Economics is study of how people and organizations make decisions when resources are limited. Students who take courses in economics may go on to pursue careers in public policy, law, finance, business and international relations. The basic undergraduate courses in economics include introductory and intermediate classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics and mathematical economics.
Principles of Microeconomics is an introductory undergraduate course in economics and is a prerequisite for all other courses in the field. Microeconomics is the study of behaviors and decision-making in smaller economies. It covers topics of supply and demand analysis, theories of firm and individual behavior, resource allocation, distribution and pricing. Intermediate Microeconomics deals with the theory of consumer behavior and covers topics like partial equilibrium, general equilibrium, unemployment, inflation, interest rates and aggregate economic variables.
Principles of Macroeconomics is another basic undergraduate course and is also a prerequisite for all other undergraduate courses in economics. Macroeconomics is the study of the behaviors and decision-making in larger economies and it covers topics like growth, inflation, interest rates, money supply, levels of output and employment, national accounting and the international monetary system. Intermediate Macroeconomics covers topics such as Gross Domestic Product, unemployment, interest rates, the neoclassical growth model, overlapping generations, the cycles, complete financial markets and fiscal and monetary policy.
The purpose of undergraduate courses in economics is to teach students how to analyze and interpret complex qualitative and quantitative data. Courses like Mathematical Economics or Mathematical Methods in Economics are important because they give students the mathematical tools necessary to perform these analyses. In particular, mathematical economics courses introduce students to the mathematical methods used in analyzing economic theory and economic models.
More advanced undergraduate courses vary according to the type of economics you want to study, such as environmental economics, international economics, finance economics or history of economics. Instead of offering a certain number of courses, some universities, like American University, offer students a choice of tracks. Pursuing the general track, they take courses in economic development, trade and finance, while pursuing the international track, they take courses in comparative economic systems, international business and international economic policies.
Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.