This is a period of immense change in the world and an exciting time to study economics. The economics program helps students develop the knowledge and skills to better understand the world, to make more informed decisions, and to formulate a persuasive argument based upon economic analysis. As a student you will learn to identify the fundamental economic forces that shape our world in consumer, business, finance, government, and non-government organization settings; you will gain familiarity with quantitative methods and refine your analytical skills; and you'll develop your ability to express your ideas orally and in writing.
During your first two years as an economics major you will take core courses such as Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Statistics for Economists, Intermediate Microeconomics, and Intermediate Macroeconomics. Upon completion of these core courses, you will find a selection of field courses in which you will have an opportunity to learn how economic theory can be applied to a variety of settings. For example, in Urban Economics, you might study how the transportation system in the Seattle area affects the city's current size and structure, as well as its historical development. You would examine the workings of financial markets in Introduction to Financial Economics, while in International Finance, you might study how exchange rate movements affect an economy's citizens. And in Behavioral Economics you would explore how people's behavior differs from that predicted by standard economic theory and the implications for public policy.
If you are inclined toward interdisciplinary studies, you may be interested in the Economics-Mathematics combined major. The Economics Department also offers a combined major in Economics-Environmental Studies for students who are interested in an interdisciplinary approach to studying environmental problems with an economics focus.
In your final year of the program you will participate in the department's two-part senior assessment of the major. First is the Major Field Test (MFT) in economics, a multiple-choice standardized test designed to evaluate your understanding of basic economic theory. Second is the oral exam, which complements the MFT and emphasizes extensions and applications of economic theory.
Whitman's economics graduates pursue careers in a wide variety of fields including public service, economic consulting, banking and finance, management, marketing, law, government, journalism, insurance and environmental-related positions, and many undertake graduate study in business, law, international studies or economics at some point in their careers.