Academic program

Intelligent citizenship makes increasing demands on an individual's knowledge of economics. Policy makers in business, government, and the nonprofit sector must frequently evaluate complex economic issues. The goal of the economics curriculum is to educate students, both majors and nonmajors, about the ideas of economics and how they apply to today's world.

Introductory economics courses at Bates (courses numbered 100–199) emphasize a broad nontechnical understanding of economic institutions, policy, and analysis. Courses numbered between 200 and 249 provide nontechnical introductions to more specialized topics. Courses numbered between 250 and 299 cover intermediate economic theory and introduce students to the methods of empirical analysis. Three-hundred-level courses integrate practical economic issues with empirical and theoretical analyses, enabling students to develop sophisticated insight into both contemporary and historical economic problems. More information on the economics department is available on the website (

Major Requirements.

1) ECON 101, 103, 250, 255, 260, and 270. At least three of these four 200-level courses must be taken at Bates, and at least three of these four 200-level courses must be completed prior to senior year. The following statistics courses may be substituted for ECON 250 (Statistics):
BIO 244. Biostatistics.
MATH 215. Statistics.
PSYC 218. Statistics.
NRSC 205. Statistical Methods.

2) MATH 105 or 106 or the equivalent. MATH 105 is a prerequisite for ECON 255, 260, and 270.

3) Three 300-level electives in economics. At least two of these courses must be taken at Bates.

4) A fourth economics elective, which may be numbered 200–249 or 300–399. The following courses may substitute for a 200-level elective:

ANTH 339. Production and Reproduction.
HIST 297. Money, Magic, Myths, and Markets: Capitalism in Latin America.
MUS 394. Junior-Senior Seminar in Musicology: Music, Business, and the Law.
PLTC 222. International Political Economy.
SOC 260. Economic Sociology.

5) Senior research capstone. Majors either undertake a one-semester thesis in the fall semester (ECON 457) or enroll in a research-intensive capstone seminar in the winter semester (ECON 456). The description of the capstone course is available prior to winter registration. Generally, only students invited by the department to undertake an honors thesis enroll in the winter thesis (ECON 458).

Students are not permitted to declare the economics major during their senior year.

Students majoring in economics are not permitted to use Applying Mathematical Methods (C006) to satisfy General Education requirements.

Students planning to study abroad should consult the off-campus study section of the economics department website. Most basic questions concerning departmental study-abroad requirements are answered there. Students should then consult with the department chair concerning the acceptability of particular courses for the major.

Because of the numerous, vital, and constantly developing interconnections between economics and other social sciences, economics majors are urged to take as many courses as possible in related disciplines such as anthropology, history, politics, psychology, and sociology.

Pass/Fail Grading Option. Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major.

Non-Bates Credit. Students receiving scores of four or five on the Economics AP exam receive credit for ECON 101 or 103. Students receiving a score of four or five on the Statistics AP exam receive credit for ECON 250. A-Level credit: Students receiving a grade of A or B on the A-Level Economics examinations may receive credit for ECON 101 and 103. No credit is given for the O-Level examinations. International Baccalaureate credit: Students receiving a grade of six or seven in the IB HL program may receive credit for ECON 101 and 103. No credit is given for the IB SL program.

Students who have failed a core economics course (ECON 101, 103, 250, 255, 260, or 270) at Bates may not receive major credit for an equivalent course taken at another institution.