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In the broadest sense, economics is the science of decision-making. In economics, students learn how to identify the costs, benefits and consequences of a decision. Often identified with the study of market behavior, economists also study issues that affect the market such as criminal behavior, poverty, law, environmental control, population, voting and political behavior.

Two colleges at West Virginia University offer a major in economics. Students may earn a bachelor of arts (B.A.) in Economics from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in Economics from the College of Business and Economics.

Students earning a B.S. in Economics must take required courses in economics (Intermediate Microeconomic Theory, Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory and American Economic History). In addition, they must take elective courses in economics, such as International Economics, Economic Development, Comparative Economic Systems, Econometrics, Mathematical Economics, Labor Economics, Money and Banking, and Public Economics.

In addition to the courses in economics, B.S. Economics students must take elective hours from the College of Business and Economics. Many students take the introductory courses in each of the business areas, such as finance, management, marketing and business law to get a basic introduction to business. Others concentrate in one or two areas. There is a great deal of flexibility to design a curriculum best suited to each student’s interests.

Career Profile

Graduates with degrees in Economics are needed in both government and the private sector. Government economists assess economic conditions in the U.S. and abroad and estimate the economic impact of specific changes in legislation or public policy. Economists in private industry work largely for marketing research firms, management consulting firms, banks, investment firms and insurance companies.

Graduate training is increasingly required for many economist jobs and for advancement to more responsible positions. Economics includes many specialties at the graduate level, such as economic theory, international economics and financial economics. A Ph.D. is necessary for top positions in many organizations and in academia. Advanced degrees in business, economics, law or public policy are all viable options. The College of Business and Economics offers a Ph.D. in economics, and has an excellent record of placing economics students in other graduate schools. Economics graduates with some work experience are also excellent candidates for M.B.A. programs and for law school. The College offers both a full-time M.B.A. program and an Executive M.B.A. program for working professionals.

Sample Course Schedules

Wondering what your typical day might be like? We used students’ real course schedules to create these examples.

Freshman Year

BCOR 199 Introduction to Business CS101 Intro to Computer Applications COMM 112 Small Group Communication SOCA 101 Introduction to Sociology MATH 126 College Algebra

Senior Year

BCOR 350 Principles of Marketing BCOR 370 Managing Individuals and Teams ECON 451 International Economics HIST101 Western Civilization: Antiquity to 1600 POLS 364 American Foreign Relations

English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

Accreditation Information

WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Business programs of the College of Business and Economics are fully accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Alumni Profiles

John Chambers

John Chambers earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1971 from the College of Business and Economics and a degree from the WVU College of Law in 1974. As chairman and CEO of Cisco, he helped build a company known for being the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. He says, “I believe that the Internet and education are the two great equalizers in life. The Internet has the potential to change people’s lives in ways we are just beginning to imagine, and technology and the Internet will help level the playing field for students and faculty, both at WVU and worldwide.”

Robert Booth Goodwin

When R. Booth Goodwin II was a teenager, he knew he wanted to be a lawyer. Must run in the family … his father, now Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph Robert Goodwin, was a lawyer. His grandfather, the late Robert Booth Goodwin, and great uncle, the late Bert Goodwin, founded the family law firm, which later was headquartered in Charleston. Family lawyers also included his two uncles, Thomas R. Goodwin and the late Stephen P. Goodwin, as well as two cousins, Carrie Goodwin Fenwick and Carte P. Goodwin. He graduated from the College of Business and Economics and is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Emily Kayser

Emily Kayser won a Boren Scholarship to study abroad in Uganda, and later traveled to Malawi to study poverty and land use with Geography Professor Brent McCusker. The Point Pleasant, W.Va., native earned a B.A. in international studies and a B.A. in economics. She said, "The trip to Africa changed my life. It opened my eyes to a completely different way of living. It focused my career goals: I want to work in international development."

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