Major Programs in Economics
The Department of Economics offers a broad course of study in economic theory and applied economics. The study of economics is an important foundation for students' general understanding of modern history and society. Barnard major programs in economics also prepare students for graduate work in economics, business, law, public administration, and international relations, as well as for careers in business, finance, and government. The aims of the programs are: (i) to foster a critical understanding of economics and its relation to other disciplines; and (ii) to develop students' mastery of modern economic theory and its tools of analysis. See our FAQs page for How to Declare a Major in our department.
The Five Majors or Major tracks in Economics
The Economics department supports five different majors:
1. Economics (Economics Track)
2. Economics (Political Economy Track)
4. Economic and Social History
We also offer a Minor in Economics
The department also offers a 4+1 Bachelor/Master's program in Economics and Operations Research in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) at Columbia University. This option is by application only and is very competitive.
The best way to understand the difference between them is to begin by understanding the first track, since the other four are variations designed to allow students to focus more attention on those dimensions of economics that connect up with Political Science, Mathematics, History, and Statistics respectively. All five majors are constructed around a common core. All five provide excellent preparation for graduate study in Business, Law, Public Administration, and International Affairs, as well as Economics.
A strong minor in Economics, including mainly courses from the common core and quantitative dimension of the major, will also prepare you adequately for most graduate programs. A strong minor in Economics together with a strong mathematics program will serve as good preparation for a PhD in Economics.
The important thing in choosing a major is to choose something that appeals to your curiosity and interests. You are more likely to be admitted to programs of graduate study if you have good grades in your major, whatever it is, than if you have lower grades in an Economics major. Equally, your job prospects immediately after the BA depend more on the specific courses you have taken than on your major.