BA in Economics & Mathematics

Mathematics and statistics are key tools in many aspects of economics. The joint major in Economics & Mathematics aims to provide foundational skills in both subjects while focusing course selection on both subjects’ common goals. The major is appropriate for economics students with interest in the mathematical techniques and for mathematics students interested in applications in economics. The major provides credentials in both subjects, leaving room for elective credits for students with other interests.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand economic theory, both microeconomic and macroeconomic, and be able to apply these models to evaluate policies and real-world events.
  • Demonstrate focused expertise in one or more areas of economics. Locate the necessary data to analyze and evaluate world events, and analyze data using appropriate econometric methods.
  • In addition, goals which reside more strongly with the mathematics department’s contributions to the major include demonstration of a mastery of ideas and techniques of calculus and linear algebra and an ability to identify and apply these ideas to economics and other fields, plus a demonstration of focused expertise in one or more areas of mathematics.

Requirements

All first-year, first-time students will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Economics & Mathematics will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning, and some of the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

The joint major requires 4 prerequisites plus 16 principal courses, as outlined below.

Prerequisites

  • CAS MA 123 and 124 Calculus I & II (4 cr each), or 129, or equivalent
  • CAS EC 101 Introductory Microeconomic Analysis (4 cr) and EC 102 Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis (4 cr)

Principal Courses

A minimum of nine additional economics courses and a minimum of seven additional mathematics courses, all completed with a grade of C or higher and distributed as follows:

Economics

  • CAS EC 201 Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis (4 cr)
  • CAS EC 202 Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis (4 cr)
  • CAS EC 303 Empirical Economic Analysis 1 (4 cr), or MA 213 Basic Statistics and Probability (4 cr)
  • CAS EC 304 Empirical Economic Analysis 2 (4 cr)
  • CAS EC 501 Microeconomic Theory (4 cr)
  • CAS EC 502 Macroeconomic Theory (4 cr)
  • Electives: three other 4-credit courses selected from CAS EC 320 through EC 599

Mathematics (and Computer Science)

  • CAS CS 111 Introduction to Computer Science 1 (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 225 Multivariate Calculus (4 cr) or MA 230 Honors-Level Vector Calculus (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 242 Linear Algebra (4 cr) or MA 442 Honors-Level Linear Algebra (4 cr)
  • CAS MA 569 Optimization Methods of Operations Research (4 cr)
  • Electives: three other 4-credit courses selected from CAS MA 226 or 231, MA 415, MA 416, MA 433, MA 511, MA 512, MA 581, MA 582, MA 583, MA 584, MA 585, CAS CS 112

Honors in the Major

Students may earn the distinction of departmental Honors in the Major by achieving a 3.5 or greater GPA in their economics courses (including required mathematics and statistics classes) and successfully completing the two-semester honors thesis classes CAS EC 401 and EC 402 (students may count these classes as fulfilling two of the required five electives in the major). The CAS EC 401/402 sequence culminates in a thesis (written under the supervision of an economics department faculty member) and oral defense of the thesis before a committee of three faculty in April. Students must complete CAS EC 204 or EC 304 before enrolling in CAS EC 401. Qualified students who are interested in writing a thesis should contact Professor Todd Idson, director of undergraduate studies in the economics department, no later than the second semester of their junior year, and if approved will be directly registered in CAS EC 401 by the Department of Economics staff.