Mar 16, 2018  
2016-2018 Catalog 
2016-2018 Catalog

Economics, B.A.

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Program of Study

The student majoring in economics will acquire a set of analytical tools and a way of thinking that will help him or her to better understand and predict the behavior of individuals, groups, and societies. Learning economics does for the undergraduate student what corrective lenses do for the person with impaired eyesight: it brings the world into focus. Things that were invisible become visible, the complex and hard-to-understand become simple and easily understood.

Economics is the study of human behavior as it relates to the condition of scarcity: that is, the condition where resources are limited in relation to human wants. An important part of economics is the study of how individuals, groups, and societies deal with scarcity through markets or exchange-like institutions. Economic theory is sufficiently powerful to explain many varieties of exchange relationships. This is evident in the number of fields in which economic analysis is currently utilized, such as business, history, law, psychology, political science, and sociology.

Economics has always been a highly respected field of study, but in the past three decades its reputation has soared. There are perhaps three major reasons for this change. First, many people have come to realize that economics plays an important role in their everyday lives. Recession, inflation, the exchange value of the dollar, the savings rate, interest rates, taxes, mergers, government expenditures, and economic growth all matter. These economic factors touch lives; they affect dreams. Second, economists have developed better tools and more refined methods of analysis: they have successfully extended their analytical apparatus and the economic way of thinking beyond the traditional confines of the science. Third, the one language that is becoming increasingly more universal is the language of economics. The American business person may not speak Japanese, and the Japanese business person may not speak English, but both of them know the language of supply and demand, profits, production, costs, international trade, and competition. Both of them know the language of economics.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics will be able to:

  1. Define, describe, interpret and apply the choice calculus of different economic entities (individuals, firms, groups, government).
  2. Describe, explain, and employ the economic way of thinking.
  3. Explain and analyze how markets work.
  4. Define, describe, and employ the scientific method to answering economic questions.
  5. Explain and analyze how the economy works.
  6. Apply the knowledge and methods in 1-5 to both formulate and answer economic questions.

Educational and Career Opportunities

The economics major provides the undergraduate student with a solid academic background for graduate study in a wide variety of areas. The most relevant areas include economics, business, and law. Career opportunities include positions in business, banking, journalism, government, law, and teaching. Economists are well-represented in occupations in both the private and public sectors. Students interested in knowing more about educational and career opportunities in economics are invited to speak with economics faculty members.


High school students are encouraged to take four years of English, three to four years of mathematics, and an economics course (if available).

Transfer Students

Students may transfer a maximum of six (6) lower-division semester units in economics and a maximum of (6) upper-division semester units in economics, which may be applied toward the economics major or minor. Three (3) of the six (6) lower-division semester units must be in a course that clearly fits the course description in this catalog for ECON 201 ; three (3) must be in a course that clearly fits the course description for ECON 202 . Upper-division semester units must be in courses that clearly fit the course description in this catalog for an upper-division level course and satisfy any conditions or prerequisites. However, all of the five required upper-division theory courses (ECON 301 , ECON 302 , ECON 303 , ECON 441  and ECON 471 ) must be completed at Cal State San Marcos. All transfer courses must at least be equal in scope, content, and level to the equivalent Cal State San Marcos course.

Recommended Course of Study for All Students

All economics students are required to complete their mathematics requirement (MATH 132  or MATH 160 ) prior to taking the core theory courses, and to complete MATH 242  before taking ECON 471 .

Recommended Course of Study for Students Intending Graduate Study

Students who intend to apply to do graduate work in economics should take MATH 160  instead of MATH 132 . These students are advised to speak to the department chair in economics at their earliest convenience for a suggested course of study to consist of completing additional mathematics courses, including MATH 162 , MATH 260 , MATH 262  or MATH 362 , and MATH 264  or MATH 374 .

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts and the Minor in Economics

All courses counted toward the major and the minor, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. No more than two (2) units of ECON 497 may be counted toward the major.

General Education (51 Units)

General Education Requirements 

Preparation for the Major (12-14 Units)

Non-Economics Supporting Courses (6-8 Units)


Three (3) lower-division units in Area B (Math and Science) and three (3) units of lower-division General Education  Area D (Social Sciences) are automatically satisfied by courses taken in Preparation for the Major.

Major Requirements (34 Units)

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120

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