Since the inception of UC Merced, the Economics group has offered a B.A. in Economics. The degree involves a mix of rigorous core classes, including both economic theory and quantitative methods, and a large suite of upper division economics and related classes.
The Economics major is built on a foundation of strong theoretical and statistical training. Economists study how scarce resources are allocated so that the well-being of individuals is maximized. Whether the resource being allocated is income, time, or a precious commodity, there is always some tradeoff associated with allocating the resource for one use and not another. Individuals, businesses, and governments face these tradeoffs in countless ways every day. The most important thing students learn from studying economics is how to identify, measure, and understand the essential elements of this tradeoff. To do this, the Economics major provides students solid grounding in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, statistical and econometric methodology and applied economic analysis. It emphasizes the role of incentives and institutions in shaping economic outcomes and how public policies influence economic performance and individual outcomes, with special emphases on development economics, economic growth, economic history, empirical methods, environmental economics, health economics, international trade, labor economics, law and economics, political economy and public economics. In addition to having a solid understanding of economic theory, the Economics B.A. program has a special emphasis on empirical research methods. All students engage in research (with faculty members, in teams and independently) that involves analyzing data and answering well-formulated questions related to public policies. With these research experiences, our students are competitive for research internships, fellowships and pre-graduate summer programs while still in school.
Because students with economics degrees develop strong analytical and quantitative skills and the ability to solve complex problems effectively, studying economics is excellent preparation for many careers in business, law, management consulting, education or public service. Businesses of all types and sizes, financial institutions, consulting firms, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, as well as graduate business and law schools actively seek graduates with bachelor’s degrees in economics. In addition, many of our students go on to do graduate study in economics, law, public policy or business.
Starting in Fall of 2020, the EBM department will offer a B.S. in Economics targeted to students who demand more comprehensive quantitative training in the field. The Economics B.S. is designed to give students more options in private and public sector employment, and to prepare students for graduate study in economics and business. The degree offers students two alternate emphases within the major, one in Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP), targeted toward private and public sector employment, and the other in Quantitative Economics, which will provide a particularly strong level of mathematics preparation, essential for admission to and success in, Economics Ph.D. programs. Compared to the Economics B.A., the B.S. offers deeper training in mathematics and computer science and additional upper division training in quantitative methods. The Quantitative option requires more mathematics and quantitative training; the EAP option takes a deeper dive into upper division economic policy electives.
The Economics minor provides students with an overview of how incentives and institutions shape society. Students in the Economics minor have opportunities for strong theoretical and statistical training in areas of development economics, economics growth, economic history, empirical methods, environmental economics, health economics, international trade, labor economics, law and economics, political economy, and public economics. The minor provides a nice complement to many other major fields of emphasis, including for example political science, engineering, psychology, and public health, in all of which economics principles can be useful for both conceptual understanding and career paths. In Fall 2019, the Economics minor enrolled 19 students.