What is Economics?
Economics is the study of how people make choices and how markets work. Economics provides models and empirical methods for studying the behavior of individuals, families, businesses, organizations and the role of government in all facets of life.
Many people don’t realize the breadth of the economics discipline and its role in increasing productivity in the private sector, improving public policies in areas like health, education, environment and global development, and promoting individual well-being.
Why study Economics at the University of Virginia?
The Department of Economics at the UVa is proud of its tradition of excellent teaching and frontier research. As an undergraduate, you will have the opportunity to take classes from leading researchers and policy professionals in an intellectually vibrant academic environment.
All economics majors at UVa complete a foundational sequence of courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. With this common “toolkit”, students choose from a broad selection of electives including courses on international trade, financial markets, development economics, industrial organization, the economics of education, health economics, antitrust policy, environment economics, law and economics, and many other options. Not only do economics majors build a strong theoretical and empirical toolkit, but success in the major also requires students to develop good communication skills.
Economics majors also have the opportunity to pursue focused study in particular areas with concentrations in Financial Economics, Public Policy, Industrial Organization, and International Economics. In addition, the competitive Distinguished Majors Program allows students to write a thesis and complete an independent research project.
Beyond coursework, students in economics have the opportunity to participate in seminars and lectures led by leading economists and policy makers from around the world.
What do students from the Department of Economics do after graduation?
The range of career options with an economics major is endless – you can advise the President, run a hedgefund, start your own business, design policies to help reduce poverty and pollution, join a consulting firm, improve teaching and education, and much more!
UVa students with degrees in economics are in high demand in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Economics majors from the University of Virginia include top executives at Fortune 500 companies, leaders of major public policy institutions, founders of successful start-ups, social entrepreneurs, and professors at leading research universities.
Recent graduates have entered a broad range of fields and occupations in the private sector, governments, non-profits, international organizations, and think tanks.
Many students with a major in economics from UVa pursue advanced degrees in business, law, economics, public policy, medicine, and other fields at top-ranked graduate schools often after working for several years.
The Economics Career Office in the Department provides specialized guidance to identify opportunities for internships, jobs, and graduate school for students majoring in economics.
Is Economics the right major for me?
As a UVa student, you can choose among many curricular options in the College and in professional schools like McIntire, Batten and Curry.
Successful students in the Department of Economics thrive on challenges and the application of theoretical models and empirical methods to understand how people make choices, how markets work, and how policies impact outcomes for individuals and firms.
Economics is not for everyone. Prerequisites for the major are rigorous, including the successful completion of multivariate calculus, and a statistics course.
We encourage you to study economics because you enjoy the subject matter. We expect that you will work hard and will be challenged to solve tough problems!
Where can I find more information about the major?
If you have questions about the requirements for declaring the major (or minor), how to complete the process of declaration, how to satisfy the requirements of the major, transfer credits, or need the Department’s signature for a form, please contact:
Mr. Christopher Swenson
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Economics majors should not hesitate to contact their faculty advisors for questions about course selection, potential graduate study, and more general questions about the discipline of economics.
We encourage declared economics majors to seek guidance for career planning, internships, and resume preparation from the Economics Career Office.
Each term, the Department of Economics hosts a number of seminars, speakers and informal events with distinguished faculty from UVa and other universities, policy leaders, and alumni from different industries. We encourage you to check the website or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to stay informed.
We encourage you to invest in understanding what economics is all about and to understand whether economics is a good fit with your interests and skills before you declare the major.