Economics

Requirements & Courses

  • The Economics Program prepares students for successful completion of economics graduate programs, law school and MBA programs, and to successfully embark on business careers, especially in government and financial services.

    This preparation is accomplished through an emphasis on the application of historical and modern economic theory to problem solving and policy analysis, at the micro and macro, domestic and international, and private and public levels. Students acquire an economics “tool kit” that underscores Alma’s liberal arts curriculum and focuses on critical thinking and analysis, writing and research skills, and quantitative skills.

    The Economics Program also serves students interested in applying economic analysis in such fields as business, law, public policy, environmental science, political science and history.

  • Major Requirements
    1. Thirty-six credits including ECN 201, 202, 301, 311, and 331; ECN 317 or 318; ECN 345 or 370; and eight additional credits of 300-level or above ECN coursework. (Economics 180 courses do not count toward the major.)
    2. All 36 credits that count toward the major must be taken for letter grade. Economics courses may be taken for S/F credit but only above and beyond the 36 credits taken for letter grade for the major.
    3. Successful completion of ECN 500 or a minimum score of 150 on the Major Field Achievement Test in Economics is required for the Department’s comprehensive evaluation. Students should schedule the MFAT for the Fall Term of their senior year. Students who fail the Fall MFAT will retake it in the Winter Term. Students who fail a second time will be given an oral comprehensive evaluation.
    4. Prior approval is required for all transfer credit for any 300-level or above ECN coursework.
    5. Honors candidates must have a minimum overall 3.3 GPA and a 3.5 GPA in the Economics Department, complete ECN 500 and present that work in some forum, either internal or external.
    6. The Department recommends that students supplement the major with courses from Business Administration, Political Science, Mathematics and Philosophy. Students interested in Economics graduate work are strongly encouraged to take MTH 121-122, and/or MTH 116, 117, 192, 310, and 341-342. Students interested in law school are strongly encouraged to take BUS 325-326, HST 121-122, PHL 103, and/or POL 131, 225, 335-336. Students interested in an MBA or a career in business are strongly encouraged to take BUS 221-222, 309, 323, 333, 440, MTH 113, 116, 192, and/or PHL 227.
  • Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits which must include Economics 201 and 202, plus 16 additional credits of 300-level or above ECN coursework. The 16 additional credits may not be taken for S/F credit. (Economics 180 courses do not count toward the minor.)

  • Four credits from ECN, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Social Sciences.

Courses

  • ECN
    180
    .
    Readings in Economics
    1-4 credits
    Permission
    Selected readings of classic economic works in student interest area. Not counted toward Economics Major or Minor.
  • ECN
    201
    .
    Principles of Macroeconomics
    4 credits
    Introductory survey of macroeconomic theory and national policy. Supply and demand analysis and solutions to basic economic problem of scarcity in the American economy. Examines relationship between national income and its determinants with emphasis on role of fiscal and monetary policies in stabilizing national economic performance.
  • ECN
    202
    .
    Principles of Microeconomics
    4 credits
    Introductory survey of microeconomic theory. Principles of consumer demand; production, exchange and distribution in capitalist economies; labor and resource markets; international trade and exchange rate theory and policy.
  • ECN
    *
    301
    .
    Intermediate Microeconomics
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Price mechanism and elasticity concepts. Theories of consumer behavior and producer behavior. Pricing in product and resource markets. General equilibrium theory.
  • ECN
    *
    311
    .
    Intermediate Macroeconomics
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Models of national income determination. The monetary system and the relationship between money and financial markets. Monetary theory and policy. Explanations of inflation and unemployment. Business cycles and economic growth theory.
  • ECN
    *
    317
    .
    Econometrics
    4 credits
    MTH 116
    Survey of standard forecasting techniques in business and economics. Introduces the use of econometric models with emphasis on multiple regression, simulation modeling and time-series analysis. Special attention to applying forecasting techniques to real-world data.
  • ECN
    *
    318
    .
    Mathematical Economics
    4 credits
    ECN 201-202; MTH 113 or 121
    Formal application of mathematical tools to micro- and macroeconomic analysis; algebra, sets, matrix algebra, and differential and integral calculus.
  • ECN
    *
    320
    .
    Money and Capital Markets
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Analysis of money and capital market instruments and financial market interrelationships. Investigates role of financial intermediaries as both suppliers and users of credit. Emphasizes influences of monetary policy and regulations on functioning of U.S. and world credit markets.
  • ECN
    *
    321
    .
    Public Finance
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    The economics of government. Revenue and expenditure policies of federal, state and local governments in theory and practice; tax shifting and incidence. Study of current fiscal and related public policy issues.
  • ECN
    *
    326
    .
    Economic Development
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Seeks to answer the question why some countries are rich and other countries poor. The role of the economist in development will be examined.
  • ECN
    *
    331
    .
    International Trade
    4 credits
    ECN 202
    Examines the exchange across international borders of goods, services and factors, and the impacts of this trade on domestic and global economies both in theory and practice. Theories of trade are compared and contrasted to both empirical studies and histories of trade. Topics include free trade, commercial policy, barriers to trade, foreign investment, imperialism and political economy of trade.
  • ECN
    *
    332
    .
    International Finance
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Examine the principles and practical aspects of international finance. Theories of exchange rate determination are compared and contrasted. Topics include, but are not limited to: comparative advantage, arbitrage, international macroeconomics, foreign exchange issues, global money and capital markets, exchange rate forecasting and interest rate swaps.
  • ECN
    *
    339
    .
    History of Economic Thought
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Historical development of economic ideas, paradigms and ideologies: Mercantilist, Physiocrat, Classical, Marxian, Neo-Classical, Institutionalist and Keynesian.
  • ECN
    *
    340
    .
    Environmental Economics
    4 credits
    ECN 202
    Survey of both theories and practices of the economics of natural resources and the environment. Topics include: notions of value and property, externalities, renewable and nonrenewable resources, willingness-to-pay arguments, cost-benefit analysis, natural resource policy, hazardous waste, environmental policy, sustainable development, and environmental racism and classism.
  • ECN
    *
    345
    .
    Labor Economics
    4 credits
    ECN 202
    Survey the field of labor economics. Topics include the theory of allocation of time, life cycle theory, labor supply, theory of the firm, labor demand, wage determination, human capital theory, occupational wage differentials, and theories of labor market discrimination.
  • ECN
    *
    355
    .
    Globalization in Latin America
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and Permission
    Students spend the Spring Term in a Latin American nation living with a local family, improving their Spanish skills, participating in a two week service-learning project, attending seminar presentations by resident scholars, and studying the socioeconomic impacts of trade and globalization in the country being visited.
  • ECN
    *
    360
    .
    General Economic History
    4 credits
    ECN 201, 202 or Permission
    Survey of major forms of economic systems from paleolithic times to present: Stone Age economy, Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica, Classical Greece and Rome, feudal and manorial Europe, mercantile and industrial Europe and America. Economic institutions of reciprocity, redistribution and market.
  • ECN
    *
    370
    .
    Regional Economics
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Industrial/agricultural location and human migration theories and cases. Economic bases for land-use patterns, central places, regional/urban structure. Examination of urban problems. Regional and urban growth models. Business feasibility studies and public cost-benefit analysis.
  • ECN
    *
    380
    .
    Special Topics in Economics
    4 credits
    ECN 201 and 202
    Selected topics in economics announced in advance. May be taken more than once for credit if topics are different.
  • ECN
    *
    385
    .
    Practicum
    4 credits
    Junior Standing or Permission
  • ECN
    *
    499
    .
    Independent Study
    4 credits
    Permission
    Under supervision, student formulates project topic, conducts research and prepares a properly documented paper presenting conclusions and support.
  • ECN
    *
    500
    .
    Senior Thesis
    4 credits
    Permission