Undergraduate Programs


When do new companies start up? Why is unemployment so high? What determines interest rates or inflation or stock prices?Economics answers questions like these. But economics is far broader than you might have guessed. Sure we study inequality and exchange rates, but we also have classes on when and why people decide to get married and have children and on underground economies. And, have you ever wondered whether athletes are overpaid? We have a class on the Economics of Sports too! Bottom line: Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, and governments make decisions and how the market mediates those decisions across a wide range of domains.

Economists develop theories to explain how the components of the economy like individual people, companies, and the government operate and interact with one another. We then gather data to estimate the relationships among the various aspects of the economy. Based on these analyses, economists predict how people and companies will respond to changes in policies and external forces. These predictions, in turn, help guide private and public decision-makers to form appropriate policies.

One of the best things about Economics is that the demand for economics majors is strong in the private sector and government. Economics is also great preparation for graduate school, whether you’re leaning toward business, law, public policy, or going on to become an economist yourself! And, if you’re still deciding, the flexibility Economics offers can help you keep your options open. So explore our website and learn how Economics can be the ideal stepping stone for you.


Pursuing Economics at Ohio State

High school economics course work is not a prerequisite for students interested in the economics major, but students should have a good high school background in algebra. Economics helps students develop good analytical skills, and for this, it is desirable to have a foundation in courses such as statistics and logic which help develop analytical thinking. Computer experience also is helpful.

All Ohio State freshman applicants are considered within a competitive admission process for the Columbus campus. The primary criteria for admission are the completion of the applicant’s high school college preparatory program, performance in that program as indicated by class rank and/or grade-point average, and performance on either the ACT or SAT. Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in economics within the College of Arts and Sciences.


Economics Requirements

The Department of Economics offers two majors, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS). The BS program has a stronger quantitative component that is valuable preparation for graduate work in economics or for more analytical areas of government and business. The BA is less quantitative and is broader. Both degrees provide an excellent base for graduate work in the social sciences or in professional programs such as law or Master of Business Administration.

Students completing either the BA or BS degree under the current quarter system are required to take Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics, an economics writing course, and 20 credit hours of economics elective courses, including 10 credit hours at the 600-level. In addition, students in both degree tracks take courses in Intermediate Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, although the BS courses are calculus-based. BA students also complete Elementary Econometrics (for which Statistics 145 is a prerequisite), while BS students complete a 2-course econometrics sequence (Applied Regression and Correlational Analysis and Applied Economic Models and Forecasting, for which Statistics 245 is a prerequisite).

Beginning Autumn 2012 Students completing either the BA or BS degree under the semester system will be required to take Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics, an economics writing course, and 15 credit hours of economics elective courses, including 6 credit hours at the 5000-level. As under quarters, students in both degree tracks take courses in Intermediate Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, although the BS courses are calculus-based. BA students also complete Elementary Econometrics (for which Statistics 1450 is a perquisite), while BS students complete a 2-course econometric sequence (for which Statistics 2450 is a perquisite).

In addition, under semesters, we will offer more advanced versions of Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics for prospective majors and minors (2001.02 and 2002.02). Our Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Macroeconomics courses (4001 and 4002) will be offered in 3 versions – non-calculus (400X.01), calculus (400X.02), and advanced-calculus (400X.03), with BS students required to take either the calculus or advanced calculus versions.

Students completing the BA under semesters will be required to take Math 1130, 1148 or the equivalent. Students completing the BS will be required to maintain a 2.25 GPA overall and in the major.


Co-Curricular Opportunities

There are many opportunities for economics students to work with faculty assisting with research. Many of our faculty hire undergraduate students to work on research projects by assisting with jobs such as data collection, information processing, and data analysis. Working with our renowned faculty provides a great experience for our undergraduate students to see economics in practice. Students also are able to develop one-on-one relationships with faculty members, which can prove especially beneficial when it is time to apply for that first job or to graduate school.

Our students have held numerous Washington Center internships, as well as internships at Federal Reserve banks and local companies such as American Electric Power and Nationwide Insurance. We have relationships with the National Association of Business Economists, Columbus Chamber of Commerce and several local law firms where our students have interned.


The Undergraduate Economics Society (UES)

The Undergraduate Economics Society is a student organization run by economics majors and advised by members of the faculty and staff. The UES provides students with a weekly forum to discuss current economic policy topics and to hear presentations on faculty member research. Representatives of business and government also are frequent guests and provide students with an important perspective on the role of economic thinking and policy. UES also provides the chance for students to network and make connections for internships and future job opportunities.


The Economics Learning Center (ELC)

The Department of Economics runs a tutoring service where students enrolled our courses can come to get free personal assistance with their course material from upper-level undergraduates, During the academic year, the ELC is open starting the 2nd full week of class from 9-5. All tutors can help with our principles and intermediate courses. Tutors will help with other courses subject to their ability. In addition, students who have completed our principles and intermediate courses with at least a B+ in each can apply to be tutors.


Honors & Scholars Programs

The Department of Economics has a strong honors program, and we are continually investing resources in the program. Honors students receive instruction from our faculty members in six different honors courses. Almost all honors students take the B.S. degree. Students from the honors program are well prepared for careers in law, economics, and business, and we have graduates now attending top programs in each of these areas. Our honors students also have been university nominees for the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Carnegie Endowment for Peace, and Truman scholarship competitions.


Career Prospects in Economics

The demand for people trained in economics has remained strong and a background in economics opens up a wide range of career options.  Our graduates are employed in banking as loan officers, account officers, credit investigators, and trust services. Economics majors also work in the insurance industry as agents, underwriters, claims adjusters, and brokers. Training in the field also leads to employment in industry as managers, buyers, economic analysts and consultants. Economics graduates work in the securities field as brokers, researchers, and managers. The government sector offers careers in tax, budget, and policy analysis as well as legislative support. The economics degree is a great stepping-stone to teaching positions in the social sciences. An undergraduate degree in economics provides an excellent base for graduate work in any of the social sciences. It also is excellent preparation for work in professional schools such as law and business administration.