Courses & Requirements

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2020-2021 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

Economics

Overview

Economics is the study of decision-making and policy-making in the context of a world constrained by scarcity. We aim to help our students understand how decisions are linked to incentives and how policies can help align individual incentives with social objectives, including an efficient use of the world's resources and an equitable distribution of its output. We also aim to equip our students with the rigorous theoretical and empirical tools of our profession to enable them to better analyze and guide the decision making of individuals, the conduct of businesses and nonprofit enterprises, and the policies of governments and international organizations.

The Department aims to ensure that students majoring in Economics (1) understand the framework that professional economists use to analyze social and economic issues; (2) recognize how economic behavior and policies can affect both the aggregate level of prosperity and differentials in prosperity across members of society distinguished by characteristics such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status; (3) have proficient decision-making and problem-solving skills; (4) are competent in writing and speaking; and (5) possess critical-thinking skills that enable them to apply the theoretical and empirical tools of professional economists to a wide range of issues.

Major Requirements

A major in economics requires a minimum of ten courses. 

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

For exceptions to the ten course minimum please refer to the section "OFF-CAMPUS AND TRANSFER CREDITS" below.

COURSEWORK

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4 units

ECON 102Principles of Economics II

4 units

Calculus 1Scientific Modeling and Differential Calculus

4 units

ECON 250Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

4 units

ECON 251Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory

4 units

ECON 272Applied Econometrics

4 units

Three 300-level ECON electives

12 units

ECON 495Senior Seminar

4 units

Two of the three 300-level elections must be completed at Oxy. Please note the COMP 146 (Statistics) is a prerequisite for ECON 272.

Choosing Electives

The economics department offers many 300-level electives. If you would like to know how these electives might be grouped with other non-economics courses to give more intellectual continuity to a course of study, please refer to the department website.

Minor Requirements

COURSEWORK

Students must complete the following coursework:

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4 units

ECON 102Principles of Economics II

4 units

ECON 250Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

4 units

ECON 251Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory

4 units

Calculus 1Scientific Modeling and Differential Calculus

4 units

Please note that Calculus 1 is a prerequisite for ECON 250 and ECON 251.

Electives:

ECON Two 300-level courses in economics

8 units

Or

ECON 272Applied Econometrics

4 units

And

ECON One 300-level course in economics

4 units

Please note that COMP 146 (Statistics) is a prerequisite for ECON 272.

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

Students majoring in Economics will satisfy the Second-Stage Writing Proficiency Requirement by arranging (with the instructor) for ECON 272 or an eligible ECON 300-level course to be designated as the student's writing course. Students need to notify the instructor of the course they are wishing to designate as their writing course before the end of the semester in which they are taking the course. Writing courses cannot be retroactively counted. Also, students can only designate one course as their writing course in a given semester. Writing proficiency will be determined through faculty assessment of written work and is independent of the course grade. The Second-Stage 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 and pass a college writing course in the senior year, WRD 201. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental writing requirement at the time of declaring the major. See information about the two Stage Writing Proficiency Requirement  in the college catalog and consult your major adviser and/or the Writing Programs Director for additional information.

Comprehensive Requirement

Economics students meet their comprehensive requirement by successfully completing ECON 495 with a grade of C or above in the fall semester of their senior year. Students who will be off campus during the fall semester of their senior year must contact the department chair by the end of their junior year to make alternative arrangements.

College Honors

Majors can earn honors by taking ECON 498 in the spring semester 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 ECON 498 is limited to students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher (both overall and within the department). Interested students should consult with their academic adviser and then apply to the department chair in the fall semester of their senior year.

Transfer Credit Policies

  • Students who have passed a microeconomics or macroeconomics class at another college or university will be allowed to skip ECON 101.
  • Economics majors must complete the following courses at Occidental and may not satisfy them with transfer credits: ECON 250, ECON 251, ECON 272, at least two 300-level electives, and their Senior Comprehensives 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 ECON 101 and ECON 102. Students who have received a score of 4 on both the AP Microeconomics test and the AP Macroeconomics test, or a score of 4 in one and 5 in the other, will be allowed to skip ECON 101. Students who have an AP Microeconomics score of 5 may be allowed to skip ECON 101 after consultation with the economics department.
  • Students who have received a score of 7 on the Higher Level (HL) International Baccalaureate in micro- and macroeconomics will be allowed to skip ECON 101 and ECON 102.
  • Students who have received a score of 6 on the Higher Level (HL) International Baccalaureate 6 in micro- and macroeconomics will be allowed to skip ECON 101.
  • The Economics Department does not accept online courses for transfer towards Economic course credit.
  • For students transferring from another institution or students who have taken a leave of absence for at least one semester at most one 300-level elective course will be accepted toward the major or the minor in transfer. Students in this situation should consult with the department chair about how courses they have taken elsewhere may count toward the 100-level or 200-level Economics requirements.
  • Economic department policy is that all students may only count one (1) pre-professional business or accounting course taken at another academic institution as ECON 233 (Accounting) towards college credit (not credit towards the Economics major). For example, if a student takes a marketing course at a local community college, and hasn't already taken ECON 233 on campus, this course will transfer as ECON 233 and they will not be allowed to take ECON 233 without a Petition for Special Consideration in order to repeat a course. If a student has already taken ECON 233 before taking a pre-professional course at another domestically accredited institution of higher education, the Economics chair will not approve this course for college credit.
  • For any course not approved by Economics to transfer, students are welcome to check with other departments/programs, as appropriate, to allow for them to review the content as appropriate to transfer to Occidental as college credit only.
  • Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Courses

Economics Courses