Undergraduate Programs

Economics is the science which studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics majors explore how producers, distributors, and consumers make their decisions. Majors also analyze the events that shape and result from these decisions. Inflation, unemployment, taxation, money and banking, efficiency, international exchange, and growth are some of the many parts of this complex system studied through the economics major at SDSU.

The Department of Economics offers two emphases which students may select to satisfy a wide range of career goals: (1) International Economics, where students can focus on worldwide economic policy and global business; and (2) Public Policy, in which students prepare for graduate study in law school, health administration, and business administration. A specialization in Quantitative Analysis is also offered which focuses on developing analytical and mathematical skills for conducting economic research. A fourth option is the comprehensive program offered in the general economics major, which provides breadth by covering areas from the emphases and specialization.

Economics majors may find employment in government, financial institutions, business, and international agencies. The combination of an economics major with a business minor provides a foundation for a variety of careers. And, students interested in studying the developing nations, the environment, government policies, or population will find that economics is a useful approach. Many entry-level positions in business and government are available to students with a bachelor’s degree in economics. A graduate may find employment as a research, statistical, data, or pricing analyst. There are management trainee positions with banks, savings and loan associations, or other lending institutions.

The mission of the undergraduate program is to provide a high-quality liberal arts educational experience for students. As part of a liberal arts degree, the economics department helps students develop skills in critical thinking, effective oral and written communication, and quantitative analysis. We endeavor to prepare interested students for advanced studies in economics and related fields, as well as foster an appreciation for lifelong learning in all our students. Through these efforts, we strive to cultivate informed and productive citizens.

In order to meet the program mission, the economics department has defined the following program goals that students are expected to meet through completion of the degree

  1. Use appropriate economic vocabulary, models and concepts to conduct economic analysis

  2. Compare and contrast varying schools of economic thought, recognizing the limitations of economic models and methods.

  3. Effectively communicate economic ideas using a variety of techniques to a wide range of audiences.

  4. Apply the scientific method to economic problems and be able to complete empirical economic analysis.

The path to completing the program goals is set within the following specific degree learning outcomes:

Goal 1: Use appropriate economic vocabulary, models and concepts to conduct economic analysis

The following DLOs are nested within Goal 1
DLO 1.1:   Knowledge of markets: Explain the Laws of Supply and Demand, and how markets and prices act as allocative mechanisms; apply the concept of equilibrium at the macro- and micro-economic levels.

DLO 1.2:   Analyze micro choices: Use opportunity cost and marginal analysis to analyze the impact economic trade-offs on personal choices, business decisions, and government policy, including identifying potential unintended consequences and how incentives affect the success or failure of policies to achieve intended outcomes.

DLO 1.3:   Analyze macro policy: Explain the roles of major government agencies, including the Federal Reserve, in determining economic policy, and analyze the impact of fiscal and monetary policies on macroeconomic indicators (such as inflation, unemployment and GDP).

DLO 1.4:   Analyze economic growth: Evaluate the relative contributions of the major determinants of economic growth.

DLO 1.5:   Analyze international economic transactions: Analyze the transmission of economic shocks across international borders.

View the matrix for Goal 1


Goal 2: Compare and contrast varying schools of economic thought, recognizing the limitations of economic models and methods.

The following DLOs are nested within Goal 2
DLO 2.1:   Distinguish between positive and normative analysis.

DLO 2.2:   Knowledge of economic systems: Identify the key characteristics of different economic systems, e.g., the role of the market and government.

DLO 2.3:   Knowledge of schools of economic thought: Compare and contrast schools of economic thought with respect to their main concerns and the methodology used, i.e., deduction, induction, historical.

DLO 2.4:   Assess economic models: Critically assess the limitations of economic models, including evaluating the validity of, and normative values embedded in, the differing assumptions underlying these models.

View the matrix for Goal 2 


Goal 3: Effectively communicate economic ideas using a variety of techniques to a wide range of audiences.

The following DLOs are nested within Goal 3
DLO 3.1:   Understand economic communication: Identify, explain and interpret economic concepts and arguments in both academic and non-academic outlets.

DLO 3.2:   Communicate economic content effectively: Formulate an argument about an economic issue and communicate to a specified audience, both in writing and speaking, using appropriate evidence and economic analysis.

DLO 3.3:   Communicate quantitative content effectively: Visually present data and results of statistical analysis by creating appropriate tables, charts or graphs.

View the matrix for Goal 3 

Goal 4: Apply the scientific method to economic problems and be able to complete empirical economic analysis.

The following DLOs are nested within Goal 4
DLO 4.1:   Construct a dataset of economic variables using primary data sources.

DLO 4.2:   Summarize, analyze and interpret data in standard computer programs (such as Microsoft Excel or SPSS) using appropriate statistical techniques.

DLO 4.3:   Estimate a linear regression and interpret the resulting coefficients, including differentiating between causal and correlational relationships.

DLO 4.4:   Critically assess the limitations of data sources and measures of economic variables.

View the matrix for Goal 4 


What can you with a degree in Economics?

Want to learn more about choosing Economics as your major? 
Download our handouts:
What can I do with an Economics major?  | Why Economics at SDSU? 


Undergraduate Advising

Dr. Deborah A. Gordon, Student Success Advisor
Office: NH-312
Phone: (619) 594-3247
Email: [email protected]

See advising page for more information.

Dr. Quazi Shahriar, Faculty Advisor
Office: NH-325
Email: [email protected]



Important Links

Class Schedule | SDSU Catalog | Change of Major | Request for Adjustment of Academic Requirement | Special Study Form