Northeastern University
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Boston, MA 02115-5000

phone: 617.373.2882
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Undergraduate Coordinator - Professor Neil Alper
Undergraduate Handbook, 2014-15.pdf

Economics is the study of how societies produce and exchange goods and services to satisfy material needs. Economists analyze the process of economic growth and identify policies that contribute to economic stability and progress.

In the economics program students examine the sources of economic growth--how societies produce more of what they need. Undergraduates study economics as part of a broad interest in the social sciences to develop specialized skills useful in today's complex labor market. The major in economics is a good foundation for graduate studies in advanced economics, public policy, law, or business.

Macroeconomics, which focuses on the overall economy, deals with such problems as inflation, unemployment, growth and instability, economic development, and governmental monetary and fiscal policies.

Microeconomics examines the economic behavior of individuals, households, firms, industries, and trade among countries. It seeks to assess the economic effects of market power and environmental damage and analyzes the economic aspects of natural resources, poverty, health, income distribution, trade unions, and government regulation.

Courses in economics cover international trade; the behavior of families, firms, and industries in the market economy; the environmental costs of growth; and the economic aspects of natural resources, poverty, health, labor market discrimination affecting women and minorities, trade unions, and governmental oversight. International and comparative perspectives are emphasized, most directly in courses in economic development of the Third World and economic history.

Graduates may find jobs in federal, state, and local governments, major corporations, or financial institutions. Their work may involve planning and forecasting, assessing labor needs, and making financial studies. They may estimate consumer demand for new products, conduct research, teach, or provide specialized consulting services.

The Traditional Major

There are two options for the student interested in obtaining a "traditional" undergraduate degree in Economics. A student may elect to major in economics and earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. The B.S. degree in economics provides students with a traditional course of study focused on learning and applying economic tools of analysis to the real world. It balances economic theory with its application to issues and problems that students are likely to confront throughout their lives. The B.A. degree is also focused on the same fundamentals and real world issues, but it is designed to provide students with a greater exposure to a more traditional liberal arts education than the B.S. degree. Both degrees are excellent preparation for the world of work, in the near and long term, and for graduate school, whether in economics, business law, or some other area.

BS/BA/MA in Economics

The combined BS/BA/MA program in Economics provides the opportunity for the best of Northeastern's undergraduate economics majors to complete both the undergraduate degree program (BS or BA) and the professional program (MA) in economics in less time than if the programs were completed sequentially.