Economics Undergraduate FAQs

Economics Undergraduate FAQs


Below are frequently asked questions from students interested in majoring in economics. If you don’t find the answer to your question regarding the Pre-Economics Major or the Economics BA, please contact Nicole Guertler,,  or the Business Economics Major, please contact Elise Romero,

The two majors are both offered in the Eller College of Management.  Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree or a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree with a major in Business Economics.

Most students interested in the BA will begin their academic career as a Pre-Economics Major, then apply to the Econ BA once all course requirements have been fulfilled.  BSBA students generally begin their academic career in the Pre-Business Major, then apply for Advanced Standing to be admitted as upper division students.

The general requirements for each major also differ somewhat. For example, BSBA students must achieve proficiency in a second language at a two-semester level whereas the BA requires a four-semester level of proficiency. All Econ BA majors select a minor from a wide range of disciplines while BSBA majors take a required core of business courses.

Students in both majors must complete a minimum 30 units in economics with a very similar set of core courses which includes ECON 332, 361, and 276 (or 339 for BA majors). Business Economics majors are required to also take ECON 407 and 453, while these two courses are only potential electives that the BA students may choose to take. In short, the essential difference between the two majors is not in the economics education that students receive but rather in the other degree requirements.

The choice of one major over the other is often dictated by a student’s interests and career goals.

The Economics BA major offers students a greater degree of choice in designing an overall curriculum (e.g., students can choose to minor in over a hundred different disciplines).

On the other hand, the more structured format of the Business Economics major provides excellent preparation for students who prefer training in the various functional areas of business.

One of the two majors can serve the interests of any student interested in studying economics. Students should consult with one of the faculty advisors for guidance and suggestions related to their specific objectives and interests.

One option is to major in economics and minor in Business Administration. This combination of major and minor would result in an Eller College degree that is "fairly close," in terms of coursework, to an Eller College degree with a major in Business Economics.

The Eller College structured Business Administration minor requires completion of MIS 111, ACCT 200, ECON 200, and BNAD 301, 302, and 303. ECON 200 cannot be used for both the Economics Major and the Business Administration Minor. Thus, as a substitute for ECON 200, for the Business Administration Minor, students can take either ACCT 210 or an additional economics class (except ECON 300 or 330) that will not be used for the Economics Major.

Following the completion of ECON 200 or 201a-b it is important for you to take ECON 332, 276, and especially 361 as early as possible in your plan of study. It is also important to put a large amount of effort into these classes to learn the content very well. These three courses form the core for both the Business Economics and the Economics major, particularly in the case of ECON 361, and provide the foundation for many of the upper-division courses that students will have to complete for their major. Since MATH 113, 116, 122A and 122B, or 125 is a prerequisite for ECON 332 and 361, students should structure their coursework to complete this calculus prerequisite as early as possible.  A grade of C or better is required in the Math prerequisite to enroll into either ECON 332 or 361.

MATH 113 and 116 provide sufficient preparation for ECON 332 and 361. However, students who are proficient and have a strong interest in mathematics are encouraged to take courses such as MATH 125 since these alternatives provide more substantial preparation in calculus. Economics is a highly analytical discipline and strong preparation in mathematics enhances students' abilities to learn economics.

There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question as necessary skill sets vary by job type. Clearly, many positions require very specific training. Economics offers an obvious advantage, compared to many other majors, due to the vast array of jobs in the business, financial, etc., sectors of the economy (just as, say, a nursing degree offers an advantage for many healthcare sector positions).

This is reflected, in part, by the higher starting salaries for our majors compared to most other Eller majors. In any event, students will maximize their opportunities by demonstrating a consistently high level of performance in whatever courses are taken. It’s also important to note that the benefits derived from a college education extend beyond preparation for a future career.

Students who contemplate graduate study in economics should select a good portion of their elective courses for the major from those that focus on economic theory and the methods of the discipline (e.g., ECON 418, 431, 435, 436, 437, 440, 443, 460, 481, etc.). More importantly, students should take as many courses in mathematics as possible including MATH 129, 223, 254 or 355, 310 or 313, 323, 424a, 424b, etc.  Selecting mathematics as a minor or, even better, as a second major is wise.  Such students may also take an upper-division statistics class taught by the Department of Mathematics in place of ECON 276 or 339.  Additional classes in probability and statistics are recommended.

While a major in economics is not necessarily required for admission to graduate study in economics (or related fields such as finance), a strong background in economics and mathematics provides the optimal preparation.

MBA programs generally do not require a particular undergraduate major or the completion of specific courses (except that many programs require one or two semesters of calculus). By the same token, majors in Business Economics and Economics have a head start on many of the topics that are covered in MBA programs.

It is also important to note that while applicants with very high grades and GMAT scores and considerable undergraduate internship, co-op, or work experience can be admitted into MBA programs immediately after the completion of an undergraduate degree, most MBA programs prefer to admit individuals who have a minimum of 2 years post-baccalaureate work experience (MBA students currently average between 6 and 7 years of work experience).

Like MBA programs, law schools do not require particular undergraduate majors or courses.  Since the study of economics provides students with an excellent opportunity to develop their analytical and reasoning skills, majors in this discipline (whether BA or BSBA) tend to be particularly successful in law schools. If you are contemplating law school, you should select a good number of elective courses which require substantial amounts of writing so as to cultivate your expository skills. Law schools tend to place a lot of weight on the applicant's LSAT score. Hence, it is very important to be well prepared for the LSAT exam.

Yes. There is no specific pre-med major at The University of Arizona and most other major universities. While all medical (dental, etc.) schools require the completion of a minimum set of core science classes at the undergraduate level, no specific undergraduate major is required for admission. Nevertheless, economics students nationwide have been quite successful at gaining admission into medical programs.

High grades, high GRE scores (GMAT for MBA, LSAT for Law School, and MCAT for medical school), and strong letters of recommendation.  In addition, various degree programs may also stress research experience and participation in extra-curricular activities, volunteer community service, internships, work experience, and so forth.  Students are encouraged to consult with a faculty advisor for guidance in planning a course of action that will maximize their graduate opportunities as early as possible. 

The Department maintains two e-mail listservs, one for Business Economics majors and one for Economics majors. Messages concerning courses, job opportunities, internships, scholarships, club meetings, etc., are posted on a regular basis.

The University automatically updates the listservs at the start of each academic year based on students’ official major status (students who double-major are arbitrarily listed under one of their majors by the University for such purposes).

Students who change majors in mid-year or mid-semester are not automatically added to the listservs. Thus, Business Economics or Economics majors who wish to but are not receiving listserv e-mail messages should leave their name and e-mail address at the front desk in the Department’s main office, McClelland 401, to be immediately added to the relevant listserv.

For more information, please contact us.