BA in Economics

The major in Economics provides students with a firm understanding of core microeconomic and macroeconomic theory while at the same time providing the empirical skills that are essential to applying economic reasoning in our increasingly data-driven world. In addition to rigorous training in both theory and econometrics, students have room in their program to choose electives in economics fitting their likely targets of interest, ranging from financial economics to labor market analysis to development economics, and many more.

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.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major (or minor) as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Economics 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.

Major in Economics:


  • CAS EC 101 Introductory Microeconomic Analysis (4 units)
  • CAS EC 102 Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis (4 units)

Principal Courses

Minimum requirement:

  • Nine courses with grades of C or higher, four of which must be:
      • CAS EC 201 Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis (4 units)
      • CAS EC 202 Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis (4 units)
      • CAS EC 203 Empirical Economics 1* (4 units)
      • CAS EC 204 Empirical Economics 2 (4 units)

CAS EC 201, EC 202, EC 203, and EC 204 should be taken before the senior year. Students with a strong background in mathematics may substitute any of the courses in the sequence CAS EC 221/222/223/224 for the corresponding CAS EC 201/202/203/204 courses. Students must fulfill the calculus requirement for the major, as described below, prior to enrolling in CAS EC 201 or CAS EC 202.

*QST QM 221 Probabilistic and Statistical Decision Making for Management, or CAS MA 115, or CAS MA 213 are acceptable substitutes for CAS EC 203.

  • The remaining five 4-unit principal courses are to be chosen from CAS EC 320 through EC 599


  • All 500-level and above economics courses are graduate-level courses. Special permission from the instructor is required for undergraduates wishing to take these courses.
  • Petitions for approval of transfer courses must be submitted to your Economics Academic Advisor. Students must submit a Transfer Course Equivalency Form along with a copy of the course syllabus.
  • A maximum of four courses at the 200 level or higher (i.e., this does not include transfer courses to fulfill CAS EC 101 and/or CAS EC 102) may be transferred toward your economics major from other schools after matriculation to Boston University.

Required Calculus Course

Students choosing economics as their major are required to demonstrate a proficiency in calculus by completing any of the following with a grade of C or higher: CAS MA 121, 122, 123, 124, 127, or 129 or by achieving at least a 4 on the appropriate calculus Advanced Placement examinations.

Honors in the Major

Students may earn the distinction of departmental Honors in the Major by achieving a 3.7 or greater GPA in their economics courses (including required mathematics and statistics classes) and successfully completing the two-term 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 the 200-level core classes (CAS EC 201/202/203/204 or CAS EC 221/222/223/224) 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 term of their junior year, and if approved will be directly registered in EC 401 by the Department of Economics staff.