BA in Economics
The Bachelor of Arts in Economics requires 32 4-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 & 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.
The Economics major introductory sequence is comprised of 2 courses, EC 101 Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and EC 102 Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis. These large lecture courses (225–280 students) meet for 3 hours per week with a faculty member, plus a 1-hour weekly discussion section, which is led by a teaching assistant.
Students should take EC 101 and 102 as soon as possible, as these courses are prerequisites for all other required courses.
The rest of this page describes the requirements for the major. Additional information that is helpful in planning your courses appears here:
Undergraduate Student Resources
- Demonstrate proficiency in calculus by earning 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.
- Nine courses with grades of C or higher, four of which must be:
- Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis (CAS EC 201)
- Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis (CAS EC 202)
- Empirical Economics 1* (CAS EC 203)
- Empirical Economics 2 (CAS EC 204)
These four courses should be taken before the senior year. Students with strong skills in mathematics may substitute the sequence CAS EC 303/304 for the required sequence CAS EC 203/204.
*QST QM 221 Probabilistic and Statistical Decision Making for Management, CAS MA 115 , or CAS MA 213 are acceptable substitutes for CAS EC 203.
- The remaining 5 core courses must be chosen from EC 320 to EC 599. Note: Courses listed 500–599 are master’s-level courses, which requires the instructor’s permission for undergraduates to enroll
BA in Economics & Mathematics
The Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Mathematics requires a minimum of 9 economics courses (in addition to EC 101 and EC 102) and 7 in mathematics (in addition to MA 123 and 124), with grades of C or higher, to be distributed as follows:
- CAS MA 123 and 124 Calculus I & II, or 127, or 129, or equivalent
- CAS EC 101 Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and EC 102 Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis
- CAS EC 201 Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis
- CAS EC 202 Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis
- CAS EC 303 Empirical Economic Analysis 1 or MA 213 Basic Statistics and Probability
- CAS EC 304 Empirical Economic Analysis 2
- CAS EC 501 Microeconomic Theory
- CAS EC 502 Macroeconomic Theory
- Electives: three other 4-credit courses from CAS EC 320 to EC 599
Mathematics (and Computer Science)
- CAS CS 111 Introduction to Computer Science
- CAS MA 225 Multivariate Calculus or MA 230 Honors-Level Vector Calculus
- CAS MA 242 Linear Algebra or MA 442 Honors-Level Linear Algebra
- CAS MA 569 Optimization Methods in Operations Research
- Electives: three other 4-credit courses, with at least one being above the 400 level, selected from the following list: CAS MA 226 (Differential Equations) or MA 231 (Honors-Level Differential Equations), MA 415 (Data Science in R), MA 416 (Analysis of Variance), MA 511 (Introduction to Analysis I), MA 512 (Introduction to Analysis II), MA 581 (Probability), MA 582 (Mathematical Statistics), MA 583 (Introduction to Stochastic Processes), MA 584, MA 585 (Time Series and Forecasting), and CS 112 (Introduction to Computer Science II).
Departmental Honors Program
For admission to the Departmental Honors Program in Economics, the following criteria must be met:
- 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.
- Consent of a faculty advisor in the Economics Department to oversee the thesis.
- Submission of an appropriate application during the spring semester of the junior year.
- Completion of EC 204 or EC 304 prior to taking EC 401 is highly recommended (completion of one of these courses is required before taking EC 402). Certain advisors may decline to accept a thesis student who has not already completed EC 204 or EC 304.
Qualified students interested in earning honors distinction should contact the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, professor Todd Idson, no later than the second semester of their junior year. Refer to the application for more details.
To graduate with honors in the major, the following criteria must be met:
- Honors work involves the completion of 2 semesters of research and writing, for 8 credits, by registering in EC 401 and EC 402 (completion will fulfill two of the required five 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 EC 401 and EC 402.
- Admission into the honors program and conduct of honors projects will be overseen by the DUS in coordination with the chair.
The following is 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 & 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, 203/303, 204/304, 4 other courses**
- Junior/senior years: 6 courses from EC 320 to 599, 10 other courses**
**These 19 other courses generally include 4 courses in a foreign language (unless waived)