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Economics Undergraduate Program


Why study economics? The most common answer we hear from students is that they enjoy taking econ courses. Fortunately, studying economics is not just enjoyable, it provides analytical and quantitative training that is in high demand by employers. From 2016 to 2018, Purdue’s Economics graduates had higher median starting salaries than all other business majors at Purdue (note that many of the top Economics majors at Purdue go immediately to graduate school and are not included in the salary averages). A 2022 paper by Bleemer and Mehta shows that “the wage return to economic education is very high relative to education in students’ second-choice social science disciplines, causing a 46 percent increase in mid-twenties earnings despite no change in educational investment or degree attainment”. They also find that “about half of the wage return is explained by economics majors working in higher-paying industries”. In addition, a 2011 New York Times article indicated that majoring in Economics gives you the best chance of reaching the top 1% of earners, and a 2006 paper by Flynn and Quinn found that after “adjusting for the size of the pool of graduates, those with undergraduate degrees in Economics are shown to have had a greater likelihood of becoming an S&P 500 CEO than any other major.”

Purdue offers two undergraduate degrees in Economics: a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA). The BS degree is offered by the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business and is designed for students who expect to use economic analysis and data-heavy quantitative methods in their careers. The BA degree is offered by the College of Liberal Arts and is designed for students who expect to use economic reasoning in the context of a broader liberal arts education in their careers. Purdue also offers a Minor in Economics  a Minor in Business Economics. and a Minor in Mathematical Economics.  

Economics is widely used by professionals in a large number of diverse fields. A degree in Economics is a great preparation for graduate school (about one quarter of our graduates go directly to graduate school) or for employment in one of many different occupations. If you are considering majoring or minoring in Economics, we invite you to watch this brief video, developed by the American Economic Association:

As described in the video, Economics is the study of how people make choices in the face of scarcities. Human behavior has important implications for markets, government policies, and other far-reaching applications. At Purdue, you will learn core micro and macro economic theory and then can chose from a menu of Economics Courses that cover diverse topics including: international trade, social interactions, tax policy, the banking system, public goods, the structure of industry, labor unions, antitrust policy, education, trust and bargaining, government regulation, discrimination, public finance, economic development, decision making under uncertainty, unemployment, any many, many others.

Learn more about studying Economics at Purdue by following these links:

     Admission Information

     Financial Aid

     Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship (UGTA)

     Study Abroad

     Experimental Lab Activities

     After Graduation

     Course Descriptions

     Bachelor of Science (BS) in Economics

     Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics

     Honors Program in Economics

     Minor in Economics