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Career Guide to JMU Majors

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Career Guide to JMU Majors: Economics

Career Guide to JMU Majors

The Major

Who Succeeds

Careers

Internships

Learn More


The Major

The Economics major is a department within the College of Business.

Learn more about this major by watching the JMU Economics promotional video.

Concentrations:
Environmental & Natural Resource 
Financial
International
Political Economy
Socioeconomics

Admission and Progression Standards for this major:
Visit the Major Snapshots site to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major.

Description of Major

The Department of Economics offers major programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in Economics. For all three degrees, concentrations are available in Financial Economics, Socioeconomics, International Economics, Political Economy, and Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. A minor in Economics is also offered. Students learn about the allocation of scarce resources, the structure of industries, the distribution of income, the determinants of unemployment and inflation, the structure of international trade and finance, and the role of government in the economy. The programs are designed to prepare students for a wide range of potential careers in financial services, consulting firms, health care industries, manufacturing firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Students also gain a sound basis for graduate study in economics, law, business administration, social services, public policy and international relations. If a student wants to pursue either BA or BS degree, he or she needs to make an appointment with the Program Director to discuss his/her degree plans. A formal approval from the Economics Program Director is necessary to become an economics major with BA or BS degree. If a student pursues a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Economics in the College of Business, it is necessary to formally apply for admission and to complete, successfully, lower-level business requirements. Students interested in pursuing a business major are encouraged to begin taking lower-division business courses as early as possible. It is highly recommended that students pursuing an economics major finish their math and statistics requirements during the first year.

Tell me more about this field of study

Economics is the science that examines many of society's most fundamental and controversial issues. Among these are the strengths and the limitations of market-based systems of production and distribution, the creation and distribution of wealth, the appropriate role of government in the economy, the incidence and alleviation of poverty, methods of preserving environmental quality, the determinants of economic growth, business cycles, inflation and unemployment. It should be recognized, however, that economics is not a body of fixed conclusions and policy prescriptions. Rather, economics is a method, or a technique for thinking, which helps one draw sound inferences about difficult and often confusing problems. The economics major is designed to provide students with the understanding of these concepts so that they can be applied in alternative paths that lead to careers in business, government, nonprofit, or education.

For more information, please contact Dr. Ehsan Ahmed, Head of the Economics Department at 540-568-3215 or 3216 or by email at ahmedex@jmu.edu. You can also visit the Economics Department website. for more information about major requirements and careers for economists.

Tell me more about specialization

Economists study the operation of markets for goods, services and resources and analyze the structure of institutions such as banks, the stock market, and labor unions. People who have studied economics also deal with problems arising from inflation, taxes and international trade. There are various specializations including: Economic Theory in which mathematical models are developed to explain causes of inflation, unemployment, or recessions; Economic History; International Economics; Industrial Economics, Natural Resource Economics; Labor Economics and Regional Studies.

Common majors or minors that complement this major

Some common combinations may be Business Analytics, English, Environmental Studies, Finance, History, International Affairs, International Business, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Language, Philosophy, Communication, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, or Urban and Regional Studies.


Characteristics of Successful Students

Students who have the ability to perform well in written and oral expression, can think analytically and logically and have good quantitative skills do well in this field.


Careers

Many graduates choose typical career paths associated with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated careers that utilize skills and experiences developed during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some fields will require graduate study or further training. The listing below offers examples of possible career paths and is not meant to be comprehensive.

  • Bank Advisor
  • Chamber of Commerce Director
  • Commodities Analyst
  • Commodities Trader
  • Consultant
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Consumer Services Consultant
  • Contract Administrator
  • Contract Specialist
  • Corporate Planner
  • Cost Estimator
  • Credit Analyst
  • Economic Advisor
  • Economic Analyst
  • Economist
  • Editor
  • Earned Value Analyst
  • Estate Planner
  • Export-Import Specialist
  • Financial Analyst/ Consultant
  • Financial Sales Agent
  • Forecast Analyst
  • Fund Raiser
  • Government Research Associate
  • Graduate Studies Coordinator
  • Industry Analyst
  • Investment Performance Analyst
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • International Trade Specialist
  • Job Analyst
  • Journalist/ Columnist
  • Labor Economist
  • Labor Relations Specialist
  • Lobbyist
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Mediator/ Negotiator
  • Operations Specialist
  • Pricing Analyst
  • Professor
  • Program Analyst
  • Property Manager
  • Public Administrator
  • Research Analyst
  • Risk Manager
  • Statistician
  • Stockbroker
  • Technical Writer
  • Transportation Planner
  • Trust Fund Officer

Who employs graduates?

Broadcast Companies, Brokerage Firms, Business Magazines, Colleges & Universities, Commercial Banks, Management Consulting Firms, Federal State and Local Government Agencies, Hotels – Corporate, Insurance Agencies, Manufacturing Companies, Market Research Firms, Newspaper Agencies, Private Research Organizations, Public & Private Schools, Public Utilities, Retail Trade - Corporate, Savings & Loan Firms, Think Tanks, and Transportation Companies.


Internships and Practicum Experiences

Students should see their faculty advisor to discuss internship or practicum experiences. Students can earn up to 3 academic credits for internships if pre-approved by the program. Opportunities to become involved in one of the student organizations, such as the Economics Club, are also available and provide a variety of learning experiences, such as exposure to speakers in this field.


Learn More

What are JMU graduates doing with this major?
A Day in the Life of an Economist
A Day in the Life of a Lobbyist
Career Information for Economics
Economists (OOH)
Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Agent(OOH)

A broad range of resources on career fields, internships, and job search information is also available in the Career & Academic Planning Resource Center.

Make an appointment with a CAP career counselor to learn more about this major and your career options.

A few titles from our Resource Center related to this field include:


© Career & Academic Planning, James Madison University, 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from JMU Career & Academic Planning. Content for each major has been written/reviewed by faculty in the respective department and is revised each year. Requests to update content can be submitted to the Career Guide editor, Nina Stensby-Hurst.