Is Economics a Hard Major? (With Student Quotes)

What is Economics? Is Economics a hard major?

One of the most sought-after majors at American colleges and universities is economics. With so many students vying for spots in economics programs, it’s also one of the most competitive majors.

Money is only one aspect of economics. It involves everything. You must comprehend what occurs when someone purchases, sells, invests in, etc. something. It concerns our time and purchasing habits. It concerns how governments control various commercial and industry sectors.

It also has to do with how we distribute resources like labor, energy, and land. Therefore, if economics interests you, there are several avenues to pursue. First, let’s talk about how challenging the major is.

Economics Major
Economics Major

Is Economics a Hard Major?

Yes, economics is a challenging major since it mixes concepts from a wide range of disciplines, including business, mathematics, accounting, sociology, and even psychology.

The long answer is both yes and no, because some aspects of economics are quite challenging while others are incredibly simple. For instance, it’s simple to comprehend supply and demand. Because of this, prices are always fluctuating.

However, this is where things become challenging: Many individuals believe that everything of economics is based on numbers. They believe that economists calculate prices using equations and graphs. That is untrue.

A degree in economics can encompass a wide range of topics.

Because of how multifaceted the subject of economics is, it can be challenging to become well-versed in all of its facets.

Edward Stan, a Harvard University graduate with a master’s degree in economics, says “Economics requires a combination of critical thinking, math, and excellent writing skills. You need to be able to combine all these skills seamlessly, while also having a passion for economics to do well in it.”

Because students must study a variety of subjects concurrently, economics majors frequently experience difficulties. This requires them to devote a lot of time to studying topics that may appear unconnected to one another.

You would need to comprehend both the economy and individual behavior if you studied macroeconomics and microeconomics, for instance. As an alternative to studying local trade, you might study foreign trade. Consider enrolling in classes in accounting, banking, and financial management if finance is your area of interest. You will learn more about the inner workings of the financial system from all of these classes.

The study of individual decision-making within an economic system is known as microeconomics. The study of the economy as a whole is known as macroeconomics. It focuses on the elements that have an impact on an economy’s overall strength.

There are numerous models and ideas that explain how economies work. Supply and demand, price elasticity, inflation, unemployment, interest rates, and fiscal policy are a few of the key ideas in macroeconomics.

What Courses Do You Study in an Economics Major?

Students can choose from a wide range of economics courses. Microeconomics, macroeconomics, international trade, monetary policy, financial markets, public finance, etc. are a few of them. You might also need to take additional classes, depending on your job choice or area of focus within the economics degree.

For instance, you might need to take lessons in accounting, risk management, corporate finance, etc. if you want to work in banking. You may also need to take courses on contracts, property, torts, criminal law, etc. if you are interested in getting a degree in law.

When examining the state of an economy as a whole, economists frequently examine the macroeconomic environment. Instead of focusing on specific businesses or individuals, economists study entire industries and economies.

Instead of focusing just on what happens to people and businesses, they attempt to comprehend how the economy functions as a whole. They can forecast conduct by having an understanding of psychology. For instance, knowing that consumers typically react negatively to inflation can help economists develop future policies.

What happens when you combine all of the many components of an economy is what economics is all about. It examines how resources are distributed, how money is spent, how products are made, and how we use them. Economics is the study of how individuals interact with one another and their surroundings. It aids in our comprehension of human behavior and the tactics used by corporations to sway consumer decisions.

Students will also enroll in a subject called “econometrics”. A subfield of economics called econometrics focuses on the statistical examination of economic data. Before enrolling in any other economics courses, students typically need to take at least one econometrics course.

Microeconomics is a branch of economics that focuses on the analysis of individual decision-making. Before enrolling in any other economics courses, students typically need to take at least three microeconomics courses. These microeconomics classes will concentrate on subjects including utility theory, price elasticity, and supply and demand curves.

Even while it isn’t usually simple, economics isn’t always difficult. There are several methods to make it less stressful and more pleasurable. Get engaged in student organizations, join a club, and speak with professors as some of the greatest ways to make your economics study simpler.

Never be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it with any part of your coursework. By offering to assist students, you might even be able to receive extra credit.

Economics Major Stock Market and Investing
Economics Major Stock Market and Investing

How Hard is an Economics Degree?

The difficulty of getting an economics degree will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • What college or university you attend.
  • Where in the world you plan to study in. Different countries will have different difficulty levels. 
  • Your major area of interest, because you will need to take advanced elective courses on that path.
  • Whether you want to go into academia or industry in the future in your career. 

Typically, you must complete at least 15 core courses and eight or more advanced courses to earn a degree in economics. To graduate, you might also need to take a few general electives. What college you choose to attend will determine all of this.

Many different classes and electives are available at most universities. It may be difficult to acquire a comprehensive understanding of what all of these classes cover because some of them may overlap. If there are any prerequisite courses you must take before enrolling in the others, you should check the university website.

The study of economics is highly theoretical. Abstract issues are challenging for students since they are difficult to comprehend. You will need to take additional advanced classes that are even more theoretical and abstract after finishing your core courses. In your junior and senior years of college, it will get harder to understand the economics underlying things.

Additionally, you will have the choice of advanced classes. Political economy, economic policy, and behavioral economics are excellent possibilities if psychology and history are your two main interests.

Consider enrolling in courses like mathematical economics and statistics if you appreciate math. Your university’s general difficulty and reputation will have a significant impact on the depth and quality of your economics studies, with colleges with strong reputations and high rankings offering more demanding coursework.

Steve Logan studied Economics at the University of Chicago and has this to say about studying economics. “Economics is wonderful, but most of the classes I’ve taken are geared toward an academic career, and most jobs in this world aren’t academic. If you’re doing economics, either have a clear path to a PhD in mind, or take plenty of practical courses for a future job (like programming, anything related to data science, extra statistics, etc.).”

Does Economics Have a Lot of Math?

Yes! Numerous economists examine both macroeconomics and microeconomics using mathematics. In fact, mathematics is the only way to fully comprehend some of the most crucial economics ideas.

For instance, it is impossible to completely explain the idea of supply and demand without the aid of calculus. It entails more than just adding up numbers; it also involves comprehending how different prices interact with one another.

Likewise with financial markets. They require a lot of math since they contain intricate models and equations.

All of economics is based on numbers. Basic knowledge of algebra, trigonometry, and geometry is required. Because it teaches you how to work with equations, pre-calculus is a crucial course. Calculus is an excellent resource for problem-solving.

A subfield of economics called econometrics uses statistics to examine economic data. A career in finance can be obtained in this way. You might want to think about enrolling in other quantitative subjects like linear algebra, probability theory, discrete mathematics, etc. if you want to advance beyond only analyzing financial data. These will improve your ability to solve problems.

Accounting and Finance Reports
Accounting and Finance Reports

Can I Major in Economics if I am Bad at Math?

Yes, you can major in economics if you’re bad at math, but you will need to put in a lot of work to make sure you pass your classes. Economics majors often need mathematics and statistics because those subjects help them understand economic concepts. 

With consistent practice and studying, you can improve your math skills. Some people find that they learn best by listening to lectures and reading books while others prefer to do hands-on activities. Whatever works for you, as long as you keep practicing and improving, you’ll eventually reach your goals.

Math plays an important role in economics. To pursue a major in economics you need to understand basic algebra and trigonometry. You also need to know about probability and statistics. Economics majors will often study microeconomics, macroeconomics, game theory, public finance, international trade, monetary policy, financial markets, and many other topics.

Math is often taught using an algebraic approach, which is not always the best way to teach students. Math is about logic and reasoning, not memorization. There are many different ways to approach math problems.

Some teachers prefer to start with basic concepts and then progress through them. Others like to jump right in and solve problems. A third option is to use problem solving techniques to come up with your own solutions. You may also find yourself using multiple approaches at once.

Is Economics a Useless Degree?

No, economics is incredibly helpful. Everyone’s daily life is impacted by the economy. People have less money to spend on products, for instance, during a recession or depression. As a result, there will be fewer jobs and lesser pay for employees.

Companies reduce their hiring of new personnel when unemployment is high. Thus, there are more layoffs. When a person loses their employment, they are unable to save money for retirement or pay their bills. Increased poverty rates result from this.

Businesses increase employee hiring when the economy is strong. They pay their employees more money so that they may afford to buy products and services. This gives consumers more money to spend. Businesses sell more goods and get more revenue.

Based on present trends, economists attempt to forecast what will occur in the future. To see how similar scenarios played out in the past, they examine historical occurrences. This aids economists in determining what measures might be taken to avoid having the same issues arise again.

Government agencies and commercial businesses like banks, insurance companies, and investment corporations both employ economics. Additionally, management classes are taught using it in business schools.

Economic Crisis News
Economic Crisis News

Can You Get a Good Job With an Economics Degree?

Yes, you can get a good job with an economics degree. Many employers want candidates with strong analytical skills. If you’ve taken calculus, statistics, or applied linear algebra, you should be able to handle most economics questions.

But sometimes, what you learn in the economics major does not directly translate into a career as an Economist. Common jobs that you can get with an economics degree include: 

  • Economist
  • Data analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Finance manager
  • Investment banker
  • Manager of economic research
  • Market researcher
  • Monetary economist
  • Political economist

The skills and knowledge you do learn as an economics major can help you land other types of jobs.

Ted Melon, MA Economics at Harvard, sums it up by saying “If you studied accounting, you may find a good job doing accounting. If you studied economics, you may not find a good job doing economics. Because my economics and math degrees taught me the statistical and logical reasoning aspects of computer science, I am able to learn the skills and perform the critical thinking needed for data analysis.”

Econ teaches you some really cool stuff that other students don’t know, but the stuff you learn can’t be directly applied to most careers that you can get with an undergraduate degree.

A bachelor’s degree that can make you employed these days would need to be technical and allow you to do things that employers need directly and cannot be replaced with anything else (mechanical engineering, software engineering, data analysis).

If you’re concerned about having a guaranteed job post-undergrad and want a degree that adds value to you in terms of making you a skilled worker, then economics may not be right for you.

Is Economics a Hard Major? Final Thoughts

If you are looking for an easy business major, then Economics may not be for you. But if you love learning new concepts and analyzing complex systems, then economics might just work out for you.

These other articles on majors and degrees may interest you: 

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Written by:

Chris Wood
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. I’ve been working as a Software Engineer for the past 5 years. While working in this field I’ve had the pleasure of developing software in a wide variety of industries. I look forward to using my experience in order to find a role where I can utilize my creativity and passion for solving complex software engineering problems.

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