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Economics Frequently Asked Questions


 Why should I take introductory courses in economics?

To be a smart consumer, informed participant in the political process and builder of personal wealth, you need to understand how individual markets and decision-makers behave (microeconomics) and how national and international economies operate (macroeconomics). Many students have a requirement to take Econ 200 (Introduction to Macroeconomics) and Econ 201 (Introduction to Microeconomics), but many also take these classes as a matter of choice.

 How would an economics major help me find a good first job and a satisfying career?

JMU economics majors are generally educated students who have gone on to develop their analytical, investigative and research skills – which are highly valued by employers. Economics majors use their understanding of economics relationships and markets to work for manufacturing firms, financial services firms, consulting firms, the health care industries, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Economists with strong statistical backgrounds conduct research, analyze data and develop forecasts. Economics majors are highly competitive in the job market.

 What can you tell me about the economics faculty at JMU?

Economics at JMU is a strong and successful department with a talented and diverse faculty holding graduate degrees from distinguished universities. Among the accomplishments of the economics faculty are: winning regional and national teaching awards, publishing articles in prestigious research journals, consulting for businesses, supervising hundreds of students in JMU programs abroad, and being quoted in The Wall Street Journal. The full-time economics faculty of 19 includes six women and seven individuals with international backgrounds.

 What size are your classes and who teaches them?

Our largest class size is 72, for some sections of introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics. Our junior-level core classes are between 20 and 30 students, while senior level major classes are generally around 20. All of our classes are taught by full-time members of the economics faculty. (At other competing schools, introductory economics classes may have 500 or more students, and major classes are frequently taught by part-time faculty and graduate students.)

 What degrees do you offer?

Economics at JMU is unusual in offering three different degrees, each with the same upper-level core and electives. You simply pair the economics courses with other work that meets University requirements to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Therefore you can tailor your work to highlight the arts and sciences (B.A.), math and science (B.S.), or the practice of business administration (B.B.A.).

 What concentrations do you offer?

By choosing your upper-level-electives appropriately, you may concentrate in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Financial Economics International Economics, Political Economy, Quantitative Economics or Socioeconomics. You are not required to pick a concentration, though – it’s strictly up to you.

 How does economics work as a minor or double major?

After taking our two introductory courses, you may minor in economics by just taking four more courses, at least two of them at the 300 level or above. B.A. and B.S. students in fields such as political science and public administration find that economics major requirements are a good match for their undergraduate programs. B.B.A. students from all fields also can complete a minor or major in economics, adding that dimension to their preparation, without taking a large number of prerequisites.

 Is economics arts and sciences or is it business?

Both, really. Economics is the most practical of the arts and sciences areas. It is sought out by graduate schools and employers. It is also a highly respected academic business discipline.

 What opportunities do you offer outside of class?

Departmental opportunities include the Madison Economics Club (open membership), and Omicron Delta Epsilon (honor society). Our majors also take part in College of Business groups such as the Madison Investment Fund and Madison Algorithmic Research. We regularly send student teams to the Fed Challenge, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. We have a highly acclaimed guest speaker series that has brought distinguished scholars, Nobel laureates and popular figures from business and government. Qualifying students have the opportunity to do paid research with faculty members in the Research Experience for Undergraduates.

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