Economics

  • Jane Pietrowski, department head
    Amy McCormick Diduch, Judy Klein

    Economics is available as a major (BA or BS) and a minor. Through the lens of economics, students attain an extraordinarily powerful and flexible set of tools. Economics majors develop highly desired skills such as analytical thinking, research, quantitative reasoning, and an understanding of computer technology. The economics department offers an excellent combination of the liberal arts and career preparation.

    This major requires a substantial portion of the coursework to be completed at the Staunton campus.

  • Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Economics

    36 semester hours
    ECON 101
    ECON 102
    ECON 303
    ECON 304
    INT 222
    ECON/POLS 301
    ECON 395
    ECON 401
    Three electives in economics
    MATH 171 or MATH 211

    Note: Economics majors are strongly advised to take BUAD 208, INT 251, MATH 211, and MATH 212.

    Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Economics

    53–55 semester hours
    All of the requirements listed for the BA, plus the following:
    MATH 211
    MATH 212
    MATH 301 or MATH 306
    Two 200-level lab science courses

    Requirements for the Minor in Economics

    18 semester hours
    ECON 101
    ECON 102
    ECON 303 or ECON 304
    INT 222
    Two of the following: ECON 115, ECON 150, ECON/WS 180, ECON 210, ECON 221, ECON 232, ECON 247, ECON 250, ECON 253, ECON 254, ECON 277, ECON/POLS 301, ECON 303, ECON 304, ECON 325, or ECON 395

    Minor in Environmental Policy Analysis
    Please see Environmental Policy Analysis

    Honors Credit

    Honor Scholars who are comfortable with calculus may take ECON 101 and/or ECON 102 for Honors credit. Please see Professors Klein or Diduch for details. Econ 210 and Econ 250 are offered for honors credit and are open only to global honor scholars.

  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    Courses provide important tools for analysis of social problems. Courses include issues like root causes and possible responses to poverty, education, health care, the environment, women’s labor market participation, the impact of international trade on workers in developed and developing countries, and immigration. ECON 115, PHIL 140, and SOC 282, among others include service learning components. Relevant internships can be arranged.

  • 101 Principles of Microeconomics (3 s.h.) (S)
    Economics is the study of scarcity and choice in response to incentives. Students learn how economists analyze choices, how markets determine prices and quantities exchanged, and how individuals and businesses make optimal decisions. Students gain skills in cost-benefit analysis, the process of logical thought behind basic economic models, using graphs as analytical tools, and interpreting articles on markets and decision-making.

    102 Principles of International and Macroeconomics (3 s.h.) (I)
    Students learn how economists measure economic performance, how national economies function and how to analyze national and international economic government policies. Students learn basic economic theories of international trade and finance and explore controversies surrounding exchange rates. Students learn the advantages and disadvantages of specialization and discuss how trade policy can be seen as beneficial or harmful to development. *Prerequisite: ECON 101.

    115 Poverty, Inequality, and Welfare (3 s.h.) (D)
    This course focuses on methods of defining and examining the extent of income inequality and poverty in the United States and engages in the public policy debates surrounding such issues as welfare reform, discrimination and labor market difficulties of low-skilled workers. Students gain the critical thinking skills necessary to assess poverty programs and policies.

    150 Experimental Economics (3 s.h.) (S)
    Through highly interactive games and experiments, students participate in market decision-making, bargaining, and auctions, analyze experimental results, and determine whether models predict actual behavior. Students learn models of supply and demand, market structure, public goods, and basic techniques of game theory.

    180 Women and Economics (3 s.h.) (G, W)
    Explores the sexual division of labor, the value of women’s work, and the economics of gender and race through anthropological, economic, and historical studies on women’s status in other cultures. For the US examines theories and data on the career/family tradeoff, and recent changes in labor force participation, fertility rates, marital status, poverty rates, and gender differentials in income. Requirements satisfied: writing emphasis, and women’s studies. Cross listed as WS 180.

    210 Food, Population, and Technology (3 s.h.) (T, R)
    An honors colloquium that explores how societies’ wealth, well-being, and culture are interwoven with population density and food production and distribution. Students read historical, anthropological, and economic studies to examine stages of development in agricultural production, cross-cultural comparisons of food consumption, factory-farming versus organic farming, solutions to world hunger. Research papers and field trips complement seminar discussions on food and population policies. *Prerequisite: Global Honor Scholar status.

    221 Markets in American History (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see HIST 221 in the History listing.

    222 Social Science Statistics (3 s.h.) (Q)
    For course description, see INT 222 in the Interdisciplinary Studies listing.

    232 Topics in Economic Development (3 s.h.) (I)
    This seminar critically examines the goals of economic development, measurements and indicators of progress and growth for less developed countries, and policies directed toward development (including the concept of sustainable development). We discuss progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and policy options for agriculture, education, women’s rights, health care, and international trade. *Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 102.

    247 Globalization and Labor Issues (3 s.h.) (I)
    This course addresses the concerns of workers on a global scale: how changes in international trade, business practices and national economic policies affect employment, wages, unionization, child labor, and immigration. Students discuss the determinants of labor demand and supply, the benefits and costs of education and job training, and the impact of low wages in developing economies on developed country wages. Cross listed as BUAD 247. *Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 102.

    250 Economics, Science, and Literature of Seasonal Rhythms (3 s.h.)
    An honors colloquium that explores yearly seasonal rhythms of nature and commerce through a variety of means: designing sundials, studying calendars of different cultures, and reading ancient texts, scientific reports, and literature. Students should be receptive to the blending of scientific observation, geometry, quantitative reasoning, and humanist sensitivity that the course intends to cultivate. *Prerequisites: Math 159 or higher-level math and Honor Scholar status.

    253 International Trade (3 s.h.) (I, W)
    This course examines the importance of, the size of, and the directions in foreign trade within the world economy. Gains from trade, trade theory and policy, and barriers to trade will be studied. Class discussions focus on current issues in world trade. Students complete a series of research papers on the international exchange of one particular commodity. Writing emphasis. *Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 102.

    254 International Finance (3 s.h.) (I)
    This course examines the finance of international trade and investment and the channels and institutions of world capital flows. Focus will be on models of exchange rate systems, international policy coordination and the changing roles of the IMF and the World Bank, and the growth of international debt. Students follow international financial events and discuss current policy issues. *Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 102.

    277 Economics Colloquium (3 s.h.)
    This course provides the opportunity for the extensive study of a special topic in which students have expressed particular interest. The topic will change each time the course is offered. In recent years, topics have included social science research on the Internet; economic transition from socialism to capitalism; and environmental policy.

    301 Advanced Data Analysis (3 s.h.) (Q)
    Applied statistics builds on social science statistics. Students use data, theoretical models, and statistical techniques to explore relationships between variables, use computer graphics and exploratory data analysis to examine economic, social, and financial data. Technical topics include index numbers, forecasting, time series analysis, regression, correlation. Research projects involve data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation of results. Cross listed as POLS 301. *Prerequisite: INT 222.

    303 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory (3 s.h.)
    This course presents the analytical methods of consumer choice theory and the theory of the firm, including the use of indifference curves and budget constraints, welfare analysis of perfectly competitive markets, cost minimization, applications of game theory, implications of market structure for profit and output, and the impact of government policies on decisions of consumers and businesses. *Prerequisite: ECON 101.

    304 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory (3 s.h.)
    This course examines the phenomena of unemployment, inflation, economic growth and the business cycle. In each case, measurement, trends, patterns, forecasts, and theories will be studied. The course develops the foundations of classical and Keynesian economic theory and then applies these theories to government policy. *Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 102.

    320 Economics and Finance of Health Care Systems (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see HCA 320 in the Health Care Administration listing.

    325 Economic Policy Seminar (3 s.h.)
    Students analyze issues and policies most in the news, focusing on five or six areas of critical economic policy debate. Recent topics: antitrust, environmental economics, economics of crime prevention, professional sports, low-income housing, inflation policy, social security reform, and NAFTA. Policy applications of economic principles are examined and critiqued through class discussions, journal writing, and a series of essays. *Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 102, and one additional ECON course.

    395 Topics in Economic Theory (2 s.h.)
    Topics in Economic Theory allows advanced economics students to engage in discussions of important discoveries, controversies and analyses of interest to professional economists. Students will read academic journal articles and books that have led to significant developments in economic theory. Students will be responsible for leading class discussions of the readings.

    401 Senior Project (3 s.h.) (M)
    The Senior Project requires the economics major to design and implement a major independent research project on a topic of interest to the student. The project draws on a student’s mastery of economic theory and quantitative reasoning and results in two written and oral presentations. The student is expected to discuss an appropriate research topic with economics faculty before the beginning of the course.