Contact Us
Department of Economics
Bryn Mawr College
Dalton Hall 114
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
610-526-5030/-5331
Fax: 610-526-5655
economics@brynmawr.edu

FAQs for Students

 

Should I major in economics to prepare for a career in business?

I took Econ 105.  Can I take another introductory economics course elsewhere for credit now?

What kind of math skills do I need to major in economics?

Which statistical methods courses should I take?

I’ve declared an economics major and completed a major work plan.  Do I need to see my advisor?

Does it matter whether I take courses at Bryn Mawr or Haverford?

Can I take courses at Swarthmore?

Should I major in economics to prepare for a career in business ?

Economics is a social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources as a way to understand many types of human interaction. Training in economics is not the same thing as training in business.  Professional training in business involves learning specialized techniques and skills in order to pursue the specific goals of businesses.  Our economics courses do not focus on these specialized business skills and techniques.  Students who major in economics because they believe that it is the subject “closest to business” may be unhappy in their economics courses.  We advise students to acquire broad exposure to the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and to major in the subject that most engages them.

I took Econ 105.  Can I take another introductory economics course elsewhere for credit now?

No.  Once a student has taken Econ 105 she cannot take another introductory course at another college or university for econ major/minor credit (e.g. Introduction to Microeconomics or Introduction to Macroeconomics).

What kind of math skills do I need to major in economics?

Economics is the most quantitative social science and a solid knowledge of math is essential for understanding economic theory.  At least one semester of calculus (Math 101) is a prerequisite for Econ B200, B202, and B304. Two semesters of calculus (Math 101-102) are a prerequisite for Econ H300 and Econ H302.

Graduate training in economics requires more mathematical sophistication than undergraduate economics.  Students interested in pursuing graduate studies in economics will need to master more advanced mathematics.  Math courses that are particularly appropriate for Ph.D. study in economics include Math 101 and 102, Calculus with Analytical Geometry; Math 201, Multivariable Calculus, Math 203, Linear Algebra; Math 205, Theory of Probability and Applications; Math 210, Differential Equations with Applications; and Math 301 and 302, Introduction to Real Analysis.

Which statistical methods courses should I take?

Economists rely on multivariate regression analysis and probability theory as the primary tools for testing hypotheses and evaluating decisions under uncertainty.  The Department does not credit toward the major introductory statistics courses from other fields, because economists rely on specialized econometric techniques (such as the regression model) in empirical work.

Most of our 300-level electives assume that you have been exposed to the regression model, which is covered at some length in Econ 253 (Introduction to Econometrics), but not Econ 203 or 204 (Statistical Methods) at Haverford.    Therefore, you should take Econ 253 unless you are confident you will be able to complete Econ 304 before taking one of those other 300-level economics electives.

Econ 253, 203 or 204 each provide an acceptable prerequisite for Econ 304.   Econ 204 has Calc II as a prerequisite.   Econ 253 has both Econ 105 and a 200-level elective as a prerequisite.

Students contemplating pursuing graduate training in economics or considering a minor or double major in Mathematics should plan on including Econ 304 in their major plan.

I’ve declared an economics major and completed a major work plan.  Do I need to see my advisor?

Absolutely!  Students are ultimately responsible for meeting the requirements for the major.  However all econ majors are expected to confer with their major advisor each semester about their plans for the coming semester and completing the major.  Once you’re officially a major, your economics advisor will be determined by class year. Major advisors will advise each class through graduation.

Major advisors:

Class of 2014: Janet Ceglowski

Class of 2015: Michael Rock

Class of 2016: David Ross

Study Abroad & Transfer Credits: David Ross

Does it matter whether I take courses at Bryn Mawr or Haverford?

Most courses offered by the Haverford economics department may be counted toward the Bryn Mawr economics minor and major. Similarly most Bryn Mawr economics courses may be counted toward the Haverford economics major. The two economics departments plan their course schedules jointly so that the maximum variety of economics courses can be offered across the two campuses.

Econ 105 or Econ H106 are prerequisites for virtually all other economics courses.

Econ B200 and H300 each fulfill the Intermediate Microeconomics requirement for the major or Bryn Mawr minor.    Econ  B200 has a Calc I prerequisite; H300 has Calc II.

Econ B202 and H302 each fulfill the Intermediate Macroeconomics requirement for the major or Bryn Mawr minor.

Econ 253 has at least one 200-level elective as a prerequisite; Econ H203/H204 does not.

Econ 203, 204 or 253 may serve as a prerequisite for Econ 304.

The senior research seminars at Bryn Mawr (and many 300-electives) have either Econ B253 or Econ 304 as prerequisites.

The Econ B39x and H396 research seminars are open only to Bryn Mawr and Haverford economics majors respectively.  The desire to write one’s senior research paper in a specific subfield of economics and to work with a specific faculty advisor is an important consideration in choosing whether to major at Bryn Mawr or Haverford.

Can I take courses at Swarthmore?

In most cases, yes.  Two important exceptions are Swarthmore’s intermediate microeconomics course (Econ SW011) and financial accounting course (Econ SW033).  Neither of these two courses can be used to satisfy major or minor requirements at Bryn Mawr.  When in doubt, ask your major advisor!