Economics at CMU
Our diversity of course offerings and majors reflect the broad range of topics in the discipline and wide range of interests of the faculty. Students can earn an economics major on three degree programs: the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.).
All economics students gain a set of quantitative and analytical skills that will serve them well in their careers and personal lives. Economics seeks to measure and predict human behavior, so it is the most quantitative of the social sciences. Each major must acquire a proficiency in mathematics and statistics to be adequately prepared for the analytical work required in the discipline: problem-solving and decision-making. Every student will be challenged to identify problems, create alternative solutions and decide which option will best serve the goals of the decision-maker. Since an economics student acquires general training in decision-making skills, there are a wide variety of employment opportunities upon graduation and beyond. These general skills allow graduates to successfully compete in a constantly changing labor market during this information age.
Students with a liberal arts perspective may be attracted to economics because it is a major that is flexible in terms of topics and employment options. Some courses concentrate on decision-making within the firm and the impact of those decisions on the firm's performance. Other courses take a broader social perspective. These may address the decision-making process in governmental organizations, the role of governments in society, or the impacts of government policies on individual citizens and private business. Economics also has much to add to public debates on social issues such as the role of women in the economy or pollution control.
Economics majors earning a degree in Business Administration would complete the same core requirements as other majors in the college. These requirements are designed to provide a specific set of technical and personal skills used in business and to provide an appreciation of the wider social environment in which businesses operate. Economics majors have a more restricted set of elective courses in this degree program. These courses provide technical skills (e.g., statistical methods and forecasting), greater depth in broader business issues (e.g., environmental policies and international institutions), or narrower applications of economics to business topics (e.g., government regulation and management decision-making).
Why Study Economics?
Economics is the study of how societies satisfy their many material wants and needs. An understanding of economic topics such as supply and demand, consumption of goods and services, inflation and recession, is important to individuals and groups of people who are responsible for making decisions about resources. For example, individuals are concerned with maximizing the purchasing power of their income; businesses strive to efficiently use raw materials and labor in order to remain competitive in the global marketplace; governments want to know how political decisions will affect the economic actions of its residents. The study of economics is an excellent foundation for further study and/or a career in law, business, international affairs, public administration or education.