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Economics

Department Overview

305 Savery

Economics studies the institutions and arrangements that societies use to create and allocate productive resources and advances our understanding of the choices and behaviors of individuals, households, firms, and other organizations. Its deep intellectual roots, rigorous analytical methods, and powerful ability to explain social phenomena warrant the importance of economics within the social sciences.

Undergraduate Program

Advisers
305 Savery, Box 353330
(206) 543-5794
econadv@uw.edu

The Department of Economics offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in economics
  • The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in economics

The Bachelor of Arts degree is designed to provide a general background in economics, and is the choice of most departmental majors.

The Bachelor of Science degree requires more mathematics for admission, and its graduation requirements have a more pronounced quantitative emphasis.

Applied fields of study available include money and banking, industrial organization, environmental and natural resource economics, labor economics, public finance, comparative systems and development, international trade, and econometrics.

Bachelor of Arts

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: ECON 200, ECON 201 and MATH 120, MATH 124 or MATH 111, MATH 112. Courses that develop strong analytical and quantitative-reasoning skills.

Department Admission Requirements

  1. A minimum of 45 quarter credits completed, including ECON 200, ECON 201; STAT 311; one of the following: MATH 112, MATH 124, MATH 134, or MATH 145; and 5 credits of English composition
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA for all prior college work of 2.50; minimum 2.50 GPA for all UW coursework, when applicable.
  3. The minimum cumulative GPA for four of the five courses required for entrance (ECON 200, ECON 201; STAT 311; one of the following: MATH 112, MATH 124, MATH 134, or MATH 145) must be at least 2.50 with a minimum 2.0 for each of the five courses required for entrance.
  4. A one-page personal statement, typed and double-spaced, responding to the following questions: What are your personal/educational goals, and how do you expect those to be met through an economics major? What background do you bring to the program? Describe any special experiences that would contribute to your studies in the field.
  5. Completion of reading comprehension, critical thinking, and writing assessment essay. See department website for details.
  6. Application deadline is the second Friday of each quarter (autumn, winter, spring). Admission is competitive. Meeting above criteria does not guarantee admission to the major.

Major Requirements

60 credits as follows:

  1. Admission to the major.
  2. A minimum 50 credits in economics, including ECON 200, ECON 201, ECON 300, ECON 301, and at least five other upper-division courses in economics at the 400 level, excluding ECON 496, ECON 497, and ECON 499.
  3. STAT 311
  4. Grades of 2.0 or higher in ECON 300 and ECON 301.
  5. One calculus course (MATH 112, MATH 124, MATH 134, MATH 145, or equivalent).
  6. Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 25 upper-division economics credits in residence at the UW.

Bachelor of Science

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: ECON 200, ECON 201 and MATH 120, MATH 124 and STAT 311. Additional calculus preparation during the first year is strongly recommended as MATH 125 and MATH 126 are required for admission. Courses that develop strong analytical and quantitative-reasoning skills.

Department Admission Requirements

  1. A minimum of 45 quarter credits completed, including ECON 200, ECON 201; STAT 311, STAT 341, or STAT 390; MATH 124, MATH 125, and MATH 126 (or MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136); and 5 credits of English composition
  2. A minimum cumulative GPA for all prior college work of 2.50; a minimum GPA of 2.50 for all UW coursework, when applicable.
  3. The minimum cumulative GPA for four of the sevencourses required for entrance - ECON 200, ECON 201; STAT 311, STAT 341, or STAT 390; calculus at the level of MATH 124, or first calculus course taken - must be at least 2.50, with a minimum grade of 2.0 for each of the seven courses required for entrance.
  4. A one-page personal statement, typed and double-spaced, responding to the following questions: What are your personal/educational goals, and how do you expect those to be met through an economics major? What background do you bring to the program? Describe any special experience that would contribute to your studies in the field.
  5. Completion of reading comprehension, critical thinking, and writing assessment essay. See department website for details.
  6. Application deadline is the second Friday of each quarter (autumn, winter, spring). Admission is competitive. Meeting the above criteria does not guarantee admission to the major.

Major Requirements

65 credits as follows:

  1. Admission to the major
  2. 15 credits in MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 (or equivalent)
  3. A minimum of 50 credits in economics, including ECON 200, ECON 201; ECON 300, ECON 301. At least 15 credits of the following theory and methods courses: ECON 400 (or equivalent) or ECON 401, ECON 405, ECON 424, ECON 435 (if taken during or before autumn 2010), ECON 473, ECON 481, ECON 482, ECON 483, ECON 484, ECON 485, ECON 486. Of these, 5 credits should be chosen from either ECON 400 or ECON 401, and another 5 credits should be chosen from ECON 424, ECON 481, ECON 482, ECON 483. Students preparing for graduate work in economics should consider taking both ECON 400 and ECON 401. 15 additional credits should be taken at the 400 level, excluding ECON 496, ECON 497, and ECON 499.
  4. Grades of 2.0 or higher in ECON 200, ECON 201, ECON 300, and ECON 301
  5. Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 25 upper-division economics credits in residence at the UW.

Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: For undergraduates, the role of the Department of Economics is to train students in a rigorous, analytical discipline that advances their problem-solving abilities and their understanding of important public issues.

    The Bachelor of Arts program provides the flexibility and social science training to prepare students for employment in a variety of areas. Also, it is excellent preparation for many master's-level graduate programs in other disciplines and for professional schools such as law, business, and medicine.

    The Bachelor of Science program is designed to provide undergraduates a rigorous background in economic analysis. This degree is designed for students who plan to do graduate study in economics or who plan to enter certain technically oriented professions, such as actuarial science, demography, financial analysis, or environmental consulting.

  • Honors Options Available: College Honors (Completion of both Interdisciplinary Honors and Departmental Honors requirements). Departmental Honors (see adviser for requirements or visit www.econ.washington.edu/instruction/undergrad/honorsrequirements.html).
  • Internships, Research, and Service Learning: Course credit available for internships and research. Visit www.econ.washington.edu/instruction/undergrad/beyond.html.
  • Department Scholarships: Scholarship opportunities are available for application during spring quarter. See departmental advisers for details. Note: Students must have filed a FAFSA with the University of Washington's Financial Aid Office to be eligible.
  • Study Abroad Opportunities: The department offers a variety of exchange programs. For more information, visit www.washington.edu/instruction/undergrad/studyabroad.htm.
  • Continuation Policy: See departmental website for details.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: The Economics Undergraduate Board (EUB) serves as a liaison between economics students, faculty, and alumni, and also provides services to the general economics undergraduate student body. The EUB provides free tutoring for ECON 200, ECON 201, ECON 300, and ECON 301; holds career seminars and faculty lectures; and publishes the quarterly newsletter, "The Economizer." For more information on these services, as well as others provided by the EUB, visit depts.washington.edu/ecnboard/.

Of Special Note:

  • Courses accepted in transfer as ECON 1XX or ECON 2XX cannot be applied to the major requirements unless courses equivalent to ECON 200 and ECON 201 were required as prerequisites. ECON X courses not having these prerequisites may be applied to electives for the degree, but not to the 50-credit economics-course requirement.
  • Internship and independent study economics credits do not count toward the required economics credits for the BA or BS degree.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
306 Savery, Box 353330
(206) 685-1384
econadv@uw.edu

The department offers a program of study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The academic program in economics is designed to develop trained economists for careers in teaching, private industry, government, and international agencies. Frequent seminars led by U.S. and foreign visitors as well as by faculty and students are conducted as an integral element of the department's graduate program.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

Applicants should have completed undergraduate training that includes courses in at least intermediate-level microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. In addition, applicants must have had at least one year of calculus, one term of linear algebra, and one term of statistics. A course in differential equations is strongly recommended. Additional work in calculus, matrix algebra, and probability and statistics is also strongly recommended. An undergraduate major in economics is not required for admission to the graduate program provided that the above prerequisites have been met. All applicants are required to take the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

All international applicants (except those noted below) are required to submit a valid score from one of the following tests to demonstrate spoken English proficiency. The scores noted meet the UW language requirement for international teaching assistants: 26 on the speaking portion of the TOEFLiBT, or 7.0 on the speaking portion of the IELTS, or 70 on the Versant English Test. Applicants who achieve one of these scores are given priority for departmental funding, although students who achieve slightly lower scores may also be considered for funding.

The following international applicants are not required to take a language test to demonstrate spoken English proficiency: (1) Those who have completed, or will complete before starting the graduate program, a bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited U.S. institution. (This exemption does not apply to applicants who have completed, or will complete, only a master's degree at a U.S. institution. (2) Those who are native English speakers.

The department does not accept admission to a terminal master's (MA) degree. A sequential MA degree is offered for students already enrolled in the PhD program.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 90 credits, to include:

ECON 500, ECON 501, ECON 502, ECON 503, ECON 508, ECON 509, ECON 580, ECON 581, and ECON 582. PhD students are required to pass core examinations in microeconomics and macroeconomics. In addition to this core program, PhD students must take eight other elective field courses in economics at the graduate level. Each PhD student must satisfy the requirements for two fields of specialization. The fields of specialization include advanced macroeconomic theory, advanced microeconomic theory, comparative systems and development, econometrics, finance, health economics, industrial organization, international economics, labor economics, natural resource economics, and public finance.

The doctoral dissertation is the final major requirement for the PhD degree. Each PhD student chooses a dissertation topic and a doctoral Supervisory Committee is appointed. After the dissertation topic has been developed, PhD students take the general examination, an oral defense of the dissertation proposal. When the dissertation is completed, PhD students take the final examination, an oral defense of the completed dissertation. A foreign language is not required. The doctoral program is designed to be completed in four years, although the average is five.

Financial Aid

The principal form of financial aid available to graduate students in economics is a teaching assistantship. A number of such assistantships are available to entering graduate students with promising academic records. A small number of fellowships are also available.

Research and Computing Resources

The department houses a computer laboratory that provides hardware and software for economic modeling, economic estimation, word processing, and other faculty and graduate student research functions. Access is restricted to economics graduate students and faculty. In addition, the Center for Social Science Computation and Research (CSSCR) maintains an extensive library of computer software and data, and offers free consulting services to aid faculty and students with computing problems.