Economics

Guillermo E. Herrera, Department Chair
Elizabeth Weston, Department Coordinator

Professors: Rachel Connelly, Deborah S. DeGraff, John M. Fitzgerald, Jonathan P. Goldstein, Guillermo E. Herrera, B. Zorina Khan
Associate Professors: Gregory P. DeCoster, Stephen J. Meardon†, Erik Nelson, Yao Tang†
Assistant Professors: Matthew J. Botsch†, Stephen D. Morris, Gonca Senel†, Daniel F. Stone
Visiting Faculty: Ju Young Park

The major in economics is designed for students who wish to obtain a systematic introduction to the theoretical and empirical techniques of economics. It provides an opportunity to learn economics as a social science, to study the process of drawing inferences from bodies of data and testing hypotheses against observation, and to apply economic theory to particular social problems. Such problems include economic development, the functioning of economic institutions, i.e. financial markets, labor markets, corporations, government agencies, and current policy issues, i.e. the federal budget, poverty, the environment, globalization, deregulation. The major is a useful preparation for graduate study in economics, law, business, finance, or public administration, but majors have gone on to medicine, environmental policy, and many other fields.

Requirements for the Major in Economics

There are seven required courses for the major.

Required courses:

  • core: Economics 2555, 2556, and 2557
  • three advanced topics courses numbered in the 3000s, at least one of which must be designated as a seminar (course number higher than 3500)
  • one additional course in economics numbered 2000 or higher


Either Economics 1050 or 1101 serve as prerequisites for Economics 1102 and because these are prerequisites for most other economics courses, most students begin their work in economics with these introductory courses. Prospective majors are encouraged to take at least one core course by the end of the sophomore year, and all three core courses should normally be completed by the end of the junior year. Advanced topics courses normally have one or more of Economics 2555, 2556, and 2557 as prerequisites. An independent study can be used to satisfy no more than one major requirement. An intermediate independent study can satisfy a 2000-level elective or an advanced independent study can satisfy a 3000-level non-seminar.

All prospective majors and minors are required to complete Mathematics 1600 or its equivalent prior to enrolling in the core courses. Students who aspire to advanced work in economics, e.g., an honors thesis and/or graduate study in a discipline related to economics, are strongly encouraged to master multivariate calculus (Mathematics 1800) and linear algebra (Mathematics 2000) early in their careers. Such students are also encouraged to take Mathematics 2606 instead of Economics 2557 as a prerequisite for Economics 3516. The Economics 2557 requirement is waived for students who complete Mathematics 2606 and Economics 3516. Students should consult the Department of Economics about other mathematics courses that are especially useful for advanced study in economics.

Interdisciplinary Major

The department participates in an interdisciplinary major in mathematics and economics. See Interdisciplinary Majors.

Requirements for the Minor in Economics

Required courses:

  • Economics 2555 or 2556
  • two additional elective courses numbered 2000 or higher
  • one course from Economics 2557, Mathematics 1300, Mathematics 2606, or Psychology 2520; or a score of four or five on the Advanced Placement Statistics exam (Of this list, only Economics 2557 can simultaneously satisfy the elective requirement.)


Requirements for the Minor in Economics and Finance

Required courses:

  • Economics 2555, 3301, 3302
  • one additional elective course numbered 2000 or higher and either one additional course from Economics 2557, Mathematics 1300, Mathematics 2606, or Psychology 2520; or a score of four or five on the AP Statistics exam (Of this list, only Economics 2557 can simultaneously satisfy the elective requirement.)

Because Economics 2555 is a prerequisite for Economics 3302 and other upper-level economics courses, prospective minors are encouraged to complete 2555 by the end of their sophomore year.

Economics majors cannot also minor in economics and finance.

To fulfill major or minor requirements, courses must be taken for letter grades and a C- or better must be earned. In order for a course to serve as a prerequisite for a required course, students must earn a C- or better, or Credit.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB)

Students who received a score of four or five on the Microeconomics AP exam are eligible to receive credit for Economics 1101 and students who received a minimum score of four on the Macroeconomics AP exam are eligible to receive credit for Economics 1102. Students who received a minimum score of six on the Economics IB exam are eligible for placement into courses requiring either Economics 1101 and/or Economics 1102, and will receive one general credit. In order to receive credit for AP/IB work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin.

Additional Information

  • Normally two courses taken at another college or university may be counted toward economics major or minor requirements with departmental approval.
  • First-year seminars do not fulfill departmental requirements or serve as prerequisites for higher-level courses.

(Department/Program website)