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Courses & Curriculum


The Curriculum

A two-quarter introductory to economics, ECON 201 and 202, is the starting point for most economics students. The first quarter concentrates on macroeconomics, the second on microeconomics. These courses are very popular. Half of all Northwestern students, regardless of school, enroll in ECON 201.

Economics students are required to take, at a minimum, MATH 220-1, Single-Variable Differential Calculus. However, students are strongly advised to continue their study of calculus through the entire first-year calculus sequence (MATH 220-2, Single-Variable Integral Calculus and MATH 230-1, Multivariable Differential Calculus). Many students, especially those considering advanced work in economics, take additional mathematics courses. Students also take a course in probability and statistics.

The next step in an economics degree is a set of four intermediate courses that provide the tools for advanced and applied work. Most students take these courses in their second year or the spring quarter of their first year.  There is a two quarter sequence (ECON 310-1,2) in intermediate microeconomics, a course in intermediate macroeconomics (ECON 311), and a course in econometrics (ECON 281), the study of the use of statistical methods to analyze economic data.

In their third and fourth years, students apply the tools they have learned to a variety of economic problems. The department offers a wide range of courses each year and economics majors have to study at least six of these areas. Courses are offered in economic history, macroeconomics and banking, the labor market, taxation and public spending, competitive strategy, economic regulation, the environment, and the economics of education, health care and transportation. In addition, there are also advanced courses in economic theory and methods.

Sample schedule for Economics majors