Most students have found that off-campus study and work opportunities are very rewarding.
Because the Economics Department believes these programs are a vital ingredient of the Bates experience, we urge students to investigate them. Students who are studying away under a Bates-sponsored program (Junior Year Abroad, Washington Semester, Mystic Seaport, etc.) can automatically transfer four courses per semester back to Bates for college credit, as long as their grades are adequate. In order to receive credit towards the economics major, however, individual courses must be approved by the Economics Department Chair. Students who study away on a Leave of Absence do not have any credits automatically transferred to Bates. Each course must be approved individually for both college credit and major credit.
Whenever possible, courses to be taken off campus should be approved in advance if they are to count toward the economics major. Your advisor can help you with this type of planning.
In planning your off-campus study, bear in mind that three out of the four Economics core courses (250, 255, 260, 270) must be taken at Bates. Also, regardless of the courses taken while away, you must take two 300-level electives at Bates.
FAQs on Off-Campus Study
1. HOW MANY COURSES TAKEN ABROAD CAN I COUNT TOWARDS MY ECONOMICS MAJOR?
a. Core Courses
Of the four core courses for the major, Economics 250, 255, 260 and 270, only one may be taken off-campus and counted towards the major.
Note that these courses are taught at a more advanced level at Bates than is common at the undergraduate level at other institutions. Intermediate Micro and Macro courses taken elsewhere should be taught using calculus. At some institutions, students must take courses at the Master’s level to meet this requirement.
Students wishing to take Econometrics abroad are cautioned that many of the courses entitled “Econometrics” are not comparable to the Bates course. Students must ensure that Econometrics courses taken elsewhere are indeed a full semester of econometrics, rather than statistics and econometrics compressed into a single semester.
Students not following this guidance will at best be unprepared for their 300-level electives at Bates. At worst, the course may not be approved for major credit by the department chair.
Two of the required three 300-level electives must be taken at Bates. This requirement means that at most a student may transfer either one 200- and one 300-level, or, two 200-level electives towards the major.
2. HOW MANY COURSES TAKEN ABROAD CAN COUNT TOWARDS MY ECONOMICS MINOR?
A maximum of two.
3. Can I count two courses taken at University A first semester and two other courses taken at University B second semester towards my major?
No. The above limits are maximum possible course transfers from all institutions.
4. CAN ECONOMICS COURSES TAKEN IN BATES FALL SEMESTER ABROAD OR CBB ABROAD PROGRAMS COUNT TOWARDS THE MAJOR OR MINOR?
These courses count just as if they were taken at Bates. In all cases to date, however, economics courses from such programs have qualified as 200-level elective courses only.
5. HOW CAN I TELL IF COURSES WILL TRANSFER AS 200-LEVEL OR 300-LEVEL CREDIT?
Most economics electives taken abroad can qualify as 200-level electives. To count for 200-level credit, the course must have a prerequisite of principles of microeconomics or macroeconomics.
To count for 300-level credit, courses taken abroad must generally have either intermediate microeconomics or intermediate macroeconomics as prerequisites. In addition, a substantial paper or similar large project component is required to qualify for 300-level credit.
You should discuss specific courses with the department chair before registering for your study abroad courses.
Please save any email correspondence on courses for when you return to Bates.
6. HOW DO I GET MY STUDY ABROAD COURSES APPROVED BEFORE I LEAVE?
You don’t. Once you know which institution you will be attending, schedule an appointment with the department chair to discuss courses you are interested in. In particular, discuss which electives may count for 200-level credit and which may count for 300-level credit. These discussions generally provide sufficient guidance for students registering for courses abroad.
After you return, and after degree credit for your courses has been approved by the Study Abroad office, see the department chair to have the courses formally approved for major credit.
Please bring any written/email correspondence from #3.
7. BATES DOESN’T OFFER BUSINESS COURSES. CAN I TAKE THESE COURSES ABROAD AND HAVE THEM COUNT TOWARDS MY BATES DEGREE OR MY ECONOMICS MAJOR?
Generally, no. Business courses such as marketing, accounting, organizational behavior and the like do not fit within the Bates College liberal arts curriculum. These are not accepted by Bates for either degree credit or major credit (note that Bates offers a course in Accounting, but it does not count towards the major).
In rare circumstances, overseas business programs offer courses with sufficient economic content that they can be considered for Bates College economics major credit. An example of an acceptable course might be “Economics of European Economic Integration.” However, a seemingly similar course, e.g., “Marketing for an Integrated Europe” would not be accepted.
8. COURSES IN SOME OVERSEAS UNIVERSITIES ARE YEAR-LONG COURSES. DO THESE COURSES COUNT AS TWO COURSES TOWARDS THE MAJOR?
No. Major credit is determined by the course content, not the duration of the course.
However, such courses generally count as two courses towards the 32 courses required for the B.A. degree.
9. WHAT INSTITUTIONS ABROAD HAVE GOOD ECONOMICS PROGRAMS?
The Study Abroad Office keeps program evaluations completed by former Bates Study Abroad students. These provide good guidance as to the strengths and weakness of the various programs.
Copies of these evaluations are also available for review in the Economics Department Lounge (Room 264 Pettengill Hall).