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Economics | Deciding On Your Major

 You excelled in Principles of Economics because you thought the economic way of thinking is a compelling way to understand the decisions made by people. You saw how economics describes how people make decisions for themselves, for their households, in their businesses, and in their various capacities in government. Now you want to explore in more detail how economists model and measure the behavior of people, and you especially want to understand more about how people interact. An economics major is for you!

The Big Decision: BA vs. BS

The Bachelor of Arts in Economics provides solid background in economic intuition and theory and the application of economics to many fields. The BA in Economics' General Track is an excellent choice if you find the economic way of thinking compelling but you do not expect to use economic theory or quantitative skills daily in your future education or employment. A student who completes a BA in Economics is in a good position to pursue job opportunities in management in the private, public, or not-for-profit sector. A student who completes a BA in Economics will also be prepared to pursue a J.D. or a Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, business administration or international relations.

The BA student may pursue an interest in all things international by choosing the International Track. The International Track is intended to meet your needs if you are particularly interested in pursuing a career in international relations or international business. The International Track requires foreign language competency and directs the student to choose between economics and non-economics courses that focus on rest-of-world and comparative international issues.

The Bachelor of Science in Economics is for a student who expects to use economics and quantitative methods every day in a career in government, business, finance, and international relations, and public policy analysis (among many). The BS in Economics is an excellent choice for a student who wants to keep a broad array of options open for the future. As with the BA, the student who pursues the BS in Economics will have a wide choice of job opportunities upon graduating and will be prepared to apply to a range of graduate and professional programs. In addition, a BS in Economics prepares students for advanced graduate work in economics.

Both BA and BS students may pursue University Honors in Economics.

A student may pursue a Master’s degree in Economics through American University. The BA/MA program generally requires five years in residence at AU.

An undergraduate student who wants to keep open the option of pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics or Finance should pursue the BS in Economics, should read the page on planning for the Ph.D., and should speak to their favorite professor in the Economics Department.