What is Economics?

Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.

Economics is the study of a vast range of human behavior and its social implications, from how individuals make (or should make) personal financial and consumption decisions, to how the business of organizing society's production and trade changes with time and place. Economists have advanced our understanding of psychology, law, anthropology, sociology and history.

Recently, economists have been at the forefront of understanding and trying to grapple with some of the most important issues faced by the world. Economists are trying to help re-organize the economies of formerly socialist countries to enable a smooth transition to a greater market orientation that can increase the average standard of living without introducing great inequities in society.

Economists are also working on valuing our irreplaceable environment and devising mechanisms that will lead to its preservation in a rational manner. Our economics programs are designed to provide a liberal arts education. Graduates choose many different careers in teaching, law, administration, business, consulting, public service, government, or research.

Many economics students move on to graduate programs in economics, law, business administration or management. For non-majors, studies in this field will serve to equip them with the economic literacy useful for an understanding of current affairs and to satisfy their curiosity as to the ways in which society has solved the problems of organizing productive effort.

So many programs, so little time

Students can choose from a rich array of major programs offered through the Department of Economics: the standard economics major, the global economics major, or business management economics. All three of these major programs lead to a bachelor of arts degree. Students who wish to pursue a double major may pair economics, global economics, or business management economics with any other major at UCSC, completing all requirements for both majors. The combined major option, requiring fewer courses than the double major, exists with economics and mathematics and environmental studies and economics.  Students who are interested in economics but wish to major in another field may want to consider a minor in economics.

There are also field study opportunities, research and teaching opportunities, and lively student organizations.