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Economics

Economics Major and Minor

What is Economics?

Economics is about how people obtain the goods and services they need to live. Economics examines the very foundation of life itself: how individuals and societies provide for their material existence. As such, Economics explore the causes of both wealth and poverty. It asks any number of questions: what are the economic implications of the war on terrorism? How is a market economy organized? Why are unemployment rates higher in Europe than in the US? Why do women on average earn less than men? What do increases in government deficits mean for the economy? Why is consumer spending so important to the economy?

How is Economics at Westminster different?

 

  1. One way our program differs is that we offer an experiential component. This means that we involve students in real-world applications of theory, such as, for example, assessing the value of wilderness or conducting forecasts.
  2. We offer students the opportunity to do an internship. Many of our students have found internships with the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, the Department of Natural Resources, the State Tax Commission, and several others.
  3. Economics at Westminster offers a broader perspective than that found at most other academic institutions. This involves exposing students to the different perspectives within economics as well as honing their quantitative skills.
  4. Our program offers a strong international component. Three of our economics faculty are from countries outside the US. Moreover, many of our courses deal with important developments ongoing in the world economy: the transition from communism to market-based economies, the market reforms ongoing in China, and a number of special topic courses involving international travel.
  5. We offer students a choice of one of two tracks: the Bachelor of Science degree or the Bachelor of Arts degree.
What Does the Bachelor of Science Degree Entail?
  1. The Bachelor of Science degree emphasizes the relation of economics to business. Economics makes an excellent complement to businesses disciplines. Most business disciplines look at the business from the inside looking out. Economics looks at business in the context of its relation to other businesses, to the government, to consumers, to employment, and to the evolution of society as a whole. The Bachelor of Science degree also offers students the option to enter the MBA program taking one less class than students would have to take otherwise.
  2. Economics provides excellent preparatory work for business in general. Why? Because Economics provides the basic theoretical construct that underlies many business theories.
  3. Students must have a basic foundation in business: principles of management, Marketing, Accounting, and Information Systems.
  4. An Economics degree also provides basic skills for making economic forecasts, analyzing quantitative data, and doing regression analysis.
What Does the Bachelor of Arts Degree Entail?

 

  1. The Bachelor of Arts degree emphasizes the relationship to disciplines in the arts and sciences. Students take eight hours in advanced Mathematics, History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences.
  2. Mathematics: Economics uses mathematics--algebra and geometry--in order to present models of economics processes. These models are essentially deductive approaches to economics reasoning
  3. History: Economics is intimately concerned with historical process. An important theme in economics involves understanding how the capitalist system (the market economy plus the associated culture) originated and evolved.
  4. Philosophy: Economics originated with Adam Smith, who was a moral philosopher. The grand theories in economics have been referred to as worldly philosophies, insofar as they are concerned with understanding the most worldly of human activities-- our drive for wealth. Many of the questions that economists are concerned with involve issues of both fairness and efficiency.
  5. Political Science: All economic theories have implications for policy which necessarily involves government. In fact, economics prior to 1900 was called "political economy."   

What Are The Economics Program Learning Goals?

Bachelor of Science in Economics Degree

Students completing the Bachelor of Science degree in Economics should:

  1. Demonstrate an ability to interpret and analyze quantitative data.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to analyze economic, social, and business problems from the economic point of view, that is, weigh the costs and benefits.
  3. Demonstrate an appreciation of the historical, cultural, and institutional foundations of the economy.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the policy implications of economic theories.
  5. Demonstrate an appreciation for how economics integrates with business.

Bachelor of Arts in Economics
Students completing the Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics should:

  1. Demonstrate an ability to interpret and analyze quantitative data.
  2. Demonstrate an ability to analyze economic, social, and business problems from the economic point of view, which means weighing the costs and benefits.
  3. Demonstrate an appreciation for the historical, cultural, and institutional foundations of the economy.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the policy implications of economic theories.
  5. Demonstrate an appreciation of how the social sciences, history, and philosophy contribute to an understanding of economics.

What Can I Do With an Economics Degree?

  1. Economics is a good, general degree. It does not, however, provide you with specific skills that you can apply on the job, as does accounting or nursing.
  2. Economics teaches you to think. It teaches you to look at issues critically, how to analyze an issue and construct an argument, all of which are important job skills.
  3. Economics provides excellent preparatory work for jobs in business, banking, or government.  
Is Economics a Good Degree for Law School?
  1. Definitely. Many law schools require or look favorably on an Economics degree. Much of the law is based on economic principles. Many aspects of the law involves economic issues: contracts, torts, etc.
  2. Economics teaches you both how to follow an analytical argument as well as how to write. Does Westminster offer an Economics minor? Yes. A minor in Economics is an excellent complement to all business majors and many of the majors in arts and sciences (See the catalog).
How Have Our Graduates Fared?

Probably half of our graduates in Economics have gone on to graduate school, mostly in law. But students have also gone on to do graduate work in Economics, MBA, Finance, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and even medical school. Almost every year one or two of our students go on to do Ph.D. work in Economics.

How Can I Learn More?

Contact the program director, Dr. Maria Wrotniak at 801.832.2629 or by email at mwrotniak@westminstercollege.edu.