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Majors & Minors

“The Department of Economics at the University of Minnesota holds a special place in the economics world, of which our undergraduate majors play an important role. A unifying theme throughout the department is that careful theoretical and empirical reasoning underlies all research and teaching. Or put more simply: any economic question worth examining is worth examining well.”
—Christopher Phelan, professor and chair

The department offers four options to undergraduates majoring/minoring in economics:

The best way to decide among the various degree options is to consider two factors:

  • Your interest and aptitude in quantitative areas such as mathematics and statistics
  • Your long-term academic and career goals

If you are interested in mathematics and have strong grades in quantitative courses, you might find the BS more attractive. The BS is designed for students interested in graduate study of economics or a career in which quantitative economic analysis plays a significant role. The major’s strong quantitative component stresses multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and econometrics—essentials to economics graduate training.

The BA is intended to give you a solid background in all facets of economics but without the quantitative emphasis of the BS option. It is the least quantitative of our three majors and it offers considerable freedom in course selection. The BA option provides excellent preparation for working after graduation or pursuing a master’s degree. The quantitative emphasis BA (BA-Q) includes basic quantitative training in calculus, linear algebra, and econometrics. This degree is particularly suitable for those considering graduate work in business administration or those considering work in places that require data and statistical work.

If you prefer a program less quantitatively stringent than an economics major, you may be interested in the bachelor of individualized studies (BIS) program, through which a 15-credit concentration in economics courses may be combined with courses in two other areas of concentration.