ECONOMICS MAJOR: A major in economics requires a minimum of ten courses. Of these, a core of seven must be the following:

  • Economics 101 and 102 (introductory economics);
  • Calculus 1 or equivalent;
  • Economics 250 and 251 (intermediate theory);
  • Economics 272 (econometrics; requires Mathematics 146 or equivalent);
  • Economics 495 (senior seminar).

The remaining three courses may be selected from among the 300-level economics courses (electives) described in this catalog. In order to declare an economics major, a student must have completed Economics 101.

A typical schedule might be arranged as follows:

First year: Economics 101, 102, and Calculus 1

Sophomore year: Economics 250, 251, and Math 146

Junior year: Economics 272 and 300-level electives

Senior year: Economics 495 and 300-level electives

The major can be completed in fewer than four years, but it is almost impossible to complete the major in less than three years.

CHOOSING ELECTIVES: The economics department offers so many electives that it's helpful to think about how these electives might be grouped to give more intellectual continuity to a course of study. For example, students interested in obtaining a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and/or having a career in management are encouraged to complete Economics 233 (Accounting and Financial Analysis), an internship, and either Economics 350 or 326. Students interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in economics are encouraged to complete Mathematics 150 (instead of Math 146), Math 120 or equivalent, Math 212, 214, 310, and at least one of Math 330, 332, 341, 342, 370, or 372. Students interested in a career in public policy are encouraged to complete either Politics 101 or UEP 101, an internship or service learning experience, and at least one of the following: Economics 301, 302, 308, 312, 320, 324, 325, 328, or 361.

MINOR: Economics 101, 102, 250, and 251, Calculus 1, and two 300-level courses in economics (or Economics 272 and one 300-level course in economics). Please note that Calculus 1 is a prerequisite for Economics 250 and 251.

WRITING REQUIREMENT: Students majoring in Economics will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by arranging (with the instructor) for an Economics 300-level course (or Economics 272) to be designated as the student's writing course. The writing requirement must be satisfactorily completed by May of the student's junior year. Students who fail the requirement or who fail to meet the deadline will be required to both take a composition course in the senior year and demonstrate acceptable writing skills in the senior comprehensive in order to graduate. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program and consult the department chair for additional information.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT: Met by passing the Major Field Test (MFT) in economics in February of the student's senior year and by completing Economics 495 in the fall semester of the student's senior year. The MFT is administered at the College, and students must sign up for it in the fall semester of their senior year. Students who will be off campus during one of the semesters of their senior year must contact the department chair by the end of their junior year.  

HONORS: Majors can earn honors by taking Economics 499 in the fall of their senior year and by writing and defending, in that class, a thesis that is judged by the department faculty to be of honors quality. Enrollment in Economics 499 is limited to students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher (both overall and within the department). Interested students should consult with their academic advisor and then apply to the department chair by end of their junior year.


  • Students who have passed a microeconomics or macroeconomics class at another college or university will be allowed to skip Economics 101.
  • Economics majors must complete the following courses at Occidental and may not satisfy them with transfer credits: Economics 250, 251, 272, at least two 300-level electives, and their Senior Comprehensives course.
  • Students may take one accounting course for College credit, either at Occidental or through transfer credits. Students may not receive College credit for any other business-related course.
  • Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on either AP Calculus test have met the departmental Calculus I major requirement (and the calculus pre-requisite for courses that require Calculus I).
  • Students who have received a score of 5 on both the AP Microeconomics test and the AP Macroeconomics test will be allowed to skip Economics 101 and Economics 102.  Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on both the AP Microeconomics test and the AP Macroeconomics test will be allowed to skip Economics 101.
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  • Phone: (323) 259-1304
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