Why Economics at URI?
A college education is a substantial investment. Your choice of a major and course selections are among the most important decisions you will make, as they will have a major bearing on the return to your education investment. Should you major or minor in Economics, or take Economics courses, you will gain a great deal of insight into how the world works, be provided with training in rigorous qualitative and quantitative analysis, and develop valuable perspectives on
today's pressing public policy issues.
Your college years are a time for you to develop work habits
and a portfolio of skills that include communications, computer,
quantitative, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. You will have
the opportunity to master these skills in the courses offered in the Economics
Department. A recent graduate wrote:
"The most important skills are good computer skills, research
skills, and problem solving skills. I know it sounds cliché, but it is crucial
that you have good problem solving skills, almost more so than anything else. My
leaders know that when they give us something to do, we are able to figure
it out without having to bother them at every step. We're not expected to know everything, but to know what to do
when you don't know something."
The Department of Economics offers two undergraduate degrees
, a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) and a Bachelor of Science (B.S). You should consult with the Chair
of the Department about these programs to determine which is best suited for your background and career interests.
The Department's goal in both programs is to prepare
students for fulfilling careers and lifetime learning. Undergraduate
training in Economics provides a liberal arts education that prepares students
for a wide array of interesting career options including:
- Graduate work in
business, law, environmental studies, health care administration, public
- Employment in banking and financial services, education, management
trainee programs, government administration, and public service
Majoring in Economics is valuable because graduate schools and employers often view graduation with an economics degree as evidence of your ability to think logically and critically and your mastery of basic quantitative skills. It also provides a good background for many jobs in business, management, and government. Surveys of college graduates indicate that the starting salaries of economics majors are among the highest for all business and social science degrees.
A minor can be a useful way of signaling to prospective employers or graduate schools areas of strength related to your major. For example, if you are an Economics major with a minor in Mathematics or Computer Science, this will demonstrate your quantitative skills to potential employers and graduate schools. Minors in Political Science, Finance, or Marine Affairs will be reflective of your areas of interest.
If you are not an Economics major, a minor in Economics will send a powerful signal to potential employers or graduate schools that you understand the economic perspective and that you possess some of the basic analytical and quantitative skills are developed in economics courses.
General Education Courses
The University has a general education program that requires students to take a specified number of courses in Communications, Fine Arts and Literature, Mathematics, Letters, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. The department offers five courses that satisfy the University's general education requirements:
- Introduction to Economics (ECN100)
- Introduction to Microeconomics (ECN201)
- Introduction to Microeconomics (ECN202)
- Radical Critiques of Contemporary Political Economy (ECN381)
- Research Methods (ECN306)
In these courses you will be exposed to the "economic way of thinking." If you are considering taking one of these courses, you should talk to the instructor about their particular section or view their syllabus on the web. There is a considerable range across class sections in mathematical content, general approach, and teaching style. You should make an informed choice that will work best for you.