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Haverford College
Department of Economics


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The study of economics provides a basis for understanding and evaluating economic behavior and relations at all levels of society.

Microeconomics focuses on the behavior of individuals and firms and how they interact in markets for goods, services, labor, and assets. Macroeconomics focuses on the behavior of aggregate economic variables, such as GNP, the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, the interest rate, and the budget deficit, and how they relate at the economy-wide level. Other areas of economics focus on specific aspects of micro- and macroeconomics as they are applied to diverse situations and economies around the world.

Introductory Courses

Most of modern economics is structured around a common set of theoretical ideas and analytic methods that unify the field. These tools aid in understanding both how the economic world works and how it can be affected by public policies and world events. Introduction to Economics (ECON105) and Introduction to Economics with Calculus (ECON106) introduce and develop these ideas and methods at an elementary level while also presenting information about markets, economies, and governmental policy that is important to a liberal education. These courses provide an overview of economics and a strong foundation for more advanced work in economics. Students who come to Haverford with a strong background in Economics may place out of Introductory Economics courses by taking and passing a placement exam.

Intermediate & Advanced Courses

Econmics ClassroomThe intermediate (200 level) courses offer material on many different economic topics. These courses require Economics 105/106 as a prerequisite and are designed to be useful to non-majors as well as minors and majors. Finally, the advanced (300 level) courses involve a much more technically sophisticated approach to analyzing many of the same economic topics. These normally require some combination of Economics 203, 300, 302 and 304 as prerequisites and are designed primarily for economics minors and majors and those who expect to make use of economics in their professional careers. In most of the advanced courses, a substantial paper is an important part of the requirements.

Junior Research Seminars, Senior Thesis

Junior Research Seminars are semester-long research seminars which junior majors take to develop their research skills. They are developed around a topic, for example labor market discrimination. In these small seminar courses professors will guide their students as they examine current research in the area, learn the relevant research techniques, and conduct original projects. These electives, depending on the topic, will require Economics 203, Economics 300 and/or Economics 302, and possibly Economics 304. These courses should be taken in the second semester of junior year, or possibly in the first semester of senior year. The culminating experience in the economics major is the senior thesis, written as part of a year-long senior research seminar. The first semester is a group seminar in which students learn salient research skills, listen to and critique work of guest economics speakers, and develop their own research question. During the second semester students conduct original and independent economics research under the guidance of one of the economics faculty members.

Bi-College Interaction

Most courses offered by the Bryn Mawr economics department may be counted toward the Haverford economics minor and major. Similarly most Haverford economics courses may be counted toward the Bryn Mawr economics major. The two economics departments plan their course schedules jointly so that the maximum variety of economics courses can be offered across the two campuses.

Mathematics and Economics

economics classroomModern economics continues to expand in its use of mathematically sophisticated models and statistical techniques. Economics majors are required to take at least two semesters of college level calculus. In addition, students who are planning to apply to graduate programs in public policy or business are encouraged to take mathematics through at least Mathematics 121 (Multivariable Calculus) and at least one computer science course. Those who are planning to apply to Ph.D. programs in economics are strongly advised to take mathematics through at least Mathematics 215 (Linear Algebra) and Mathematics 317 (Analysis I). Economics majors also have the option of pursuing an area of concentration in matematical economics.

Statistics at Haverford

Haverford College offers a wide range of courses on statistical theory and applications. Click here to learn more.