mathematics 381, 382.
Requirements for the Major in Economics-Mathematics
Economics 133, 134, 223*, 224*, 336, 345**, and 393; one economics senior seminar; one additional 300-level economics course; Mathematics 122 or 162; Mathematics 231, 253, 311, and one additional 300-level mathematics course. The Mathematics 381, 382 sequence may be substituted for Mathematics 231 and the additional 300-level mathematics course. Students majoring in economics-mathematics may select a concentration in financial markets, international economics, or public policy by fulfilling the requirements for the concentration in addition to the requirements for the major in economics-mathematics.
*Note: To continue in the major, students must receive a grade of C- or better in Economics 223 and 224. Both economic theory courses (223, 224) must be taken at Colby. Any student who has tried and failed to satisfy an intermediate theory requirement at Colby (i.e., received a grade of D+ or below for the major or F for the minor) may elect to take the same course elsewhere by securing the approval of the department chair on the standard credit transfer approval form. For other students seeking to fulfill the intermediate theory requirement with a course taken elsewhere, approval for the standard credit transfer form can be secured only by petitioning the Economics Department and having the petition approved by majority vote of the Economics Department faculty.
**Note: Majors must complete Economics 345 in either their junior or senior year. A faculty sponsor must approve the topic and the proposed enrollment in Economics 345 for credit to be granted. Students can opt out of the Economics 345 requirement by taking one additional economics course numbered at the 200 level or higher.
Students who wish to do graduate work in economics are urged to elect Economics 336 and 393 and additional courses in mathematics, especially Mathematics 253, 311, 338, 381, and 382.
The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses offered toward the major. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Senior Thesis and Honors in Economics and Economics-Mathematics
Students wishing to further their research in economics may register for Economics 345 during the fall of their senior year. At the end of the semester, students who are interested in pursuing honors research and who have the Economics Department’s approval then complete a second semester of research, enrolling in Economics 484. Those completing 484 with at least an A-, and who have maintained a major average of at least 3.50, are entitled to graduate with honors in the major. Another option, the Senior Thesis, is available to students who want to do a year-long research project, but do not meet the GPA requirement for honors. These students should enroll in Economics 345 followed by Economics 482. Further details can be obtained from the department.
Requirements for the Minor in Economics
Economics 133, 134, 223, 224, and two elective courses in economics totaling at least six credit hours, of which at least three credit hours must be numbered 300 or above. Independent studies cannot be used to fulfill the 300-level or above course requirement. No requirement for the minor may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.