Economics: the Major of Choice

For a wide choice of career possibilities, a flexible curriculum, comparatively high salaries, and promising grad school opportunities, more and more students are choosing economics as a major.

Career Potential. Probably more than any other major, economics allows the student great choice of future career opportunities. The reason for such flexibility is that economics teaches analytical skills that are useful in any kind of job that involves decision making. Thus, it is usually regarded as the preferred undergraduate major for business, banking and finance, law, government, and economics teaching and research. In addition, economics is a desirable major, double-major, or minor for those interested in journalism, political science, sociology or other social sciences, or mathematics.

A bachelor's degree in economics is excellent preparation for many entry-level positions as researchers and administrative or management trainee. In addition, the skills that economics students bring to the labor market will help them find jobs as financial managers and financial analysts in management consulting firms, actuaries, securities and financial service sales workers, credit analysts, loan officers, and budget officers. Economics majors can also find jobs as financial planners, stockbrokers, urban planners, and in of investment banking. Economics careers in government include those with the Federal Reserve System, the Department of Commerce, and state and local administration. Students interested in world issues can find jobs with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and United Nations agencies.

According to the 1998-99 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of economists is expected to grow about as fast as most occupations through the year 2006. It goes on to state, "Opportunities for economists should be best in private industry, especially in research, testing, and consulting firms, as more companies contract out for economic research...Competition, the growing complexity of the global economy, and increased reliance on quantitative methods for analyzing the current value of future funds, business trends, sales, and purchasing should spur demand for economists. The growing need for economic analyses in virtually every industry should result in additional jobs for economists." Jobs for persons with a background in economics will be created to satisfy the continued need for economic analyses by lawyers, accountants, engineers, health service administrators, urban and regional planners, environmental scientists, among others.

Salaries. Individuals earning economics degrees belong to one of the highest paid professions. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, entry-level salaries averaging over $34,000, a jump of 8.6 percent since 1997. This exceeds those in the other Social Sciences, Business Administration, Advertising, Marketing, and Management. Economists also do well over their working lives: according to a survey by the National Association of Business Economists, more than half of all economists earned more than $75,800. According to this survey, more than half of economists with a B.A. or B.S. earned a base salary above $62,320; more than half of those with a Master's degree earned a base salary of over $68,000; while more than half of those with a Ph.D. earned a median base salary exceeding $88,200.

Graduate School. An undergraduate economics major is also an excellent preparation for a number of graduate school programs.

M.B.A. Part of reason for the value of an economics major as preparation for an M.B.A. is certainly due to the fact that at the top business schools (e.g., MIT, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Northwestern, California) economics usually forms the core of the MBA curriculum, and much of the faculty (often most) consists of economists.
Law. Students who study economics are at an advantage over students of other disciplines when applying to law school since the economic reasoning is appearing frequently in the major law reviews, economic arguments and perspectives are often developed in the first-year law courses, and each of the major law schools has at least one economics Ph.D. on the faculty. In addition, an undergraduate economics degree combined with a law degree may lead to many lucrative and rewarding opportunities because of the overlapping legal and economic questions, and many law schools offer joint degrees in law and economics for which an undergraduate degree in economics is clearly the best preparation.
Economics. Obviously, undergraduate studies in economics form the best foundation for a graduate degree in economics. One of the purposes of the LMU Economics Department's B.S. degree is to help students prepare for such programs.
Public Administration, Public Health, Urban Studies, and other fields. Students pursuing graduate degrees in many other fields, such as public administration, public health, and urban studies, find that economics is their best choice for an undergraduate degree major given the extensive economic content of these programs.

Flexible Curriculum. The economics major allows the student a great deal of flexibility in choosing courses and offers the choice of two degrees, the B.A. and B.S. degrees. The Economics Department also offers a special plan for students majoring in both business and economics, and for those students who would like to minor in economics.

Whom do I Contact? If you would like more information about a major, double-major or minor in economics, feel free to contact the one or more of the following economics professors:

Dr. Gabriel A. Fuentes,

Huesman 54


Dr. James Konow,

Huesman 50


Dr. James Devine,

Huesman 53


Dr. Mike Zekavat,

Huesman 57


 Course Offerings Next Semester -- Fall 1999

Economic Literacy

Econ. 100


Money and Banking

Econ 322

Introductory Micro Econ.

Econ 110


Business Forecasting

Econ 334

Introductory Macro Econ.

Econ 120


Managerial Economics

Econ 362

Introductory Statistics

Econ 230


World Economy

Econ 470

Intermediate Microeconomics

Econ 310


Mathematical Economics

Econ 530

[Back to Professors Listing][Back to Economics Home] [Top of Page]

 Last modified: 12/2/1998. Created by: James Devine -