Building a Foundation for Critical Thinking

Economics is the study of the wise allocation of scarce resources so that we may gain an understanding of the benefits and costs to society resulting from such choices. You will have the freedom to tailor your degree by focusing in a number of important areas within economics. Before moving into these areas, required courses are necessary to build a strong foundation in economics theory and quantitative skills.

Detailed Program of Study

Students in classroom with teacher teaching from projector.

Plan Your Course of Study

See the University Catalog for the Official Program of Study

Your faculty advisor and the department manager are here to help you create a plan of study or to just confirm that you are on the correct path to reach your goals. Schedule an appointment by email or stop by during office hours. See the flowchart under the required courses for the major.

Please download and read carefully the File Economics Major 2021-22 Plan of Study/Advising Form This will also serve as as your planned course schedule when submitting your paperwork for your senior evaluation for graduation.

For the complete information on the requirements, see the Economics Major Guide from the university online catalog.

Why Economics?

In a world without scarcity, economics as a field of study would be unnecessary. The most challenging task of economics is the study of how to best use resources in the satisfaction of human wants.

Today, more than ever, the problems agitating society are predominantly economic. The problems of inequality, discrimination, pollution, energy, growth and stagnation are heavily economic, as are their solutions. Whether as intelligent citizens or as professional economists, we need the perspective and analysis of economics to understand and deal with the realities of life.

With appropriate preparation, particularly in the areas of economic theory, the career opportunities for economics graduates are diverse. Some of these are:

One of the most dynamic career areas for economists has been in business, in which economists are involved in planning and forecasting, production and market analysis, pricing, and government policy analysis.

While a variety of employment opportunities are available to the university graduate, the person who wishes to pursue a high-powered career as a professional economist should plan to do some graduate study.

For more information please see a video made by the American Economics Association:  "A Career in Economics... it's Much More Than You Think" 

The required courses build a strong understanding of the nucleus of economic theory and should be completed by your junior year. A Communication Focus (CF) course as well as a minimum of three Writing Proficiency (WP-3) points must be taken within CBE and can be met as part of required or elective courses. Students often complete courses that are equivalent to MIS 220, Math 124, Math 157 and DSCI 205. If you believe that you have completed an equivalent course, follow the directions for an equivalency evaluation. Students can also test out of MIS 220.

General University Requirements (GUR)

Several of your prerequisite and foundation courses also count as GURs. Look for classes labeled as "GUR." By planning your schedule properly you can reduce the total number of classes needed.


Visualization of economics courses flowchart. This information can be found in text form in the university catalog link on this page.

32 credits of electives in CBE, under departmental advisement; at least 24 of these credits must be upper-division credits in economics; a minimum of 16 of these 24 credits must be at the 400 level.

Visualization of econ elective credits. Information is available in text format on this page and in the university catalog.

Take one Communication Focus (CF) course and a minimum of three writing proficiency points in approved upper-division writing proficiency courses (WP-3 points) at WWU with a minimum grade of C-. The CF and WP courses must be taken within CBE and can be completed as part of the above required and elective courses, prior to graduation. Consult the Timetable of Classes for the specific course sections that fulfill the CF and WP requirements.

ECON 309, ECON 446 & ECON 447 may not be counted towards this major.