Economics studies the allocation of resources between competing and alternative uses. Students gain an understanding of consumer and firm-level decision making and how the economic system functions and can be influenced. It is both a rigorous and flexible program of study that provides analytical tools and aids in the student’s development of problem-solving skills for economic analysis, while allowing individuals the opportunity to explore specific areas of interest in various fields of economics. Majors study macroeconomics, which addresses issues such as the level of output and prices, inflation, and unemployment within the economy; microeconomics, which pertains to how consumers make purchase decisions and utilize their time as well as how firms make decisions on what to produce and who to employ; and econometrics, which provides the technical tools to estimate economic models from data and to forecast economic outcomes. Application areas include such topics as health care, sports, tax policy, financial markets, international marketing and trade, and natural resources. The following options are available:
- The agricultural economics option deals with economic issues related to food and fiber supply and demand and the natural resource base that supports agricultural production and societal needs. Students will have expertise applicable to public decision making and private decisions of farms, ranches, and agribusinesses.
- The environmental and resource economics option trains students to make informed decisions while carefully weighing the trade-offs between protecting, restoring, developing, and allocating natural resources.
- The business economics option trains students to use economic concepts to better understand the management, marketing, and finance problems faced by businesses operating in a market system.
- The financial markets option provides students with solid, analytical training in the substantial overlap between economics and finance. The option requires coursework that focuses on the analysis of financial markets.
- The international economics and development option provides students an understanding of how policies, institutions and endowments influence physical, human, and natural capital accumulation which leads to the emergence of poor and rich communities and countries.
- The economics, policy and law option provides students with the analytical skills used in law school and policy-making including those used in tax, law, regulation, program, policy and project arenas.
- The quantitative economics option provides students with the skills to understand and use more advanced statistical and mathematical models, preparing them for careers involving data analysis or for advanced education — such as a PhD in economics or related field.
In all options students combine course work in economic sciences with courses outside the school of economic sciences. According to their individual interests, students supplement their economic sciences training with elective coursework in the areas of business, agriculture, mathematics, history, and political science.