Skip to Main Content

You are in the main content

About the Department of Economics

Mission Statement

The Department of Economics is committed to students' intellectual development by fostering an understanding and appreciation of economic forms of explanation and their relationships to other social sciences. The Department of Economics also stresses the importance of economic explanation by promoting interdisciplinary perspectives. Economics faculty members are dedicated to sound and effective pedagogy, to scholarship of the highest quality and to outreach to the local and business community. The department provides an intellectual foundation for appreciation and understanding of economic theory and policy at a level appropriate to each program of study. This foundation is developed within a broader educational perspective that stresses the importance of imaginative thinking, free inquiry and the pursuit of life-long learning. In this way, the program prepares students with the economic literacy necessary to cope with the challenges inherent in a world of accelerating change.


  • Help students develop analytical and critical thinking skills.
  • Promote interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary forms of instruction.
  • Seek continuous improvement in the quality of classroom instruction.
  • Serve the community cost-effectively through outreach services.
  • Help students pursue careers and additional education.


What are the first two courses in economics?

Principles of Macroeconomics and Principles of Microeconomics. Macroeconomics is the study of the economy as a whole. Micro is the study of individual decision-makers and markets. At JMU, some of these classes qualify for general education credit (see GECON below).

What does "GECON" mean?

GECON is the catalog designation for economics classes that qualify for general education credit. The general education economics classes have been modified and improved since they were first introduced in 1997. Earlier designations of this course included ECON 202, GECO 200 and GECON 200B.

If I take one GECON course, do I have to finish the General Education package that goes with it

No! If you take, for example, GECON 200, you get credit for Principles of Macroeconomics no matter what else you take.

To get General Education credit for completing a cluster, you have to meet all cluster requirements. But that does not keep you from getting credit for General Education courses taken on a stand-alone basis.

What jobs can I get with an economics major? 

Economics majors work in a variety of positions in business, industry, financial services, the nonprofit sector and government. For more information, see our page on career planning or the JMU Career & Academic Planning page.

How can I minor in economics? 

To minor in economics, start out by taking introductory macroeconomics and microeconomics. Then you only have to complete 12 more credit hours in economics, six of which are at the 300 level or above. The minor totals 18 credit hours.

Where do I go to declare a major? 

Contact the Department Head, Dr. Ehsan Ahmed, at (540) 568-3215. He will personally work with each new major to see that you get the proper advice on major requirements and registration matters. You will be assigned both an academic advisor and a career advisor. Dr. Ahmed's office is Room 434 in Zane Showker Hall. In addition, Ms. Carrie Sensabaugh, next door in Room 433, can assist you.

I tried to register for an economics class but it was full. How do I get an override? 

Overrides in economics are handled by the Department Head, Dr. Ehsan Ahmed. 

How can I join the Economics Club or Economics Honor Society?

  1. The Economics Club has an open membership policy. Anyone with an interest in economics is welcome to join. For further information see the club officers or faculty adviser Philip Heap.
  2. The economics honor society, Omicron Delta Epsilon, invites new membership twice each year. Requirements include:
  • Junior standing
  • An overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
  • At least 12 credit hours of work in economics, completed with an average gradepoint of 3.0 or higher. (Transfer courses count toward the 12 hour requirement, but the 3.0 or higher applies only to work taken at JMU.)

     For further information see the club officers or faculty adviser, Dr. William C. Grant.

How can I contact economics faculty members? 

Economics faculty offices are located on the fourth floor of Zane Showker Hall. Mailboxes are in Room 436. The mailing address is MSC 0204, James Madison University, 421 Bluestone Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807. Messages may be left with the secretary, Ms. Sensabaugh, in Room 433. Faculty members may be contacted by e-mail, and you may get more information by visiting faculty web pages (click on their name).