Majoring in Economics
 Undergraduate Program Department of Economics ◊ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

The Economics major at Carolina is one of the largest majors within the College of Arts and Sciences. Its Bachelor of Arts degree program is centered within the College's philosophy of liberal arts to develop each student's critical thinking skills and, as one of the social sciences, to enable them to gain a broader understanding of human behavior on individual and group levels.




The Department of Economics is committed to providing courses which will enable students to gain a greater comprehension of the principles and problems of modern economic life so that they may participate as intelligent and informed citizens and to offer a major which will enhance their preparation for future careers. After graduation many Economics majors pursue graduate degrees in fields such as economics, business, law, health administration and public policy. Other Econ graduates proceed to employment opportunities in the private, governmental and non-profit sectors of the economy. In preparation for either employment or graduate studies, Economics majors often select second majors or minors in other departments and curricula in the University.

All entering UNC students spend the first two years in the General College. During these four semesters they are required to take a variety of courses in English, foreign language, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, aesthetics, history and philosophy. Because the study of economics involves a substantial amount of quantitative analysis, Economics majors are required to complete a course in calculus (MATH 231  or STOR 113  can be used to satisfy this requirement; MATH 116  is not acceptable). The Department strongly encourages students to take STOR 113 , unless they plan to take additional math courses beyond Math 231. Students considering doing graduate work in economics should take additional math courses and/or major or minor in mathematics.

The Economics Department offers the following courses within the General College curriculum:

Students Who Major in Economics:

Students who major in Economics are required to take Economics 101 and at least seven (7) additional Economics courses. Note that 200 and 300 level courses do not count toward the major. A grade of C or better must be achieved in Econ 101 and at least six (6) of the seven (7) courses in a student's major program.

The minimum of seven courses in the Economics major must include three required courses:

These three will usually be completed by the middle or end of the junior year. Students who have passed STOR 155 and BUSI 410 are considered to have met the ECON 400 requirement, although seven Economics courses in addition to ECON 101 must still be taken in this case.

The remaining four (or more) courses will be selected from the following list, with at least one of these being an advanced course:

Since the College of Arts and Sciences requires that students in Bachelor of Arts programs pass at least four courses from a set of junior-senior perspectives, Economics majors may have as many as nine (9) free elective courses during the upper-class semesters.

Joint Degree Program with National University of Singapore

UNC–Chapel Hill undergraduates can spend anywhere from two to four semesters at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and receive a joint bachelor of arts degree with a major in economics from both institutions. Qualified UNC–Chapel Hill students will have at least a 3.3 GPA and can apply for the joint degree beginning in the second semester of their first year year until the second semester of their junior year. UNC joint degree students can decide on their own how many semesters (between two and four) and at which point in their undergraduate career they would like to study at NUS, as long as it is after their first year at Carolina.

A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for graduation. They consist of a total of 60 hours in the major (including as many as six to 12 hours of honors work if applicable) and 45 hours of general education requirements. The remaining 15 hours consist of electives, the supplemental general education requirement (either distributive or integrative option), and possibly one minor. All general education and graduation requirements of both UNC–Chapel Hill and NUS must be met. A detailed listing of the requirements for both schools and how to satisfy those requirements will be available soon at the UNC Study Abroad Office.

Honors Program

The Department of Economics honors program offers outstanding economics students the opportunity to work closely with an individual faculty member on a specialized research topic of the student’s choice during the senior year. Generally, students with a 3.5 grade point average in economics courses and in all University course work are invited to participate in this two-course program (ECON 691H and 692H).

In the first semester (ECON 691H), students become familiar with the recent literature on topics of major interest. Each candidate formulates an honors thesis proposal and initiates work on the project. In ECON 692H, the thesis work is conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is a specialist in the general topic area of the research.

Near the end of second semester (ECON 692H), the student submits to an oral examination on the thesis. Upon successful completion of the program, the student receives the bachelor of arts degree with honors or with highest honors. Students in the honors program are also required to complete at least an eight-course major rather than the minimum seven courses, including ECON 691H and 692H.

The Department offers the following courses as service to other departments, schools and curricula. Since they are designed for students with somewhat different interests and objectives, these courses do not count towards an Economics major and may not receive graduation credit if paired with similar courses from the above lists: Econ 50, 231, 234, 310, 320, 325, 328, 340, 345, 360, 363, and 380.

Students should check the University Undergraduate Catalogue for further details.


*Graduation credit can be received for only one of these courses.
**Students may count either ECON 460 or ECON 463 towards the major, but not both.


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