Mathematical Economics

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. Haverford’s Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics enables students in both disciplines to not only gain proficiency in the other, but also to appreciate the ways in which they are related.

Students from a variety of backgrounds and career interests can benefit from completing the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics. For economics students who are interested in pursuing graduate study in economics, a strong mathematical background is essential. For mathematics students who are interested in pursuing graduate study in economics, exposure to advanced economics courses can be invaluable. A strong background in applied mathematics is also an asset for students going on to business school or graduate programs in public policy. Further still, many economics-related jobs in government, business and finance require strong quantitative skills. Students interested in these and many other positions are well-served by the concentration.

Learning Goals

Students in the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics will:

  • engage in theoretical and empirical analysis of economic problems using formal theoretical and empirical methods.
  • develop tools and techniques, including the use of formal arguments, numerical computations, and empirical analysis, to understand the logic, validity and robustness of various economic ideas.
  • recognize that most branches of modern economics use mathematics and statistics extensively, and that some important areas of mathematical research have been motivated by economic problems.
  • understand the complementarities between the two disciplines to gain proficiency in each, and appreciate the ways in which they are related.


Concentration Requirements

Students enrolling in the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics must major in either mathematics or economics.

For students majoring in mathematics, the Concentration requires six courses:

  • Three required economics courses:
    • ECON 105 or 106 (Introduction to Economics). (Students who, with permission of the Economics Department, place out of ECON 105/106, must replace ECON 105/106 with an economics elective at the 200 level or above.)
    • ECON 204 (Economic Statistics with Calculus), or an applied statistics course offered by the economics or mathematics department at an equivalent or higher level
    • ECON 300 (Intermediate Microeconomics)
  • One additional elective in economics at the 200 level or above.
  • Two mathematics electives on topics with significant relevance or applicability to economics. (Students may count these courses toward fulfillment of the mathematics major as well as the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics.)

For students majoring in economics, the Concentration requires six courses:

  • Three required mathematics courses:
    • MATH 121 (Multivariable Calculus) or MATH 216 (Advanced Calculus)
    • MATH 215 (Linear Algebra)
    • MATH 317 (Analysis I)
  • One additional elective in mathematics at the 200 level or above
  • Two economics electives involving significant applications of mathematical methods. (Students may count these courses toward fulfillment of the economics major as well as the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics.)

Students must consult with the concentration coordinator, or the economics or mathematics department representative (as appropriate), about selecting the electives for the concentration.

Additional Remarks

The Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics differs from the minors in mathematics and economics in a specific way: it focuses on the complementarities between the two disciplines; the minors in mathematics and economics are designed to provide a basic foundation in each discipline, but not necessarily an inter-disciplinary orientation.

A student majoring in economics may choose to pursue either the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics or a minor in mathematics, but not both. A student majoring in mathematics may choose to pursue either the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics or a minor in economics, but not both. A student double-majoring in economics and mathematics may not enroll in the area of Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics.


Related Courses

Below is a list of courses that have fulfilled the mathematics and economics elective requirements in previous years. This list is neither definitive nor exhaustive. It is subject to change. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with the concentration coordinator or department representative when choosing electives.

Mathematics Electives

  • MATH 210 Linear Optimization and Game Theory; cross-listed as ECON 210
  • MATH 218 Probability
  • MATH 222 Scientific Computing
  • MATH 231 Discrete Mathematics
  • MATH 328 Mathematical Statistics
  • MATH 340 Analysis of Algorithms
  • MATH 360 Mathematical Economics; cross-listed as ECON 360
  • MATH 396 Advanced Topics in Probability and Statistics

Economics Electives

  • ECON 210 Linear Optimization and Game Theory; cross-listed as MATH 210
  • ECON 237 Game Theory in Economics
  • ECON 355 Advanced Microeconomics: Uncertainty
  • ECON 360 Mathematical Economics; cross-listed as MATH 360
  • ECON 374 Jr. Research Seminar: Topics in Industrial Organization
  • ECON 377 Junior Research Seminar: Political Economy

Concentration Coordinators