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 finance 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. Economics majors may elect a concentration in financial markets. 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.
Chair, Professor Michael Donihue
Associate Chair, Associate Professor Samara Gunter
Professors Michael Donihue, David Findlay, Patrice Franko, Randy Nelson, Douglas Terp, and Andreas Waldkirch; Associate Professors Samara Gunter, Timothy Hubbard, Daniel LaFave, and Robert Lester; Assistant Professors Linwood Downs, Kathrin Ellieroth, Yang Fan, Erin Giffin, Jennifer Meredith, Stephanie Owen, Ekaterina Seregina, and James Siodla; Visiting Professor James Libby; Visiting Assistant Professors Bolarinwa Ajanaku, Se Ho Kwak, and Benjamin Scharadin.
Requirements for the Major in Economics
Economics 133*, 134*, 223**, 224**, 293***, and 393; one economics senior seminar; three additional elective courses in economics at the 200 or 300 level; at least two of these elective courses must be at the 300 level; Mathematics 125*, 130*, or 135*, or equivalent.
Requirements for the Major in Economics with a Concentration in Financial Markets
Economics 121, 133*, 134*, 211, 212, 223**, 224**, 293, and 393; one economics senior seminar; two additional elective courses in economics at the 300 level; at least one 300-level elective must be completed at Colby; Mathematics 121* or 161*, or equivalent.
A student may elect only one of the majors offered by the Economics Department.
* Students who do not complete Economics 133 and 134, as well as one of the calculus courses required for the majors with a grade of C- or above, may not enroll in Economics 223.
** To continue in the major, students must receive a grade of C- or better in Economics 223 and 224.
Both theory courses (223, 224) must be taken at Colby. Any student who has tried and failed to satisfy the EC223 or EC224 requirement at Colby (i.e., received a grade of D+ or below for the major) 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 EC223 or EC224 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.
*** To continue in the major, students must receive a grade of C- or better in Economics 293 or an approved two-course sequence in research methods and/or statistics offered by another department. Economics 293 is a prerequisite or concurrent requirement for all senior seminars.
At least one 300-level elective course must be taken at Colby regardless of the number and level of credits transferred from other degree-granting institutions.
Students who wish to do graduate work in economics are encouraged to consider an honors thesis and take additional courses in mathematics, especially Mathematics 253, 274, 311, 338, and Computer Science 151.
The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses offered toward the major. Independent studies, Economics 293, 393, and 345 cannot be used to fulfill the elective course requirements for the majors.
No course that could fulfill a requirement for either major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. This includes all courses listed in economics and any course used to fulfill the mathematics and statistics requirements.
Senior Thesis and Honors in Economics and Economics-Mathematics
Students wishing to further their economics training with a yearlong research project must register for Economics 451 (1 credit) and 491 (3 credits) during the fall of their senior year. At the end of the fall semester, students who are interested in pursuing honors research and who have the Economics Department’s approval then complete a second semester of research by enrolling in Economics 452 (1 credit) and 484 (3 credits). Those completing Economics 452 and 484 with at least an A-, and who have maintained a GPA in the major 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 yearlong research project but do not meet the GPA requirement for honors. These students should enroll in Economics 451 and 491 in the fall followed by Economics 45s and 482 in the spring. Further details can be obtained from the department.
Requirements for the Minor in Economics
The department offers two tracks for a minor in economics. Track 1 includes courses in accounting and introductory finance. Track 2 enables students to select from a variety of policy areas to focus their study of economics in completing the minor.
Track 1. Economics 133, 134, 121, 211; and two Economics electives numbered 200 and above. Also Economics 293; or Statistics 212; or Psychology 214 and 215; or Sociology 271; or Government 281; or equivalent.
Track 2. Economics 133, 134; Mathematics 125, 130, or 135 (or equivalent); Economics 223; and two Economics electives numbered 200 and above. Also Economics 293; or Statistics 212; or Psychology 214 and 215; or Sociology 271; or Government 281; or equivalent.
Independent studies, Economics 293, 393, and Economics 345 cannot be used to fulfill the elective course requirements for the minor.
No course that could fulfill a requirement for either track of the economics minor may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. This includes all courses listed in economics and any course used to fulfill the mathematics and statistics requirements.
The economics minor may not be combined with either of the majors offered by the Economics Department.
A relevant internship experience is recommended for all majors and minors.