Choosing a major can dramatically affect your college experience and future career. Economics and Business Administration are two majors that may appear similar because they both focus on companies and goods. However, while they do overlap, students in these fields focus on different areas of study.

Business Administration Overview

Business administration is the study of how businesses function, and gives a broad introduction to the various areas of a business. These areas include marketing, finance, accounting, human resources and business development. A bachelor’s degree in business administration is a special degree shortened to BBA. While business administration incorporates many economic ideas, a business administration degree tailors itself more narrowly than economics by focusing on how individual businesses run.

Economics Overview

Economics studies the production and consumption of goods in society. It is a social science like anthropology or sociology. Economists may study how individuals in aggregate make decisions in a greater economy, called microeconomics, or how the economy works as a whole, called macroeconomics. While economics involves business, economists do not study how an individual business runs or could improve. Economics focuses on the broader implications of what many individual businesses choose to do.

Business Administration Degree

Business schools typically set up their BBA programs as a structured introduction to many areas of business, so students receive exposure to all these areas. Students may take courses in basic economics or math, although neither is a focus of the degree. If a student has a particular interest, she can typically concentrate in that area, taking specialized courses. Schools typically offer these concentrations in most of the basic business sectors. Anyone studying these subjects earns the same degree, so rather than earn a degree in marketing, you typically earn a degree in business administration with a focus in marketing. Business administration majors often land careers operating small businesses or managing large corporations. Some go on to graduate school to pursue a master's in business administration.

Economics Degree

Colleges may offer two economics degrees, a bachelor's of arts and a bachelor's of science. The B.A. degree is generally more of a theoretical survey of economics, focusing on the history and ideas behind economic practices. A B.S. degree focuses more on the skills needed to do economic research and typically requires advanced-level math such as calculus. Master’s programs in economics will typically require calculus or other high-level math classes as a requirement for admission. Both a B.A. and a B.S. will take classes like Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, Econometrics and History of Economic Thought. An economics degree is versatile; majors can find jobs in the public and private sector as policy analysts, researchers, economic forecasters and urban planners, for instance. Those seeking advanced study typically complete master's and doctorates in economics.

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