- ECON 104, 105 or 106
- ECON 203 or 204
- ECON 300 or 302
- Three other economics courses at the 200 and/or 300 levels.
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.
The introductory courses, ECON 104, 105 or 106, introduce at an elementary level the building blocks of microeconomic theory, the study of the behavior of individuals and firms and how they interact in markets for goods, services, labor, and assets, and macroeconomic theory, the study of 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. These courses provide an overview of economics and a strong foundation for more advanced work in economics.
The intermediate (200-level) courses offer material on many different economic topics. These courses require ECON 104, 105 or 106 as a prerequisite, and are designed to be useful to non-majors as well as minors and majors. They encompass such diverse subjects as environmental economics, microfinance, law and economics, women in the labor market, crises, economic development of China and India, and game theory.
Methods courses, which include ECON 203 (Statistical Methods in Economics) or ECON 204 (Economic Statistics with Calculus) followed by ECON 304 (Introduction to Econometrics), give students the necessary methodological training to understand empirical research described in contemporary economics articles and to conduct their own original research.
Advanced theory courses, ECON 300, Intermediate Microeconomic Theory, and ECON 302, Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory, follow up on the introductory theory course but offer more in-depth and mathematical treatments of these theoretical concepts, which are the building blocks for modern economic thought and research.
The advanced (300-level) elective courses involve a more technically sophisticated approach to analyzing a variety of economic issues. These topics courses include such diverse areas as behavioral economics, natural resource economics, international trade, and economics of uncertainty. These advanced topics courses normally require some combination of ECON 203, 300, 302, and 304 as prerequisites, and they are designed primarily for economics minors and majors and those who expect to make use of economics in their professional careers. In most of these courses, a substantial paper is an important part of the requirement.
Students may count most courses in the Bryn Mawr Economics Department toward the Haverford economics minor and major (with the exception of courses at the 100 level, excluding ECON 105). Some courses have different numbering across the campuses, in particular the Haverford courses: ECON 203/304 (Economics 257 at Bryn Mawr), ECON 300 (Economics 200 at Bryn Mawr), and ECON 302 (Economics 202 at Bryn Mawr). The two economics departments plan their course schedules jointly so that they can offer the maximum variety of economics courses across the two campuses. In order to count a course toward the major or minor requirements, the student must earn a grade of 2.0 or higher. Students with strong economics backgrounds may place out of ECON 104/105/106 through a placement test, but they will be required to take an extra elective to complete the major.
Students who plan to apply to graduate programs in public policy or business should take additional math courses through at least MATH 121 (Multivariable Calculus III) and at least one computer science course. Similarly, students who are planning to apply to Ph.D. programs in economics should take mathematics through at least MATH 215 (Linear Algebra) and MATH 317 (Analysis I). Economics majors also have the option to pursue the Concentration in Mathematical Economics.
The senior thesis at Haverford College is the culmination of a four-year learning process during which students develop their scholarly interests and become independent thinkers. The year-long, two-semester Senior Research Seminar in Economics (ECON 396) imparts skills and techniques essential to students undertaking original independent research projects. The first (fall) semester includes skill development related to thesis writing, data collection and management, and critical analysis. By the end of the fall semester, students develop an original research idea/project that is the basis of the senior thesis. During the second semester students work closely with a faculty adviser to complete an original economics research paper which contributes to the field of knowledge in which the thesis is located.
A detailed description of the format, goals, and assessment criteria for the senior experience can be found in the complete departmental statement in the Catalog (PDF).
The department invites economics majors whose grade point average in economics courses at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, and Swarthmore at the beginning of the second semester of the senior year is 3.60 or higher to become a candidate for the degree with honors in economics. The faculty awards honors or high honors on the basis of a student’s performance in all economics courses, including those in the second semester of senior year, and in an oral examination by department faculty focused on the student’s senior thesis.
Mathematics and economics are complementary disciplines. Most branches of modern economics use mathematics and statistics extensively, and some important areas of mathematical research have been motivated by economic problems. Economists and mathematicians have made important contributions to each other's disciplines. Economist Kenneth Arrow, for example, did path-breaking work in the field of mathematical optimization; and in 1994 mathematician John Nash was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for introducing a theory of equilibrium in non-cooperative games that has become central to contemporary economic theory. Haverford's Concentration in Mathematical Economics enables students in each of the disciplines not only to gain proficiency in the other, but also to understand the ways in which they are related and complementary.
Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania have formed a partnership that enables qualified Haverford undergraduates to gain early and expedited admission into a Master’s degree offered by Penn Engineering.
Study for four years at Haverford, then one year at Penn, enables the student to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Haverford and a Master’s in engineering from Penn. Haverford is the first liberal arts college in the world to enter into such an agreement with an Ivy League engineering program.
*We have a very tiny magic 8 ball.