The BA Program

The Bachelor of Arts degree program at Boston University requires 32 four-credit courses, which, with a normal load of four courses per semester, typically demands four academic years of study. Information on the College of Arts and Sciences requirements for the BA may be found in the Boston University Undergraduate Programs Bulletin. Some graduate courses are open to undergraduates with the proper prerequisites, the written consent of the instructor, and guidance from the undergraduate advisor.

Economics major Introductory sequence is comprised of two courses, EC 101 Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and EC 102 Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis. These are large lecture course (225-280 students) meeting for three hours per week with a faculty member, plus a one-hour weekly discussion section, which is led by a teaching assistant.

Students should take EC 101 and 102 as soon as possible, since these courses are prerequisites for all other required courses.


Minimum requirement:

  • nine courses with grades of C or higher, three of which must be Economic Statistics (CAS EC 203 or EC 305), Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis (CAS EC 201), and Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis (CAS EC 202).
  • EC 201 and 202 should be taken before the senior year.
  • SMG SM 221 Statistical and Economic Decision Making I is accepted as a substitute for EC 203 or EC 305, as is Applied Statistics (MA 214).
  • Basic Statistics and Probability (MA 213) is a prerequisite for MA 214.
  • The remaining six core courses must be chosen from EC 204 to EC 595. NOTE: Courses listed 500-595 are Masters level courses.


Students who choose economics as their concentration are required to demonstrate a proficiency in calculus by passing with a grade of C or higher in any one of the following: MA 121, 122, 123, 124, 127, or 129, or by achieving the equivalent through Advanced Placement examinations.


Please click here for detailed instructions for applying for transfer credit.


Economics majors may choose a minor in another field of concentration. Minor concentrations are supervised by the departments offering the minor.


Economics majors who undertake the minor in Business Administration will take the following courses in the School of Management: AC 221, AC 222, SM 221, SM 299, and OB 221. Students must take SMG SM 299 as their first course in the business administration minor. The School of Management supervises this minor.


I. Criteria for admission into the Departmental Honors program in Economics is:

  1. A minimum GPA of 3.5 in Economics courses, including required statistics and mathematics courses. Borderline cases may be settled by the DUS with consent of the Chair. Students with a minor in Economics are not eligible for Departmental Honors.
  2. Consent of a faculty advisor in the Economics Department to oversee the thesis.
  3. Submission of an appropriate application during the Spring semester of the junior year.
  4. Completion of EC204 Empirical Economics 2 or EC414 Introduction to Econometrics prior to taking EC401 is highly recommended (completion of one of these courses is required before taking EC402). Certain advisors may decline to accept a thesis student who has not already completed EC204 or EC414.

II. Criteria for graduation with Honors in the Major

Honors work involves the completion of two semesters of research and writing, for eight credits by registering in EC401 and EC402 (completion will fulfill two of the required six economics electives in the major). The final grade for this coursework will be determined by the thesis advisor.

The attainment of honors requires the writing of a high-quality research paper based on a topic chosen by the student (and refined in discussions with an advisor), and its defense in front of the faculty advisor and two other faculty readers (the “defense committee”).

The evaluation of the honors thesis, and determination of whether or not the student will receive honors, will be done by the defense committee. Completion of a thesis does not automatically entitle the student to honors even though credit will still be received for completion of EC401 and EC402.

Admission into the honors program and conduct of honors projects will be overseen by the DUS in coordination with the Chair.

A typical program for an economics major:

  • 9 optional courses in economics or other disciplines
  • 6 divisional studies courses; two courses each in the areas of humanities, natural sciences (one natural science course must have a laboratory component), and mathematics/computer science for those students who entered CAS in or after the fall 1995 semester. Information on which courses fulfill the divisional studies requirement may be found in the Undergraduate Programs Bulletin. Students who entered the College of Arts and Sciences prior to the fall 1995 semester should refer to the Undergraduate Programs Bulletin issued in the year of their entrance to the College, for information on specific divisional studies requirements
  • Freshman Year: EC 101, 102, MA 121, WR 100/150, 4 other courses**
  • Sophomore Year: EC 201, 202, 203 or 305, 5 other courses**
  • Junior/Senior Years: 6 courses from EC 311- 699 10 other courses**

**These 19 other courses generally include: 4 courses in a foreign language (unless waived)


The minimum requirement is ten courses in economics (in addition to EC 101 and EC 102) and seven in mathematics in addition to Calculus I and II (MA 123 and 124), with grades of C or higher, to be distributed as follows:


  • Intermediate Microeconomics (CAS EC 201)
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics (CAS EC 202)
  • Economic Statistics (CAS EC 305 or EC203)
  • Macroeconomic Analysis (CAS EC 502)
  • Microeconomic Analysis (CAS EC 501)
  • Introduction to Econometrics (CAS EC 414 or EC204)
  • and any four others to be taken from CAS EC 311 to EC 699.


  • Introduction to Computer Science (CAS CS 111 or CS 113)
  • Calculus III (CAS MA 225 or MA 231)
  • Optimization Methods in Operations Research (CAS MA 569)
  • Linear Algebra (CAS MA 242 or MA 442)
  • and three other courses, with at least one being above the 400 level, selected from the following list: Differential Equations (CAS MA 226), Basic Statistics and Probability (CAS MA 213), Applied Statistics (CAS MA 214), Data Analysis (CAS MA 416), Stochastic Methods (CAS MA 570), Probability (CAS MA 581), Mathematical Statistics (CAS MA 582), or Introduction to Computer Science II (CAS CS 112). Substitutions may be made with consent of the interdepartmental committee only.


Students concentrating in other fields in the College of Arts and Sciences may minor in economics. Forms for declaring an economics minor are available at 100 Bay State Road, Room 401. Students are required to take Introductory Microeconomic Analysis (EC 101), Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis (EC 102), Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis (EC 202), Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis (EC 201), and three other courses, from EC 203 to EC 699 with grades of C or higher. Students may not count EC203 as one of their three electives in economics if they also take SM221 (or QM221) or MA214.