Concentrations

The Economics Department offers concentrations in Financial Economics, Industrial Organization, International Economics, and Public Policy.

  • Concentrations are optional, but economics majors whose interests are heavily focused on one of the following areas may want to declare a concentration.
  • Courses taken for a concentration are also considered major electives, unless the course is already specifically required for the major (i.e. Intermediate Microeconomics, Econometrics).
  • Students should keep in mind that elective courses applicable to a concentration are not guaranteed to be offered on a consistent basis.
  • Concentrations must be declared in the student’s 7th term at latest.

Students with questions about a concentration should contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

How to Declare a Concentration:

  1. Review your transcript to make sure you have completed all the prerequisites (if any).
  2. Schedule an apointment with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.
  3. The Undergraduate Program Coordinator will provide the required form, which will be filled at the meeting. When this has been finished, you will take the completed paperwork to the College of Arts and Sciences in Monroe 101 (or to your school of enrollment, if it is not Arts and Sciences) where it will be entered into your student record.

Concentration in Financial Economics

Goals

The concentration aims to provide an academic grounding in financial markets and financial decision making – to teach you how economic theory and econometric methods can be combined to analyze economic phenomena in general and in particular the core issues in financial decision-making. The finance concentration is the most technically challenging of the department’s concentrations. It requires a high level of mathematical and econometric knowledge. Students should be very comfortable applying the tools of calculus to applied problems. Students are also expected to be comfortable with computer programming.

Structure

The concentration is composed of two parts. Students first take a core set of economics courses as well as COMM 2010 (financial accounting). These courses provide a broad background in financial economics. These courses have long been offered in the economics department and are taught at a level accessible to all economics majors.

The second part is the preparation for and completion of the capstone course, ECON 4360: Empirical Finance. The pre-requisite for this course is ECON 4720: Econometrics Methods. ECON 4720 is needed because ECON 4360 will rely heavily on econometric tools. Half of ECON 4360 will teach students the theoretical basis of the stochastic discount factor (SDF) methodology for pricing assets. The second part of the class will teach students how to use the General Method of Moments (GMM) econometric framework for estimating and testing the validity of a variety of SDF models.

Who should take the Finance Concentration?

The concentration should be of interest to a variety of students. Those who plan to go on to Ph.D. level work in either economics or finance, or masters level work at quantitative finance MBA programs, will benefit from the advanced financial theory and econometric tools we learn and apply. Those who do not have plans for further post graduate study, but who are intellectually curious about finance, will find their curiosity sated. Students heading for quantitative Wall Street jobs will benefit from studying the formal modeling and econometric methods.

Notes on Coursework

Completing the concentration requires that one plan in advance. Because COMM 2010 is generally taken by pre-Commerce students, first and second year students are given priority in registering for the class. You may find it impossible to register for COMM 2010 if you wait until your third year to take it. ECON 4720 must be completed before starting ECON 4360. While linear algebra is not required for the concentration, concepts of linear algebra appear (and are taught) in ECON 4720 and ECON 4360. Students are required to complete a linear algebra course (MATH 3350 or MATH 3351 or APMA 3080) prior to attempting ECON 4720.

Prerequisites for Declaring the Concentration

Requirements for Completing the Concentration

In addition to meeting the ordinary requirements for the major, students must:

  1. Complete ECON 3030 (Money and Banking)

  2. Complete ONE of the following:

    • ECON 4340 (Theory of Financial Markets)

    • ECON 4350 (Corporate Finance)

    • ECON 4365 (Global Financial Markets)

    • ECON 4370 (Behavioral Finance)

    • ECON 4380 (Investment Management)

    • COMM 3720 (Corporate Finance—McIntire School of Commerce – Commerce and Economics Double Majors Only) 

  3. Complete ECON 4360 (Empirical Finance)- This course cannot be taken without having met the above prerequisites for declaring the concentration.
  4. Complete COMM 2010 (Financial Accounting—McIntire School of Commerce) COMM 2010 does not count as an economics elective. Economics elective courses such as ECON 3030, ECON 4340, etc., taken to meet finance concentration requirements can be counted as electives towards meeting major requirements.

For more information on the concentration in Financial economics, contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Concentration in Industrial Organization

The industrial organization concentration has as its focus the exercise of market power by firms and the strategic interaction between firms. Courses in the concentration use theoretical and empirical analysis to explore a wide variety of issues related to the functioning of markets and related public policies. In combination with the major requirements, the concentration prepares students for careers in business, law, and consulting.

To complete the concentration, students must meet the ordinary requirements for the major, and complete:

For more information on the concentration in Industrial Organization, contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Concentration in International Economics

The international economics concentration is designed for ambitious majors with a keen interest in global economic policy. The core course requirements, ECON 4210 and ECON 4220, develop basic literacy in empirical techniques and international economic theory in international trade and macroeconomics. The remaining course electives allow students to specialize further in economic development (ECON 4230, 4610) or area studies (ECON 3630, 4410). Many students combine the international concentration with a study abroad program or with the Foreign Affairs major. Recent graduates have gone on to work for international governmental and non-governmental organizations, master’s degree programs in international studies or public policy, law school, and business school.

To complete the concentration, students must meet the ordinary requirements for the major and complete:

For more information on the concentration in International economics, contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Concentration in Public Policy

Economics is highly relevant for public policy as well as private business decisions. Among the topics of interest in microeconomics are the wide range of effects of specific taxes, expenditure programs, and regulations. The courses in the public policy concentration apply general theoretical models for explaining how individuals and organizations respond to changes in their circumstances to predict the qualitative effects of existing and proposed government programs, and they introduce empirical evidence on the quantitative magnitudes of these effects. The concentration also develops the abilities of its students to critically evaluate arguments for particular government actions. It provides majors with the type of training that will enable them to compete successfully for the best junior analyst positions in governments, public policy research firms, and other organizations and for admission into the leading graduate programs in public policy. It should also appeal to students with a strong interest in public policy who intend to pursue careers in related areas such as law.

To declare a concentration in public policy before his or her last year at the University, an economics major must have completed

To declare the concentration in the second-to-last semester at the University, a major who has satisfied the microeconomics requirement must have completed, or be enrolled in, ECON 4310.

To graduate with the concentration, a major must meet the ordinary requirements for the major and complete

Due to limits on the number of papers that the faculty involved can reasonably supervise in ECON 4880, it is sometimes necessary to limit enrollment in this course and hence the concentration.

For more information on the concentration in Public Policy, contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only.  The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at either www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/ugrad.html or www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/grad.html.

Department of Economics

University of Virginia
248 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
Phone: 434-924-3177
Fax: 434-982-2904