Economics, Political Economy

Department of Economics

The Department of Economics offers an A.B Degree in Economics and an A.B. Degree in Political Economy, as well as a minor in Economics.

Major Programs

Economics

A major in Economics at Georgetown University requires completion of ten economics courses (including statistics and econometrics) and a calculus course, for a total of eleven (11) courses.  Of the ten economics courses, at least five must be taken in the Economics Department at Georgetown.

requirements for the major in economics
  • Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics (2 courses)
    • ECON- 001: Principles of Microeconomics
    • ECON-002: Principles of Macroeconomics

Students may waive ECON-001 or/and 002 and obtain the course credit with an AP score of 5 (or an IB score of 6 or 7 on Higher Level (HL) exam) in Microeconomics or/and Macroeconomics. ECON-003 (Principles of Economics: Micro & Macro combined) may be taken instead of 001 and 002 (but not by students who have taken ECON 001, 002, or received course credit via AP or IB). Students who take 003 instead of 001 and 002 will require an additional economics elective.

  • Calculus (1 course)
    • MATH-035: Calculus I) *or AP score of 4 or 5 (or IB score of 6 or 7 on HL exam)

Calculus is a corollary requirement for all 100-level economics courses
* This course may also count toward another major or minor requirement in addition to the Economics major

  • Intermediate Microeconomics and Macroeconomics (2 courses)
    • ECON-101: Intermediate Microeconomics 
    • ECON-102: Intermediate Macroeconomics
       
  • Statistics (1 course)
    • ECON-121: Economic Statistics or MATH-140 Intro to Mathematical Statistics

Statistics (ECON 121 or MATH 140) is a prerequisite for Econometrics. Students double majoring in Economics and Mathematics who take MATH 140 instead of ECON 121 and count the former in the mathematics major will be required to take an additional Economics course to reach the required total of 10 economics courses.

  • Econometrics (1 course)
    • ECON-122:Introduction to Econometrics - Must be taken before the start of Senior year
       
  • Economics Electives (4 courses)
    • At least 2 electives must be at 400-level
    • 400-level courses typically require at least one of the following prerequisites: 101, 102 or 122
    • Students who took ECON 003 (instead of 001 and 002) must take 5 economics electives


Honors Program

Students who hope to graduate with Honors must meet the following requirements:

  • Earn an A or A- in Econ-101 and Econ-102
  • Maintain a 3.67 grade average in Economics courses
  • Take three (3) 400 level electives.

If you have already taken the honors classes they will count towards the requirement to graduate with Honors in Economics.

Graduate Study

Students who anticipate graduate study in economics should take the Calculus sequence in the Mathematics Department (Math 035, 036, 137), Linear Algebra (Math 150), and Mathematics for Economists (Econ 425).

Integrated Writing Requirement

The field of Economics explores complex economic systems through a combination of deductive and inductive reasoning. Early economists attempted to communicate this reasoning and results of their analyses using words alone. This resulted in long, often convoluted books that were prone to error. Over the years, economists developed mathematical models and statistical tools, which facilitated analysis, reduced error and enabled far greater transparency and brevity in the expression of results. These techniques can be difficult for undergraduates to grasp at first, which is why they are the focus of most of our teaching effort. Yet, as we teach students to build, solve, test and present economic models, we are in effect teaching them to “write” economics.

Of course, models have not entirely displaced words. Students still must learn to explain the motivation, logic and conclusions of their work verbally. This skill is especially vital for communicating with non-economists. To that end, the economics programs integrate writing in three principal ways:

  1. Explaining rationale
    Tests and homework assignments require students to give short written explanations of the reasoning behind their answers, usually in one or two paragraphs. While not the norm in the first-year Principles sequence due to large class size, it is common in the 100 and 200-level core courses and universal in the 400-level advanced courses.
  2. Writing short papers
    Short papers require students to develop arguments, explain theories or present evidence based on research. Such essays help students learn to organize their thinking and writing.  Example assignments include writing short essays that discuss the causes and possible solutions to poverty, drafting policy memos in response to case studies, and writing summaries of academic literature. Most 400-level courses require short papers in addition to exams.
  3. Producing a senior thesis
    The senior thesis in economics provides students with the opportunity to develop the skills and techniques needed for carrying out a substantive original research project in economics. To achieve this purpose, the course focuses on the writing and presentation of a thesis. Students may choose from a wide variety of topics. Along the way, students learn how to evaluate scholarly literature, formulate and model a hypothesis, locate data and test the hypothesis, write an elegant paper and give a convincing presentation. This course marks the culmination of the economics and international economics majors and an introduction to the world of scholarly research.
    Each student is responsible for writing an article-length paper, approximately 20-25 pages in length. In the paper, students are expected to evaluate, critique, test, and build upon a current debate of their choosing in the field of economics. Students should develop competing hypotheses, model them formally, and test them using quantitative methods. The papers are written as if they were being presented at a professional conference or submitted to a scholarly journal. The thesis is written in a series of steps, each of which is marked by the completion of a short paper or class presentation. The senior thesis course is open to all ECON and IECO majors. It is a requirement for honors in IECO and is taken by many ECON majors.
Political Economy

The Political Economy program is jointly managed by the Department of Economics and the Department of Government.

The major in Political Economy exposes students to the rich intersection between economics and politics. Students study the social, political, and economic factors that affect and are affected by systems of production, exchange, and distribution, as well as the mix of values reflected in them.

At the heart of the major is the methodological and substantive overlap between economics and political science. Methodologically, political economy emphasizes rigorous and frequently quantitative methods, including formal modeling, econometrics, and comparative case study methods. Substantively, political economy analyzes how international and domestic political factors interact with macro and micro economic factors to determine outcomes in a wide variety of areas including globalization, international trade, international finance, regulation, development, taxes, institutional design, the environment, and income distribution. The scope of inquiry ranges from developed countries to developing economies, to nations making transitions to market-oriented systems.

The strength of the major is its ability to analyze important issues that do not divide neatly along the classic disciplinary lines of economics and political science. The intellectual enterprise typically goes beyond the constituent disciplines by combining traditional economic concerns about efficiency with traditional political concerns regarding distributional issues and legitimacy in markets and nonmarket environments.

Requirements for the A.B. in Political Economy

The major in Political Economy requires eleven courses as follows:

  • Three of the following four foundational courses in the Government department:
    • U.S. Political Systems (GOVT-020)
    • Comparative Political Systems (GOVT-040)
    • International Relations (GOVT-060)
    • Elements of Political Theory (GOVT-080)
       
  • Four Foundational Courses in Economics:
    • Intermediate Micro (ECON-101)*
    • Intermediate Macro (ECON-102) or International Finance (ECON-244)
    • Economic Statistics (ECON-121)
    • Intro to Econometrics (ECON-122)

*Note: ECON-101 has Microeconomic Principles (ECON-001) and Calculus I (MATH-035) as prerequisites.

  • Four Political Economy Courses:
    • Analytical Tools for Political Economy (PECO-201)
    • Senior Capstone in Political Economy (PECO-401) or 1 additional PECO 300 or 400-level elective that includes a Research Paper
    • Two (2) electives in Political Economy (PECO) courses
Integrated Writing Requirement

Effective expression of ideas through written work is an essential requirement of the major. Political economists develop models and statistical tools to facilitate analysis. The PECO major requires that students build, solve, test, and present political-economic models. To do this well requires that students achieve transparency and clarity of ideas in their written work.  To help students achieve this goal the political economy program requires all PECO majors to take a political economy course that requires a research paper which serves to guide students through the arduous process of creating and communicating (in written form) original research.  The research paper for this major is expected to analyze a theoretical or empirical puzzle relevant to political economy. 

Honors in Political Economy

In order to graduate with honors in Political Economy, a student must:

  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.33 and a grade point average of 3.67 in the major by the date of graduation.
  • Write an honors-quality thesis in the Capstone Course PECO-401. The paper must receive a grade of “A” from the professor(s) teaching PECO-401 and must also be approved as of “honors quality” by a designated committee.

Minor Programs

Minor in Economics

A minor in Economics at Georgetown University requires completion of six economics courses (including statistics) and a calculus course, for a total of seven (7) courses. Of the six economics courses, at least three must be taken in the Economics Department at Georgetown.

requirements for the minor in economics
  • Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics (2 courses)
    • ECON 001: Principles of Microeconomics
    • ECON 002: Principles of Macroeconomics

Students receive credit for 001 and/or 002 with an AP score of 5 or an IB score of 6 or 7 on higher level (HL) exam in Microeconomics and/or Macroeconomics. ECON 003 (Principles of Economics: Micro & Macro combined) may be taken instead of 001 and 002 (but not by students who have taken ECON 001, 002, or received course credit via AP or IB). Students who take 003 instead of 001 and 002 will be required to take an additional economics elective to reach the required total of six courses in Economics. Students who take 003 instead of 001 and 002 will require an additional economics elective.

  • Calculus (1 course)
    • MATH-035: Calculus I * or AP score of 4 or 5 or IB score of 6 or 7 on HL exam

Calculus is a corollary requirement* for all 100-level economics courses
* This course may also count toward another major or minor requirement in addition to the Economics minor

  • Intermediate Microeconomics or Macroeconomics (1 course)
    • ECON 101:Intermediate Microeconomics or ECON 102: Intermediate Macroeconomics
       
  • Statistics (1 course)
    • ECON 121 (Economic Statistics) or any one of the following courses:
      • MATH 140, MATH 040, GOVT 201, OPIM 173, or OPIM 172*
        * OPIM 172 is a 2-credit course, so students who take it to satisfy the statistics requirement will require an additional economics elective

Students interested in taking ECON 122 (Econometrics) as an elective must take ECON 121 or MATH 140 as a pre-requisite

  • Economics Electives (2 courses)
    • Two (2) economics electives
    • Students who took ECON 003 (instead of 001 and 002) must take 3 economics electives

AP Policy

For a score of 5 on the Microeconomics exam, the student will receive three credits for ECON-001 (Principles of Microeconomics). For a score of 5 on the Macroeconomics exam, the student will receive three credits for ECON-002 (Principles of Macroeconomics). Students with a score of 5 on both of the AP exams may proceed to upper-level courses and cannot take any of the principle courses (ECON-001, 002 and 003). Students with a score of 5 on only one of the AP exams normally take the other principles course. If the student takes ECON-003 (Principles of Economics: Macro and Micro), they will forfeit the AP credit in economics. COL students with a strong high school background in micro and macro economics and/or who have taken both AP economics but did not score a 5 on either of the AP exams are encouraged to take ECON-003.

Study Abroad

Economics Major Students

Students who study abroad for a single semester may receive credit for at most two economics courses while studying abroad. Students who study abroad for two semesters may receive credit for up to three economics courses.

Courses taken abroad may be substituted for Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON-101), Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON-102), Statistics (ECON-121), Econometrics (ECON-122), or 400-level courses, but only if the substitution has been approved by the Economics Department prior to enrollment. Students seeking approval for one of these courses need to submit a syllabus (not a course description) for the course to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. It is not necessary to submit a syllabus for approval of a non-400-level economics elective. However, to ensure credit, students should also secure approval of these courses prior to departure.

Political Economy Major Students

Up to two electives in support of the Political Economy major can be taken abroad with prior approval by either the Field Chair for Political Economy in the Department of Economics or the Field Chair for Political Economy in the Department of Government.  To obtain approval please submit a syllabus for the course for which you wish to receive credit.


For course listings for Economics and Political Economy see Schedule of Classes