Economics

At Earlham, we approach economics as a supremely social science that also uses rigorous analytical tools to understand economic institutions and life. We seek to help you put economic issues in a wider social, political and historical context by balancing the emphasis we place on the theoretical, empirical and real world aspects of the study of economics.

We do this by introducing you to both the established and latest scholarship in different aspects of economics and to cultivate their ability to undertake research in their areas of interest. We do all this with the hope and expectation that our students will be well prepared for joyful and purposeful pursuits in the future!

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100%
of recent graduates from the economic program reported that they were working or continuing their education within six months of graduation.
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Careers
Career paths of former Earlham students include consulting, banking, government, the private nonprofit sector and teaching.
Outcomes

Recent economics majors have completed graduate degrees in public policy at Duke, data sciences at UNC, as well as in economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, among others. Our majors have also landed good jobs doing research and analysis in the public and private sectors, in higher education, as well as many private-sector jobs from data analysis, to finance to law.

Multiple perspectives, rigorous training and thoughtful analysis

Many of our students combine economics with other majors and join us in research and pursuing fellowship opportunities.

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Fellowships and interdisciplinary work

Economics majors frequently combine economics with politics, data science, philosophy, global management and more. They have received wonderful fellowship awards, including a Rhodes Scholarship, Watson Fellowship, Carnegie Peace Fellowship and Davis Projects for Peace Award, among others.

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Off-campus study

Along with faculty, economics students have participated in summer research and grant-funded projects on theoretical projects (“Dynamic Human Development Index Analysis and Website”) to site and community-based projects such as “Social Development and Women’s Empowerment in Mysuru India” and “Gentrification and Economic Development in Cincinnati.”

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Our faculty

Our faculty is involved locally and beyond from studying Richmond’s Blight Elimination Program to collaborating on a Great Lakes Colleges Association collaborative project which tracks economics, socio-communal and foreign policy issues in India.

Program details

At Earlham you can major in economics or choose the quantitative economics major. Both majors start with broad-based introductory courses and skill-building courses, then move into topical and applied upper-division courses that include research, writing, as well as analytical work.

The quantitative economics major meets the Department of Immigration Services standards as a STEM major and thus confers a three-year period of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

The Department of Economics offers two courses that meet the abstract reasoning component of the Analytical Reasoning Requirement, ECON 101 and 103; and one course that fulfills the domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, ECON 345. The Department also offers an occasional Earlham Seminar.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements:

Economics major
If you plan to concentrate in economics, you must take a minimum of 36 credits. The following courses are required:

  • ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ECON 103 Introduction to Microeconomics
  • ECON 204 Statistics for Economics
  • ECON 301 Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • ECON 303 Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECON 305 Econometrics
  • ECON 310 History of Economic Thought
  • ECON 488 Senior Capstone
  • In addition, you must take four more upper-level economic courses (numbers 300 or above) totaling 12 credits. No more than 2 of these 12 elective credits can be at the 400 level.

Quantitative economics major

Quantitative economics meets the standards of a STEM major and thus confers a three-year period of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

If you plan to concentrate in quantitative economics, you must take a minimum of 38 credits. The following are required:

  • ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ECON 103 Introduction to Microeconomics
  • ECON 204 Statistics for Economics
  • ECON 205 Mathematical Foundations for Economics
  • ECON 308 Quantitative Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • ECON 309 Quantitative Intermediate Microeconomics
  • ECON 305 Econometrics
  • ECON 306 Applied Econometrics
  • ECON 313 Game Theory
  • ECON 488 Senior Capstone
  • In addition, you must take two more upper-level economic courses (numbers 300 or above) totaling six credits.

All economic students
You may transfer in only three courses totaling nine credits towards your major.

ECON 301, ECON 303, ECON 305, ECON 306, ECON 308, ECON 309, ECON 310 and ECON 313 must be taken at Earlham—courses may not be transferred in and substituted for these courses. In the event you take any of these courses in your senior year and fail them, you may petition the department to take an equivalent course at another college or university. However, the transfer of these credits must fall within the nine credit constraint stated above.

You must be in residence in your senior year to take ECON 486 and ECON 488. Only if you plan to graduate in less than four years, can you take ECON 486 and ECON 488 during your third year, though you still must meet all the prerequisites.

If you fail ECON 486 in the fall semester, you may petition the department to have a retake of ECON 486 in the spring semester and to do your senior capstone thesis work the following fall semester. The granting of such an arrangement will be made on a case-by-case basis. You may not petition to take ECON 486 for the first time in the spring semester.

Completion of AP Exams or IB A levels in economics do not substitute for the department’s introductory courses.

You may earn credit toward the major for courses taken on off-campus study programs, when the courses would count toward the major if they were offered on campus. Because off-campus courses vary a lot in their demands and quality, the department will need to examine the course syllabus after you return from an off-campus program to determine whether the course counts toward the economics major.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To earn a minor in economics, you must complete the following courses:

  • ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • ECON 103 Introduction to Microeconomics
  • ECON 204 Statistics for Economics
  • In addition, you must earn nine elective credits in economics courses numbered 200 or higher. You may transfer in one course of up to three credits toward the minor.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Common career paths for economics majors include financial analyst, investment analyst, business analyst, research associate and policy analyst.

Recent graduates have interned in a variety of industries, including banking, hospitality, higher education, consulting and business.

Successful economics majors are able to think analytically, reason quantitatively and recognize patterns. Economics is also teeming with theoretical concepts, so if you like intellectual adventures, you’ll have plenty as an economics major.

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