Economics provides tools for understanding important public policy issues like inequality, poverty, education, health, unemployment, taxes, and globalization. About half of Brown students take some economics during their undergraduate careers.
Where to begin
Most students begin their study of economics by taking ECON 0110, Principles of Economics, which is offered every semester. Before taking the concentration requirements in math, statistics, and intermediate microeconomics, which often come next, students should try to decide whether one of the standard economics concentrations or instead one of the more quantitatively challenging joint concentrations is more likely to suit them, because the appropriate choices differ (for example, ECON 1110 is taken by most standard economics concentrators but ECON 1130 is taken by joint concentrators). After a set of intermediate tools courses, the discipline divides into various subfields. To learn which might be the best match for your interests, read about fields and their courses. (Students in the joint concentrations will also be meeting requirements of their other department, for example APMA, at this stage.) Students are free to take classes in the order they wish, except where pre-requisites apply, but here are some recommended paths through the curriculum for concentrators. Be sure to also check out the Econ Dug Repository for more information about Economics classes, example course plans for Economics concentrators and joint-concentrators, details about TA/RA/tutor positions, as well as resources for graduate school and professional careers after undergraduate studies.
There are several Economics Concentrations to choose from. In addition to the regular concentration, with its optional business track, we offer joint concentrations with Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Mathematics. The first step to declaring a concentration is to visit a concentration advisor during their office hours. You must meet with an advisor before your concentration declaration will be approved on ASK.
What Else is Required?
Like all Brown undergraduates, Economics and joint economics concentrators must fulfill Brown’s WRIT course requirement. Our concentrations do not require that either WRIT requirement be met by a concentration course, but note that there are economics options especially for the second WRIT requirement. You can find a list of economics courses that are WRIT designated here.
Your final semesters at Brown should provide a meaningful culmination of your undergraduate education. A capstone project is a requirement in the Economics Public Policy track and the CS Economics concentrations. Students in other tracks and joint concentrations are not required to complete a thesis or capstone project but we strongly recommend doing so. Please document your completion of a capstone project in order to receive recognition for it at our departmental commencement event using the Capstone Recognition Form by May 1st of your senior year.
For questions about the undergraduate program, please reach out to the following people:
Kelsey ThorpeUndergraduate Program CoordinatorRobinson Hall 103B
Louis PuttermanProfessor of Economics, Director of Undergraduate StudiesOffice: 70 Waterman 301
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday 11:00 - 11:50, and by appointment
Alex PoterackSteven Rattner Lecturer in Economics, Vice Director of Undergraduate StudiesOffice: Robinson Hall Room 212
Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 2pm-3pm and Thursday 10am-11am
Studying Economics at Brown (video credit: Alex Dorosin)
A career in Economics... it's much more than you think.