Economics B.A.

Information and Policies

Introduction

Economics studies how individuals, firms, governments, and other organizations within our society make choices, and how these choices affect the society’s use of its available resources. Economists study a wide range of questions such as: How do individuals make decisions in the face of uncertainty? What are the causes of the Great Recession of 2009? Why do Europeans work fewer hours than Americans? Why have health care and education costs risen so much? What are the consequences of government deficits? Why has the gap between rich and poor in many countries risen? Why have some poor countries grown faster than many rich countries in recent years?

Economics majors study a substantive core of theory and mathematical and statistical methods that aid in addressing these questions. This required core can be combined with electives that emphasize specialized areas such as international economics, finance, public policy, applied microeconomics, law and economics, economic development, quantitative methods, macroeconomics, game theory and behavioral economics. A focus on core theory as well as mathematical and quantitative tools provides a foundation for graduate studies in economics. Selecting a range of electives to sample the broad domain of economics offers an excellent background for students who plan to enter careers in the private sector, in public service, the non-profit sector or to attend law school or other professional schools.

Academic Advising for the Program

The Economics Department office is located at 401 Engineering 2. There are two staff undergraduate advisers, peer advisers (except summer), a field study coordinator, as well as a faculty director for each of the Economics Department's undergraduate programs. Our faculty, staff advisers and peer advisers play an important role in advising on all aspects of the major and assisting you to maximize your educational opportunities. Please check the department website for more information about drop-in hours.

Getting Started in the Major

The economics curriculum begins at the introductory level: no specific high school preparation is required. All majors study a substantial core of economic theory and statistical methods and they then choose among a wide variety of subfields.

Program Learning Outcomes

Program learning outcomes for economics, economics and mathematics, business management economics, and global economics majors:

Critical Thinking Skills: Students are expected to be able to apply economic analysis to everyday problems in real world situations, to understand current events and evaluate specific policy proposals, and to evaluate the role played by assumptions in arguments that reach different conclusions to a specific economic or policy problem.

Quantitative Reasoning Skills: Students are expected to understand how to use empirical evidence to evaluate the validity of an economic argument, use statistical methodology, interpret statistical results, and conduct appropriate statistical analysis of data.

Problem-Solving Skills: Students are expected to be able to solve problems that have clear solutions and to address problems that do not have clear answers and explain conditions under which these solutions may be correct.

Specialized Knowledge and Application of Skills: Students are expected to develop critical and quantitative thinking skills specific to business and accounting.

Communication Skills: Students are expected to be able to communicate effectively in written, oral, and graphical form about specific issues, and to formulate well-organized written arguments that state assumptions and hypotheses supported by evidence.

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

The Economics Department administers four undergraduate majors: economics, business management economics, global economics, and economics/mathematics. 

(Qualifications for the environmental/economics combined major differ from above; see environmental studies for details.) Students should declare the major as soon as they have completed these requirements.

Students must complete three courses, with combined GPA of 2.8 or higher, to petition for entry to the economics major:

ECON 1Introductory Microeconomics: Resource Allocation and Market Structure

5

ECON 2Introductory Macroeconomics: Aggregate Economic Activity

5

And one of the following calculus courses:
AM 11A
/ECON 11A
Mathematical Methods for Economists I

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

All classes included for major qualification determination must be taken for a letter grade. If students have not taken a letter grade, they must appeal by submitting a letter to the Economics Department.

Students are encouraged to apply to the major as soon as they have satisfactorily completed these three courses. Students who have a combined grade-point average (GPA) of 2.8 or better in Economics 1, 2, and the first calculus course will qualify upon applying. Students receiving a grade of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in one of the courses required for qualification to the major may only declare once they have passed the same or equivalent course with a grade of C or better. Students who receive two grades of NP, C-, D+, D, D-, or F in the qualification courses are not eligible to declare the major.

Equivalent courses may be taken at other universities or community colleges. Students should check on assist.org to determine whether a transfer course is designated as equivalent to Economics 1, 2 or the first required calculus course. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to ask the department to review such courses prior to matriculation at UCSC, since an offer of admission to UCSC does not automatically imply admission to the economics major.

Students can receive course credit for Advanced Placement (AP) examinations in microeconomics (ECON 1), macroeconomics (ECON 2), statistics (STAT 5) and the first calculus class toward major qualification criteria according to the AP chart.

The Economics Department uses the AP score internally to determine whether students meet the 2.8 required GPA to qualify for the major. A score of 5 on the AP exam counts as an “A” , a score of 4 counts as a “B” and a score of 3 on the BC calculus counts as a “C”.

ECON 11A is also offered as AM 11A.

Please consult with an adviser if you have questions.

Appeal Process

Students who have a grade point average (GPA) lower than 2.8 in ECON 1, ECON 2, and the calculus course are not eligible to declare an economics major. Students who are not eligible to declare the major may appeal this decision by submitting a letter of appeal to the department within 15 days of the denial of the declaration. Within 15 days of the receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student, college and Office of the Registrar of the decision. Please check the "Appeals" area on the department web site for further information on declaring a major or appealing ineligibility and deadlines.

How to Declare a Major

Students may petition for admission to the major by filling out the Petition for Major/Minor Declaration and the Academic Planning forms and by supplying evidence of their grades in the three pre-major courses. Candidates must meet major qualifications listed above under "Major Qualification" prior to declaring the major.

Declaration sessions are mandatory for those seeking to declare the major/minor. If you cannot attend a workshop, you must meet with an economics peer adviser first before obtaining signatures from a staff adviser. Workshop schedules and drop-in advising hours are available online, on our bulletin board outside the office and in the department office. All students are advised to bring verification of their grades, which can be printed off the student portal, to the declaration of major advising session. Students who do not bring in verification of their grades could have the approval of their petition for major declaration delayed by up to two working days.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

Transfer students may fulfill some of the requirements for the major by completing equivalent courses, with a grade of C or better, at another recognized institution. 

Students must take the equivalent of the following three courses prior to petitioning for entry to an economics major: ECON 1 (Introductory Microeconomics), ECON 2 (Introductory Macroeconomics), and one of the following calculus courses: AM 11A/ECON 11A (Mathematical Methods for Economists), or MATH 11A (Calculus with Applications), or MATH 19A (Calculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics). Prospective majors must achieve a combined GPA of 2.8 in these three courses to be eligible to declare the major. The admissions office screens transfer applicants for meeting major qualification criteria. 

Students should check on assist.org for established articulation agreements with the California community colleges and other institutions. For courses not already articulated through assist.org, transfer students must present their transfer credit summary (available on the student portal) and course syllabi or descriptions to an Economics Department adviser. The department approves courses applicable for economics prerequisites and major requirements.

While it is not required for selection, transfer students are strongly encouraged to have completed courses articulated to lower-division mathematics and statistics major requirement courses prior to transfer to facilitate timely graduation.

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

All transfer students must complete the three-course comprehensive requirement and the disciplinary communication requirement at UCSC (explained below). Economics majors must take at least two of their upper-division economics electives at UCSC. Courses taken for credit elsewhere may not be repeated for credit here.

Students who were admitted under a different proposed major and have advanced standing when they come to UCSC require permission from the department to change into the major.

Letter Grade Policy

All classes included for major qualification determination must be taken for a letter grade. If students have not taken a letter grade, they must appeal by submitting a letter to the Economics Department.

The Economics Department allows classes toward major requirements taken for the pass/no pass (P/NP) grade notification. We recommend no more than two courses in the major be taken P/NP. Overall no more than 25 percent of a student's UCSC classes can be taken P/NP. 

Course Substitution Policy

For courses not already articulated through assist.org, students must present their transfer credit summary (available on the student portal) and course syllabi or descriptions to an Economics Department adviser. The department approves courses applicable for economics prerequisites and major requirements. The course substitution form can be found on the department website under "Forms for students". 

Study Abroad

UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) is the University of California's official study abroad program and a global leader in international education for over 50 years. All the benefits of home—UC credit, grades, and financial aid—travel with you. Approximately 600 UC Santa Cruz students study abroad on UCEAP every year.

Students can petition UCEAP courses to count toward their major or minor requirements. In addition, there are scholarships available and financial aid can be applied to UCEAP programs. UCEAP provides opportunities in:

  • 46 countries around the world
  • 420 summer quarter, semester or year-long programs
  • Internships, volunteer work, and research programs

Economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona -- Direct Exchange Program
Located in Spain, the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) is an institution known for its excellent research and teaching. Unlike UCEAP, this direct exchange program through the UC Santa Cruz Economics Department offers the opportunity for students to enroll in three courses that will fulfill economics major requirements and one course outside of economics. Students must take a total of four courses and will receive transfer credit for all courses. Along with enrolling in courses, students may enjoy the renowned architecture, food, and art. This program is open to students who are economics majors in junior or senior class standing and have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above. Students must also be in good academic standing and 18 years of age or older at the time of departure to Barcelona. Economics courses at UAB may also be taken in Spanish if students have completed two years of university-level Spanish with a minimum GPA of 2.85 in those language courses.

Honors

The Economics Department considers for honors and highest honors students who have completed a major program with superior or exceptional work. Honors decisions are made by the department’s honors and scholarship committee.

At the end of each quarter, faculty teaching the upper-division core courses submit to the department a list of students in their respective classes whose performance is at the honors level. At the time of graduation, all students who received an honors designation in one or more of these courses are reviewed by the department’s honor committee. The faculty committee looks for a record of excellence in courses offered towards the major, with a strong performance in the upper-division core (theory and econometrics—ECON 100A/ECON 100M, ECON 100B/ECON 100N, and ECON 113) being a necessary condition for honors. Although a GPA is not computed for the economics courses, in general highest honors are awarded to students who have received a grade of at least an “A” throughout their economics program. Honors are awarded to students who have no more than two courses with grades of less than an “A-.” Students who have completed a portion of the major at another institution may be asked to submit a transcript for evaluation.

Students interested in being reviewed for honors may request that the department conduct a review, and such requests are always granted.

In general, honors have been awarded to between 10 and 15 percent of each year’s graduating class.

Independent Study

Students are encouraged to petition for independent study on topics of special interest to them. ECON 199, Tutorial, may be used as only one of the upper-division courses required for the major or minor.

Field-Study Program

The Economics Department offers its majors the opportunity to integrate their academic knowledge with career-related work in areas connected to economics or business. The field-study program places students in internships under the supervision of a faculty sponsor and a professional at the workplace. Students can select from a wide variety of field placements such as accounting firms, community non-profits, government agencies, brokerage firms, marketing agencies, banks, and businesses in Santa Cruz and beyond. Students apply for field-study a quarter in advance. Participation in the field-study program requires at least junior standing, completion of courses ECON 100A (or ECON 100M), ECON 100B (or ECON 100N), and ECON 113 as well as good academic standing. Students may earn a maximum of 10 academic credits and complete up to two quarters in a field placement. A 5-credit field study requires 12-14 hours per week spent working on internship duties (a 2-credit field study requires 5-6 hours per week spent on internship duties) and completion of an academic project supervised by a faculty sponsor. Time spent toward the academic requirements set by the faculty sponsor is not included in the 12-14 internship hours spent at the field placement.

Along with the training and supervision by a professional at the workplace, students receive guidance from a faculty sponsor who directs their academic project. Students earn credit through the completion of this project and the job supervisor’s evaluation of performance. Economics field-study courses do not satisfy any upper-division requirements for the major and are available as Pass/No Pass only.

Interested students should make an appointment or stop by the Economics Department at 403C Engineering 2; or e-mail econintern@ucsc.edu.

Combined Majors

The Economics Department offers the following combined majors: economics/mathematics and environmental studies/economics. Requirements for these majors may be reviewed under their separate entries in this catalog.

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

ECON 1 and ECON 2, ECON 11A, ECON 11B, ECON 100A (or ECON 100M), ECON 100B (or ECON 100N), ECON 113, and STAT 5 or equivalent courses are required for all economics majors and are prerequisites for most upper-division courses. Students are urged to complete these courses as soon as possible. Students who are committed to the major early in their academic career, should plan to complete at least ECON 1, ECON 2, ECON 11A, ECON 11B, and preferably ECON 100A, ECON 100B, and ECON 113 by the end of their sophomore year. Students are also encouraged to choose the letter grade option when taking these courses.

Students who major in economics are required to take the following courses:

Lower-Division Courses

All of the following courses:
ECON 1Introductory Microeconomics: Resource Allocation and Market Structure

5

ECON 2Introductory Macroeconomics: Aggregate Economic Activity

5

Plus one of the following mathematics content options:
Either these courses

AM 11A
/ECON 11A
Mathematical Methods for Economists I

5

AM 11B
/ECON 11B
Mathematical Methods for Economists II

5

or these courses

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

5

MATH 22Introduction to Calculus of Several Variables

5

or these courses

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 23AVector Calculus

5

or these courses

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

AM 30Multivariate Calculus for Engineers

5

or these courses

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

AM 11B
/ECON 11B
Mathematical Methods for Economists II

5

or these courses

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

AM 11B
/ECON 11B
Mathematical Methods for Economists II

5

Mathematics content:

ECON 11A, ECON 11B (also offered as AM 11A and AM 11B): or equivalent courses from transferring institution. 

MATH 11A, MATH 11B, MATH 23A may be taken to satisfy the mathematics content only by petition via the Mathematics Department.

Successful completion of one of the mathematics calculus sequences from the list above is required for all economics majors, and must be taken before enrollment in ECON 100A (or ECON 100M), ECON 100B (or ECON 100N), and ECON 113. Students are advised to complete the mathematics courses as early as possible in their academic career.

Students planning to pursue graduate work in economics or business should seriously consider more intensive mathematical training; consult an adviser for guidance.

Plus one of the following statistics content options:
Either this course

STAT 5Statistics

5

or these courses

STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Upper-Division Courses

Choose one of the following courses:
ECON 100AIntermediate Microeconomics

5

ECON 100MIntermediate Microeconomics, Math Intensive

5

Plus one of the following courses:
ECON 100BIntermediate Macroeconomics

5

ECON 100NIntermediate Macroeconomics, Math Intensive

5

Plus the following course:
ECON 113Introduction to Econometrics

5

Plus one of the following disciplinary communication (DC) courses:
ECON 197Economic Rhetoric: Using Economic Theory and Empirical Evidence in Arguing Policy

5

ECON 104Is There Truth in Numbers: The Role of Statistics in Economics

5

Plus four additional upper-division economics courses, two to four of which must be selected from the following economics courses:

NOTE: Lecture/lab combinations count as one course (i.e., 114 and 114L).

ECON 105Topics in Macroeconomics

5

ECON 114Advanced Quantitative Methods

5

ECON 114LAdvanced Quantitative Methods Lab

2

ECON 120Development Economics

5

ECON 121Economic Growth

5

ECON 125Economic History of the U.S

5

ECON 126Why Economies Succeed or Fail: Lessons from Western and Japanese History

5

ECON 128
/LGST 128
Poverty and Public Policy

5

ECON 130Money and Banking

5

ECON 140International Trade

5

ECON 141International Finance

5

ECON 142Advanced Topics in International Economics

5

ECON 143Policy Issues in the International Economy

5

ECON 148Latin American Economies

5

ECON 149The Economies of East and Southeast Asia

5

ECON 150Public Finance

5

ECON 156Health Care and Medical Economics

5

ECON 159The Economics of Organizations

5

ECON 160A
/LGST 160A
Industrial Organization

5

ECON 160BGovernment and Industry

5

ECON 165Economics as an Experimental Science

5

ECON 166A
/CSE 166A
Game Theory and Applications I

5

ECON 166B
/CSE 166B
Game Theory and Applications II

5

ECON 169
/LGST 169
Economic Analysis of the Law

5

ECON 170Environmental Economics

5

ECON 171Natural Resource Economics

5

ECON 175Energy Economics

5

ECON 180Labor Economics

5

ECON 183
/LGST 183
Women in the Economy

5

ECON 190Senior Proseminar

5

Up to two of the four electives may be taken from the following business management economics courses:
ECON 131International Financial Markets

5

ECON 133Security Markets and Financial Institutions

5

ECON 135Corporate Finance

5

No more than one of the four electives may be taken from the following business management economics courses:
ECON 101Managerial Economics

5

ECON 110Managerial Cost Accounting and Control

5

ECON 111AIntermediate Accounting I

5

ECON 111BIntermediate Accounting II

5

ECON 111CIntermediate Accounting III

5

ECON 112Auditing and Attestation

5

ECON 115Introduction to Management Sciences

5

ECON 117AIncome Tax Factors for Individuals

5

ECON 117BTax Factors of Business and Investment

5

ECON 119Advanced Accounting

5

ECON 136Business Strategy

5

ECON 138The Economics and Management of Technology and Innovation

5

ECON 139AThe Economics of Electronic Commerce

5

ECON 139BE-Commerce Strategy

5

ECON 161AMarketing

5

ECON 161BMarketing Research

5

ECON 164Economics and the Telecommunications Industry

5

ECON 188Management in the Global Economy

5

ECON 194Advanced Topics in Management

5

ECON 191, ECON 192, ECON 193, and ECON 193F may not be used to meet major requirements. Either ECON 195 or ECON 199 may be used to fill one of the four upper-division elective major requirements.*

*Footnote and course list revised 08/05/19.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

All undergraduate majors must satisfy the campus’ disciplinary communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in economics is satisfied by completing one of the following courses:

ECON 104Is There Truth in Numbers: The Role of Statistics in Economics

5

ECON 197Economic Rhetoric: Using Economic Theory and Empirical Evidence in Arguing Policy

5

Comprehensive Requirement

The comprehensive requirement is satisfied by passing the following intermediate core courses with grades of C or better here at UCSC:

Choose one of the following courses:
ECON 100AIntermediate Microeconomics

5

ECON 100MIntermediate Microeconomics, Math Intensive

5

Plus one of the following courses:
ECON 100BIntermediate Macroeconomics

5

ECON 100NIntermediate Macroeconomics, Math Intensive

5

Plus the following course:
ECON 113Introduction to Econometrics

5

Students may elect to complete a senior thesis with consent of an instructor in addition to completing the intermediate core courses. This is highly recommended for students interested in a Ph.D. program in economics after graduation.

Planners

Sample Frosh Planner

1st (frosh) Course Course Course
MATH 3 or AM 3 ECON 1
ECON 2
  AM 11A/ECON 11A
AM 11B/ECON 11B
2nd (soph) ECON 100A ECON 100B ECON 113
  STAT 5 or STAT 7& STAT 7L
 
     
3rd (junior) ECON elective ECON elective ECON elective
  Field Study (Internship) optional Field Study optional  
     
4th (senior) ECON elective ECON 197 or ECON 104
 
     
     

The courses shown above satisfy the MF, PE, and SR and (if ECON 193 is completed) PR general education requirements. Students must complete all other GE requirements.

Sample Transfer Planner

  Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) AM 11B/ECON 11B
ECON 100A ECON 100B
ECON elective   ECON elective
     
4th (senior) ECON 113 ECON elective  Field Study optional 
ECON elective ECON 197 or ECON 104 (DC)   
  Field Study (Internship) optional   

This planner assumes that a student has completed IGETC or at least most GE requirements, STAT 5, and major preparation requirements (ECON 1, ECON 2 and at least first calculus course) before coming to UCSC.