When it comes to college majors, economics is something of an outsider. It’s a topic that sits at the intersection of arts, science and mathematics, offering a mindset that is equal parts creative, analytical and results-focused.
Is economics a good major? From a financial standpoint, yes! Not only does it offer an excellent variety of career choices, it’s one of the few arts-related majors with an average post-graduation salary in excess of $100,000 per year.
Would you like to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of a college education in economics? In this guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of choosing economics as your college major.
Do you need help choosing the right major? Enroll in our course, How to Choose a College or University, to learn what you should look for in your college, major and educational experience.
What is economics?
Economics is the study of individual, household and organizational behavior on a huge scale. It’s the study of how people respond to incentives, how decisions are made, and how problems are solved by individuals and groups.
In many ways, economics is the study of how people think and act. An economics major will give you an understanding of the way markets work, but it will also let you see how incentives and external factors influence people’s behavior.
Macroeconomics and microeconomics
When you look at the courses involved in an economics degree, you’ll notice that there are two core disciplines: macroeconomics and microeconomics. These two branches of economics are the best known, although there are plenty of others.
Like their names suggest, macro and microeconomics focus on economic issues on both a large and small scale. Microeconomics is the study of economics at a closer, smaller scale. Macroeconomics is a broader, less detailed study of economies.
In order to major in economics, you’ll need to study microeconomics – the study of economics on a small, detailed scale – and macroeconomics. Learn more about the two disciplines of economics in our Micro & Macro Economics course.
Why study economics?
An economics major offers more than just career opportunities. The skills you’ll pick up while studying economics will make it easier for you to solve problems and make decisions in your personal and professional life.
Economists often praise economics for then mindset it gives you. People that study economics are often able to look at both sides of an issue – the obvious results and the less obvious results – and observe outcomes from multiple perspectives.
Important economic concepts like opportunity cost – the cost of choosing between several mutually exclusive options – are useful in the world of business in addition to having huge value in your everyday life. Because of this, many educators call the study of economics a study in “how to think.”
Being aware of economics also gives you a greater understanding of world affairs and global business. Many economists voiced concerns about the property bubble long before the mainstream media started reporting on the topic.
This combination of knowing how to think and being able to observe issues from a variety of perspectives makes you a powerful, insightful person. This is one of the reasons economics is such a common major among executives and entrepreneurs.
Do you want to learn the most important economic concepts for making decisions and investing your money and time wisely? Join Economics Without Boundaries to learn how the global economy works and the role your decisions play in it.
What career options does an economics degree offer?
Beyond teaching you how to think about the world, an economics major offers an incredible variety of career opportunities. Economics majors benefit from access to careers in finance, business, public policy, education and many other industries.
Since the study of economics is about understanding human behavior, economics majors are valued by employers. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), economics is one of the most highly valued majors among employers, falling into second place behind computer science.
Economists enjoy an incredible level of job flexibility. With an economics degree, you can work as part of a business, enter the banking industry, start a corporate consultancy business, become an educator and much more.
How much can an economics major earn?
According to NACE, economics is one of the most financially sensible majors for college students. A bachelor’s degree in economics leads to an average salary of $58,200 per year as of 2012 – a significant increase from the average bachelor’s degree salary of just $44,259.
In fact, the only degrees that consistently beat economics in earnings power are computer science and engineering. Economics major also tend to earn the most money at the top end of the pay scale, beating engineers and computer scientists when it comes to careers earning more than $100,000 per year.
Do you want to study economics at a prestigious college? Whether you’d like to study at the famous University of Chicago or at Harvard, Princeton, or any of the other Ivy League schools, the skills you’ll learn in our College Admission Success course will help you get accepted by the best colleges in the country.
Are you ready to study economics?
At first glance, economics might seem like a dry and boring subject. From graphs and charts to lists and spreadsheets, the materials we associate with economics often make it seem less interesting than it really is.
Once you start studying economics, however, you’ll find that it’s one of the most interesting social sciences of all. The skills you’ll gain with an economics degree make understanding people’s decisions refreshingly straightforward and simple.
Ready to get started? Learn about the globalized economy of the 21st century with our blog post on the pros and cons of globalization. From production to supply and demand, globalization is one of the most important topics in modern economics.