The   Economics  major is a department within the   College of Business. Learn more about this major by watching the JMU Economics promotional video.




Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Financial Economics
International and Development Economics
Political Economy
Quantitative Economics

Admission and Progression Standards for this major

Visit the Economics Major 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 Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in Economics. For all three degrees, concentrations are available in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics, Financial Economics, International and Development Economics, Socioeconomics, Political Economy, and Quantitative 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, 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. Students interested in pursuing a major within the College of Business are encouraged to begin taking lower-division business courses as early as possible. It also is highly recommended that students pursuing an economics major finish their math and statistics requirements during the first year.

More About the Field 

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.


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.

Complementary Majors and Minors 

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, Psychology, 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 often are successful in this field.


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

Who Employs Graduates?

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 Experiential Opportunities 

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 Madison Economics Club, are also available and provide a variety of learning experiences, such as exposure to speakers in this field.

View our list of  internship coordinators for each major.

Career Profiles 

Data Scientist
Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Agent
Additional Resources to Research Careers
  • Handshake: view new internships and jobs that employers are looking to hire JMU students from your major 
  • Career Outcomes: see where alumni worked or studied right after graduating.
  • GoinGlobal: learn more about employment opportunities overseas as well as H1B visa information for international Dukes pursuing jobs in the U.S.
  • O*NET: browse occupational profiles to learn about thousands of different careers, pulling data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • CareerOneStop: explore thousands of different careers by looking at career profiles 
  • Utilize the LinkedIn Alumni tool to see what others have done with their majors and what their career paths look like. Reach out to alumni via LinkedIn and conduct an informational interview.

© University Career Center, James Madison University

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the JMU University Career Center. 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 career@jmu.edu

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