Econ. major growing more popular

Siobhan Murray

Economics Major

The Economics Department received 145 applications for the economics major this year, some 40-50 percent higher than last year. The department, which usually receives 90-110 applicants, had to turn many students away to reach its target of 100 majors.

“I would say the economy has been sluggish, it could be some students feel the need to choose a major that’s more marketable; the market for jobs is competitive, when the economy is going well students might choose differently,” said Professor of Economics Thomas Kinnaman, who participated in the selection of economics majors.

“I think the economics major has definitely become a lot more relevant because of the state of the economy in recent years. These issues were highlighted in the 2012 presidential race, which may have turned a lot of attention on the economy,” said Morgan Beams ’15, who applied and was accepted into the economics major.

Nationally, starting median salary for an economics major is $48,800 according to Forbes magazine. The Economics Department faculty looked at grades, particularly economics courses grades, of the students considered as well as an essay students submitted on an economic event or decision. Kinnaman also pointed to the department’s transition to an online application process, which may have made the major easier for students to apply to.

“I’m surprised all 4,000 students aren’t applying,” Kinnaman said. “We’d like to think that it’s because we’re doing a good job teaching fantastic and relevant courses. Many faculty believe that economics program here is very unique and offers broad range of courses not offered at peer institutions.”

The Economics Department offers such courses as African Economic Development, Political Economy of the Caribbean, Gender and Migration, Health Economics and Population and Family Economics.

“My favorite class was Urban Economics with Nancy White,” said Michel Ajjan ’14, who hopes to be employed in the aviation industry with his major. “I think that the support I get from the economics professors here will ensure my success in the future.”

Increased student interest in economics may point to the need for expansion of the University’s economics department, but the trend would have to continue for “at least three years” for a strong enough case to expand the department’s faculty, according to Kinnaman. Students who were denied the major are encouraged to reapply if their grades in economics improve.

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