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Cornell University    
  Aug 20, 2017
Courses of Study 2017-2018


In the College of Arts and Sciences .

Course Offerings  

Economics studies human behavior in many settings. At the household level, economics investigates how a household allocates its income across goods, and how a household chooses how much to work, spend, and save. At the market level, economics investigates consumer decisions (what to buy and how much to spend); decisions firms make about their production methods and levels of output; and how these decisions jointly determine market prices, structure, and performance. At the aggregate level, economics investigates the determinants of growth and fluctuations of national income, the determinants of inflation and unemployment, the nature of trade and financial flows between nations, and how all of these are influenced by government monetary and fiscal policy.

At its heart, however, economics is more than a set of questions, but rather is a mode of thought, a set of precise analytical tools that can be used to study a wide variety of social science problems. Students are introduced to these tools in the core methodology courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics. With these tools in hand, students are then able to study a wide variety of topics including labor-market outcomes, the role of the banking sector, the economics of developing countries, international trade, the role of the public sector and of the political process, economic history, and the study of health and education. In addition, students have the option for advanced methodological study in dynamic optimization, game theory, and econometrics.



L. Blume, chair; R. Smith, labor econ coord.; S. Coate, director of undergraduate studies; Y. Hong, director of graduate studies; J. Abowd; C. Barrett, L. Barseghyan, P. Barwick, K. Basu, M. Battaglini, G. Besharov, F. Blau, G. Boyer, J. Caunedo, J. Cawley, T. Denti, D. Easley, R. Ehrenberg, L. Falkson, G. Fields, K. Hallock, G. Hay, J.F. Houde, C. Huckfeldt, R. Hutchens, G. Jakubson, R. Jarrow, L. Kahn, R. Kanbur,  G. Karolyi, D. Kenkel, N. Kiefer, C. Lim, T. Lyons, D. McKee, T. Mitra, F. Molinari, K. Nimark, T. O’Donoghue, M. O’Hara, E. Patacchini, E. Prasad, E. Riehl, B. Salcedo, K. Shell, J. Stoye, M. Taschereau-Dumouchel, M. Thomas, S. Thomas, M. Troshkin, L. Vilhuber, J. Wissink. Emeritus: R. Arsonson, T. E. Davis, M. Majumdar, R. Masson, P. D. McClelland, R. E. Schuler, E. Thorbecke, J. Vanek, H. Y. Wan, Jr.

The Major

Admission to the Major:

Before applying for admission to the Economics Major, students must complete ECON 1110 , ECON 1120 , and MATH 1110  (or equivalents). Students who matriculated at Cornell before June 1, 2017 must have grades of C or better in ECON 1110 , ECON 1120 , and MATH 1110  (or equivalents). Students who matriculated at Cornell after June 1, 2017 must have grades of B- or better in ECON 1110  and ECON 1120  (or equivalents) and a grade of C or better in MATH 1110  (or equivalent). After completing these courses, see the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) for admission to the Major.


Twelve courses listed by the Department of Economics, or approved by the student’s major advisor, all with grades of C– or better (S–U grade option is not allowed).

These twelve courses must satisfy the following requirements:

(1) Econ 1110 and Econ 1120 count toward the 12 courses:

All other courses must be at the 3000-level or higher.

(2) All students must take:

(3) All students must take:

(4) All students must take:

Statistics and Econometrics in one of the following ways:

(i)   ECON 3110  and ECON 3120  OR

(ii)  ECON 3130  and ECON 3140  


Majors are strongly advised to complete requirements (2), (3), and (4) before the start of senior year.

(5) All students must take:

At least three courses at the 4000-level of higher.

(6) ECON 4990-4991:

The two-semester honors sequence can count as one course toward the twelve-course requirement.

In addition:

Credit for ECON 1110  and/or ECON 1120  can be obtained in the following ways: (i) taking these courses at Cornell, (ii) taking equivalent courses at another college or university and transferring the credit to Cornell, (iii) receiving a score of 4 or better on the associated A.P. Exam (A.P. Microeconomics for Econ 1110, A.P. Macroeconomics for Econ 1120), (iv) receiving a score of A on the GCE “A” Level Examination in Economics, and (v) receiving a score of 6 or 7 on the IB Higher-Level Examination in Economics. Note that ECON 1110  or ECON 1120  will count toward the 12 Economics courses required for the Major only if the student receives official Cornell credit for the course.

ECON 4999  cannot be counted toward the twelve-course requirement.

To obtain major credit for courses taken away from Cornell (including study abroad), please see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

For further details, including a long list of FAQs, see the Economics Department website.

Major Rules for Transfer Students

Special rules apply for students who transfer to Cornell from another college or university — see the Economics Department website for details. Transfer students who plan to complete an Economics Major must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to determine what transferred courses will apply to the requirements for the Economics Major.

Honors Program

Graduation in economics with honors requires the successful completion of an honors thesis in a year-long senior seminar. Students should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies before May of their junior year for more information.

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