Director of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Susan Elmes, 1006 International Affairs Building; 854-9124; firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Departmental Honors Program: Dr. Susan Elmes, 1006 International Affairs Building; 854-9124; email@example.com
Departmental Advisers: For a list of Economics Department advisers for the major, concentration, and interdepartmental majors, please see the department website.
Departmental Office: 1022 International Affairs Building (IAB); 854-3680
Associate Professors (continued)
Economics is the study of the ways in which society allocates its scarce resources among alternative uses and the consequences of these decisions. The areas of inquiry deal with a varied range of topics such as international trade, domestic and international financial systems, labor market analysis, and the study of less developed economies. Broadly speaking, the goal of an economics major is to train students to think analytically about social issues and, as such, provide a solid foundation for not only further study and careers in economics, but also for careers in law, public service, business, and related fields.
The Economics Department offers a general economics major in addition to five interdisciplinary majors structured to suit the interests and professional goals of a heterogeneous student body. All of these programs have different specific requirements but share the common structure of core theoretical courses that provide the foundation for higher-level elective courses culminating in a senior seminar. Students are urged to carefully look through the details of each of these programs and to contact an appropriate departmental adviser to discuss their particular interests.
Tests must be taken in both microeconomics and macroeconomics, with a score of 5 on one test and at least a 4 on the other. Provided that this is achieved, the department grants 4 credits for a score of 4 and 5 on the AP Economics exam along with exemption from ECON W1105.
The Department of Economics offers a variety of advising resources to provide prospective and current undergraduate majors and concentrators with the information and support needed to successfully navigate through the program. These resources are described below.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a first step, students are encouraged to visit the department's FAQ page, which provides comprehensive information and answers to the most frequently asked questions about the department majors and requirements. This page also includes a section that answers specific questions of first-years, sophomores, and non-majors.
Graduate Student Advisers
For answers to the most common questions that students have about the major, the department has graduate student advisers, who are available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or during weekly office hours to meet with students.
Students should direct all questions and concerns about their major to the graduate student advisers either in person or via email. The graduate student advisers can discuss major requirements, scheduling, and major course selection, as well as review student checklists and discuss progress in the major. Occasionally, graduate student advisers may refer a student to someone else in the department (such as the director of undergraduate studies) or in the student's school for additional advising.
Contact information and office hours for the graduate student advisers are posted on the Advisers page of the departmental website in the week prior to the beginning of the semester. Students considering one of the interdepartmental majors should speak to both a graduate student adviser from the Economics Department and the adviser from the other department early in the sophomore year.
Faculty advisers are available to discuss student's academic and career goals, both in terms of the undergraduate career and post-graduate degrees and research. Students wishing to discuss these types of substantive topics may request a faculty adviser by completing the form available on the Advisers page of the departmental website and depositing it in the mailbox of the director of undergraduate studies in the department main office, 1022 International Affairs Building.
The department does its best to match students with faculty members that share similar academic interests. While faculty advisers do not discuss major requirements—that is the role of the graduate student advisers—they do provide guidance in course selection as it relates to meeting a student's intellectual goals and interests, as well as advise on career and research options. It is recommended that students who plan on attending a Ph.D. program in economics or are interested in pursuing economics research after graduation, request a faculty adviser.
Economics majors and economics joint majors who wish to be considered for departmental honors in economics must:
- Have at least a 3.7 GPA in their major courses
- Take ECON W4999 Honors thesis workshop (a one-year course)
- Receive at least a grade of A- in ECON W4999.
Students must consult and obtain the approval of the departmental undergraduate director in order to be admitted to the workshop. Please note that ECON W4999 may be taken to fulfill the seminar requirement for the economics major and all economics joint majors. Students who wish to write a senior thesis (W4999) must have completed the core major requirements and speak with the director of undergraduate studies in the spring semester of their junior year. Normally no more than 10% of the graduating majors in the department each year may receive departmental honors. Please see the departmental honors section in the department FAQ page for more information.
All prize recipients are announced at the end of the spring semester each academic year.
Sanford S. Parker Prize
Established in 1980, this prize is awarded annually to a Columbia College graduating student who majored or concentrated in economics and plans on continuing his or her studies in an economics Ph.D. program within the two years following his or her graduation.
Established in 1997, this prize is awarded annually to two students (Columbia College or General Studies) majoring in economics: one for the best honors thesis paper, and the other for the best economics seminar paper.
Students can access useful information on-line, including: a comprehensive FAQ page; requirement changes to the major and concentration; sample programs and checklists; faculty office hours, contact information and fields of specialization; adviser information; teaching assistant information; research assistant opportunities; list of tutors; and Columbia-Barnard Economics Society information.