Economics

UMSL Department of Economics - FAQ on the UMSL Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Economics

 

I am interested in economics. What are my options at University of Missouri - St. Louis?
You could major in economics earning either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree; or you could minor in economics.


What are the requirements of a minor in economics?
A minor requires 18 hours in economics with at least 12 hours or above the 2000 level. The following courses are required:
Principles of Microeconomics (Econ 1001)
Principles of Macroeconomics (Econ 1002)
Intermediate Economic Theory: Microeconomics (Econ 3001)

What are the degree requirements for a major?
The BA degree requires at least 33 credit hours, 27 of which must be 2000 level or above in economics. All required courses for the major must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

The BS degree requires 36 credit hours, 30 which must be 2000 level or above in economics. All required courses for the major must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

I have decided to major in economics. How do I know whether the BS or the BA is right for me?
The BS is a more technical degree requiring more quantitative courses, including calculus and econometrics; the BA is more "liberal arts" in its focus and requires meeting the BA foreign language requirement of the College of Arts and Sciences.

If you feel comfortable using math, the BS is likely the better degree for you. The BS also offers the option of the Dual BS/MA program for very strong students.

What do I need to do to formally become a major?
Complete the Declaration of Major form in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office (located in 303 Lucas Hall).

How much math will I need if I want to study economics?
College Algebra (Math 1030) is a prerequisite for most of the economics courses you will take for either a minor or a major.

For the BA, in addition to College Algebra you are required to take Economic Statistics (Econ 3100). Although it is not required, the department recommends that BA students also take at least 1 calculus course -- either Basic Calculus (Math 1100) or Calculus (Math 1800).

For the BS, in addition to College Algebra you are required to take Economic Statistics (Econ 3100), Econometrics (Econ 4100) and 1 calculus course. The department highly recommends Calculus (Math 1800) instead of Basic Calculus (Math 1100).

Can I take foreign language courses with a BS? Can I take econometrics with a BA?
Yes. While BA students typically do not take econometrics you are not precluded from doing so. Likewise, most BS students do not study a foreign language, but it is an option to you.

Is there a "preferred" course sequence?
Not really, there is considerable flexibility in the undergraduate program. You should see your advisor (Professor Greene or Professor Allison) early. An early plan will help make sure that you "diversify your portfolio" in a given semeseter and make sure you are alert to the timing of courses.

As an example, a program might look something like the following for a BS student:

Fall, Sophomore Winter, Sophomore
Econ 1001 Econ 1002
Math 1800 Econ 3100
Fall, Junior Winter, Junior
Econ 3001 Econ 3002
Econ 3200 Econ 4100
Econ Elective
Fall, Senior Winter, Senior
Econ Quantitative Elective Econ Quantitative Elective
Econ Elective Econ Elective

A program might look something like the following for a BA student:

Fall, Sophomore Winter, Sophomore
Econ 1001 Econ 1002
Math 1100 Econ 3100
Fall, Junior Winter, Junior
Econ 3001 Econ 3002
Econ 3200 Econ 3800
Fall, Senior Winter, Senior
Econ Elective Econ Elective
Econ Elective Econ Elective

What can I do with a BS or BA in economics?
Many graduates work in the private sector or for the government. Some continue their economics education and pursue a graduate degree in economics (an MA or PhD) or in other fields (business, law, etc.). Undergraduate training in economics is particularly useful for students interested in a career in law.

Where are recent undergraduates from UMSL working?
Those who enter the job market with a degree in economics from our department frequently enjoy multiple offers. Recent placements include the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Wells Fargo, Caterpillar, MasterCard, Ameren UE, Discover Financial, and Grainger to name a few. For more on what our alumni are doing, see our most recent alumni newsletter(s).

Where do UMSL undergraduates continue their education?
Some undergraduates continue on at UMSL for an MA, while others have gone on to law school at institutions including SLU, University of Missouri-Columbia, Boston University, Vanderbilt and Stanford and to MBA programs at UMSL, SLU, University of Illinois, Washington University, Duke, and Stanford. For those undergraduates interested in a PhD in economics, we strongly recommend pursuing the MA.

Do I need advising?
Yes, it is in your best interests to regularly meet with a faculty member in deciding your course schedule. This will allow you to make informed decisions about the "mix" of courses to take and will minimize scheduling issues later in your program.

Where do I get advising?
The official undergraduate advisors are Professors Sorensen and Allison, but you are free to choose and economics professor you wish for your advisor.

When should I get advising?
The earlier in your program the better; you should definitely meet with either Professor Sorensen or Professor Allison by the end of your sophomore year.

How do I know when courses are (will be) available?
Generally, required courses are available at least once a year; electives are available on a two-year cycle. Look for the perpetual course schedule rotation on the Economic Department's web site.

Does the department provide any academic support for students?
Yes, there are several possible options.

At the Economic Resource Center (ERC, 452 SSB) you will find peer tutors (especially for principles of micro and macro). Some ERC staff have also taken higher level courses and may be able to help you with those courses as well.

Consult with your professor during office hours or right after class. (If you cannot make the Office Hours, scheduling an appointment via email is an option.)

Set up a study time with fellow students in class or by using email (you can email students in a given course from the course site on MyGateway).

If you feel you need paid one-one-one tutoring, that can sometimes be arranged (you and the tutor would determine the price and timing). In this case, consult your professor to help identify someone.

How can I get more involved in the department?
The Student Chapter of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) provides a great opportunity to become more involved. To learn more, email the faculty advisor, Professor William Rogers, and check the Bulletin Board outside of 408 SSB.

University of Missouri-St. Louis
Department of Economics

For additional information, contact:
Clinton Greene, Advisor of Undergraduate Studies
clinton_greene@umsl.edu

Michael Allison, Advisor of Undergraduate Studies
allison@umsl.edu