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Earning an Economics Major

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Economics offers many useful skills students can use in the world today. Students in a major in economics learn to analyze economic interaction and human decision-making. Most economic concepts also apply to other topics ranging from family finances to international trade. Furthermore, students studying in an economics major are given extensive exposure to statistical analysis, research methods, national planning and much more.

In the field of economics, there are four main types of majors. The first two types of majors in economics are applied economics and business economics. These two types of classes prepare students for lucrative careers after graduation. Applied economics majors study world markets, micro and macroeconomics, statistics and economic policies. Business economics majors specialize in advanced global economics, international trade, and other related fields.

Students who choose to major in economics must decide which of these two major areas they would like to major in. Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer an excellent selection of both these majors. Most business majors will be interested in economics courses as part of their undergraduate degree. Students looking for the ideal economics major should consider which economics courses they would enjoy the most and which ones they would like to explore.

Those wishing to pursue graduate studies in economics should investigate which graduate schools offer the best economics programs. A prospective graduate student must do his or her research to find a top-notch graduate school. Students may begin their search at the four best graduate schools – Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and California – and work their way from there. Here is a brief overview of each of these schools and what students can expect to learn upon entering the program:

Harvard University boasts one of the world’s best undergraduate majors – public policy. Students in the economics department focus on pursuing an undergraduate degree in economics and learn about economic growth, global economics, and the politics of economic policy. Public policy majors often go on to pursue graduate studies in economics, either focusing on the presidential administration, legislative leadership, or economic policy, while many go on to become professors at world-famous academic institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, California, and Yale.

At the other end of the spectrum are students who enjoy working directly with the public. Public policy graduates who pursue graduate degrees in public policy often go on to pursue advanced degrees such as political science and law at the nation’s Ivy League universities. Students in this path typically study economics, as well as taxation, because public policies affect every person. A few advanced degrees that provide valuable public sector economics degrees include the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, the College of Medicine at the University of Texas at Austin, and the School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Graduates from undergraduate programs who major in economics may choose to further their studies by earning one of three graduate degrees. The first, a master of public policy, provides students with an advanced understanding of how policies affect society. Students learn about how changes in government policy affect the individual, as well as how public policies affect organizations, businesses, and governments at both the state and federal levels. The second graduate degree, a PhD in economics, generally requires two to four years of graduate study at an institution that is accredited by The National Association for Schools of Business. Finally, a doctorate in economics provides students with a detailed accounting and research background in the area of macroeconomics.

Earning a degree in economics does not require a large amount of time, since most students complete their undergraduate work in four years. Students can expect to take about three years to complete their degrees, depending on which graduate programs they choose. For students who plan on attending graduate schools instead of going straight into the graduate program, it may be necessary to take less than one year to complete an economics major, depending on the number of elective courses required. However, these days more students are electing to participate in graduate school rather than earn a master’s degree in economics, and students will still have the opportunity to take additional advanced courses in the field of macroeconomics.

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