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The economics major is a hands-on experience that teaches concepts and models underlying both individual decision-making and broader (macro) questions such as the determination of interest rates and income growth. We offer courses in a series of fields including finance, international trade, macroeconomics, competition and strategy, labor economics, development economics, and public economics.
After completing the tools courses, you have a series of opportunities to engage in research. These include a culminating experience project focused on your emphasis within the major, an honors thesis, and working one-on-one with faculty members as a research assistant.
Dartmouth's approach to teaching economics is distinct among our peer institutions. Intermediate level courses are taught in small sections and include a great deal of interaction with the professor. Our seminars are largely discussion-based and involve 15 students or fewer. The seminar courses engage students in collecting original data, testing hypotheses, and analyzing data.
NOTE: This set of major requirements first went into effect for the class of 2024. These requirements are also acceptable for earlier classes. If this is your first time declaring an economics major you should start here regardless of your class year. Students entering before 2020 have the option of fulfilling the major requirements under the ORC when they matriculated. Follow this link to an archived description of the older major requirements. The majority of major declarations will satisfy both the old and new requirements.
A student who fails to achieve the minimum grade average for the prerequisites may, with the permission of the vice chair, substitute grades in ECON 21 and ECON 20 for those in ECON 1 and ECON 10, respectively. Another statistics course may be substituted for ECON 10 with permission of the vice chair. Newly declared Econ Majors who have not previously satisfied this requirement must take Econ 10.
These prerequisite courses introduce students to the economic way of thinking.
"The Price System" (ECON 1) is an in-depth introduction to microeconomics, studying supply and demand in both product and factor markets. ECON 10, "Introduction to Statistical Methods," introduces the student to the basic concepts and methods of statistics. MATH 3, "Introduction to Calculus," introduces the basic ideas of differential and integral calculus. For students who place into MATH 1, the MATH 3 pre-requisite can be satisfied with ECON 3, offered in the Winter term, which covers much of the same material but focuses on economic applications of calculus.
The emphasis in the prerequisites is on fundamental ideas and problem solving. ECON 10 and MATH 3 are included in this classification because of the importance of quantitative skills in analyzing basic economic phenomena.
Nine courses in addition to the prerequisites, with a GPA for these nine courses of no less than 2.0. The nine courses must include the following:
NOTES: The courses numbered 62-69 are identical to corresponding course numbers 42-49 in the period before Winter 2020 and satisfy the same requirements.
The first requirement ensures that majors are proficient in each of the three core areas of economics: microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics.
Economics 20, “Econometrics,” studies the statistical analysis of economic data and provides an overview of how to carry out and interpret empirical research, preparing students for the culminating experience in the major. Economics 21, “Microeconomics,” covers many of the same topics as Economics 1 at a more advanced level through the use of calculus. Economics 22, “Macroeconomics,” helps to develop an advanced understanding of the aggregate economy.
The second requirement ensures that majors are proficient in at least one field of concentration and have completed a culminating experience in that field. These fields, represented by the sequences above, can generally be thought of as:
The culminating experience is a senior seminar in which students read and discuss the important literature in the field and produce a major paper of their own, which is typically empirical.
You must declare your economics major online to receive priority status when registering for economics courses. Students typically declare during their sophomore year.
The plan of study listed on your declaration is not set in stone, but it is important to think about and document your best estimate of the courses you actually plan to take.
You'll need to pay particular attention to prerequisites and to the term in which courses are expected to be offered to ensure that you are eligible to take your desired courses in the desired terms.
It is important to realize that declaring your major does not guarantee you a place in your desired course in the desired term. You must register on time, and may still be placed on a wait list.
Course schedules and interests may change, but it is important that you have a plan that will fulfill the requirements of the major. Note that if you intend to pursue honors in economics, you still need to declare a standard major, since participation in honors is not automatic.**Please refer to the registrar's website for information on how to declare a major.**