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THE DISMAL SCIENCE | The Dismal Major

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From the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, to the publication of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and so on to the central banking decisions of Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen, each generation of economists contributes to the field’s foundation. Yet we still can’t seem to figure out what’s going on.

If you have always wanted to be an economics major but couldn’t quite fit it into your schedule, this article will save you a lot of time. Keep reading for an overview of some of the core and elective classes in the curriculum.

Econ 1110: Introduction to Microeconomics

This was my first taste of the dismal science, a term coined by Thomas Carlyle in response to the Malthusian Trap: Thomas Malthus’ theory that population growth would forever out-pace agricultural growth and the world would starve to death. You’ll learn how to efficiently trade two goods, wine and cloth, to get an optimal bundle. If you’ve been to a frat party, you’ll know that it’s all of the former and none of the latter.

Econ 1120: Introduction to Macroeconomics

The first few weeks of this course are review of 1110, and the rest is spent figuring out the difference between micro and macro.

Econ 3110: Probability and Statistics

This is the first of two statistics requirements that give you a foundation for empirical analysis and could make or break your aspirations of double majoring with math.

Econ 3120: Econometrics

I bet you didn’t know that was a word. This is the second statistics requirement, focused on multivariate regression analysis and a popular economics programming language called Stata. You’ll have to install CISER on your computer and then hope it doesn’t crash in the hour before your problem set is due.

Econ 3030: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

More micro.

Econ 3040: Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory

More macro.

Now for the electives.

Econ 3350: History of Economic Analysis

Learn about economics from Ancient Greece to modern times. This is a writing and reading intensive course that you’ll leave with enough knowledge to entertain any cocktail party full of economists.

Econ 3545: International Finance and Macroeconomics

In this course listen to accomplished lecturers from the International Monetary Fund as you learn how to think of an idea, find data to support that idea and then present it in a way that makes people want to read your thoughts. Clearly, I’m not there yet.

Econ 4220: Financial Economics

As the closest thing to a finance course that you will find in the curriculum, I encourage anyone seeking either a basic introduction to or an academic study of stocks, bonds and Wall Street to take this course. To help you prepare for your career in finance, the professor will randomly fire someone halfway through, but thanks to 3110 you’ll know that it probably won’t be you.

Now that you’re on the path to becoming a full fledged economist, actually take one of these courses and learn what you’re missing out on! What will you contribute to the dismal science?

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