Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Friday, May 24, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.
This catalog was created on Friday, May 24, 2019.
Lawrence economics students first acquire a basic knowledge of economic theories, principles, and techniques of analysis. They then apply them to a wide range of problems, from poverty and discrimination to macroeconomic stabilization policy and environmental degradation.
Students learn early on that modern economics is an application of mathematical modeling to the study of human behavior. The interdisciplinary mathematics-economics major provides a strong foundation for graduate work in economics, where mathematical aptitude is at a premium. This route also provides outstanding preparation for technical business careers, such as investment banking, management consulting, and finance.
Required for the economics major
- ECON 100 or 120
- MATH 140 or both MATH 120 and 130; MATH 207
- Intermediate Theory
- ECON 300
- ECON 320
- ECON 380
- Five additional six-unit courses numbered 200 or higher, three of which must be numbered 400-699 not including the Senior Experience requirement.
(Only one tutorial or independent study may count as one of these five courses.)
- Complete the Senior Experience in Economics requirement by taking ECON 601 or ECON 602 as described below.
- The grade-point average for the major will be computed from economics courses and from required mathematics courses. A C average is required.
Required for the interdisciplinary mathematics-economics major
The mathematics component of the major is:
- MATH 140, 150, 160, 207, 300, and 310
- Either MATH 435 or 445 and 6 units in a mathematics course numbered 400 or above, with 435, 440, 445, or 560 recommended
The economics component of the major is:
- ECON 100 or 120
- ECON 300, 320, and 380
(Majors must take all three courses prior to completion of the junior year. The department must approve any exception.)
- Any three six-unit courses numbered between 400 and 580 with those numbered 500 and above strongly recommended.
The interdisciplinary component of the major is:
- Completion of an independent study project that has been approved by both departments.
- A major must have an advisor in each department.
Required for the economics minor
- ECON 100 or ECON 300 (both microeconomics)
- ECON 120 or ECON 320 (both macroeconomics)
- Five additional six-unit courses, at least four of which must be economics courses numbered 200 or above and one that could be a mathematics course. (Only one tutorial or independent study may count as one of these five courses.)
- C average in the minor
ECON 100 and ECON 225 are excellent either as stand-alone courses or as gateways into the discipline.
For the economics or mathematics-economics major:
- Speak to a professor in the department about the selection of a coherent set of electives.
- Take MATH 140 or 120 and 130 as soon as possible. MATH 150 and MATH 210 are also recommended.
- Take ECON 100, a 200-level economics course, and then ECON 300.
- Take ECON 300 early if you have done well in its prerequisites.
- If you do not meet pre-requisites for any course, talk with the instructor and explicitly obtain consent.
- Students preparing for graduate work in economics, public policy, or business or those preparing for an M.B.A. in a quantitative field should plan to take a number of mathematics courses and should consult the economics faculty for advice. The mathematics-economics major is particularly well-suited for these students. Furthermore, students should take ECON 500 and ECON 520 as part of their preparation.
- Students preparing for a career in secondary-school teaching should check state certification requirements.
Course structure and numbering
ECON 100 and 120 are theory-based survey courses. ECON 100 is the best preparation for taking other economics courses, and most courses at the 200 level require only ECON 100. ECON 120 is an alternative to ECON 100, but it may not be adequate preparation for some 200-level courses.
The 200-level courses apply basic theory to particular fields of inquiry. Contingent on basic 100-level preparation, the economics department strives to make the 200-level courses accessible to as many students as possible.
The 300-level courses are intermediate theory courses geared toward economics majors, while the 400-level courses are advanced applications classes. The 500-level courses are graduate-school preparatory courses.
Senior Experience in Economics
The economics curriculum culminates with a one-term three-unit senior experience course required for all majors. Each year, two sections of the course will be offered. In one section (ECON 601), in which the students read a monograph by a formidable economist or a piece of central interest to economists and engage in active discussion, each student produces a term paper in reaction to the reading. In the paper, each student must relate the reading to theories and applications he or she studied in economics courses. The monograph will be selected by the faculty member teaching the course. This senior experience option is designed to mirror the Freshman Studies experience at the end of the student’s career at Lawrence. In the other section (ECON 602), each student is expected to produce a well-researched paper that stands up to the standards of the profession. To register for this section, students must already have a paper prepared in a 400-level course. Students must submit to the instructor a one-page proposal on how the previous paper will be improved, refined and polished in content and in form so that it stands up to the standards of the profession. The instructor’s approval of this proposal is a prerequisite for registration.
In addition to the two options described above, an entrepreneurial project may also be approved as a senior experience after early and in-depth consultation with the department chair and the student’s advisor. Students pursuing double majors, double degrees, and education certification, are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors and relevant department chairs to plan and negotiate their overall senior experience as early as possible, especially if they are interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary capstone that integrates their interests in both majors, or combines their student teaching with a project in their major.
Interdisciplinary mathematics-economics (economics-mathematics) majors may choose to meet their senior experience requirement by taking one of the above workshop senior experience courses or by satisfying the requirement of the Department of Mathematics for interdisciplinary mathematics-economics majors’ requirement. In either case, they will need to demonstrate the ability to combine topics in both disciplines – bringing appropriate techniques of mathematics or statistics to bear on the study of economics, or learning mathematics or statistics suggested by models in economics. Students who plan to complete this interdisciplinary major must have their senior experience proposal approved by one advisor in the Department of Mathematics and one in the Department of Economics prior to the term in which they plan to complete the experience.