at Williams College
The primary objectives of the major are to develop an understanding of economic aspects of contemporary life and to equip the student to analyze economic issues of social policy. The introductory courses stress use of the basic elements of economic analysis for understanding and resolving such issues. The two required intermediate theory courses then provide a more thorough grounding in economics as a discipline by examining the strengths and weaknesses of the price system in allocating economics resources and by examining the aggregate processes which determine employment, inflation, and growth. A course in statistical methods, either Economics255 or alternatively, Statistics 201 plus Statistics 346 (students graduating prior to 2009 may also use Economics 253 to satisfy the statistical methods requirement) equips the major to understand and apply the basic tools of quantitative empirical analysis. Majors must take four electives, in at least three of which they apply parts of the theory learned in the required intermediate theory courses. At least one of the four electives, typically taken in the senior year, must be a “Senior Seminar,” an Economics course numbered 450-475. Students must have completed Economics 251 and 252 and have completed the statistical methods requirement before taking a senior seminar.
Students who have not yet taken an economics course should begin their sequence with Economics 110 and should follow the following sequence:
Economics 110 Principles of Microeconomics
(Note that students may not take any economics courses, including Economics 110 and 120, without having passed the quantitative studies exam or the equivalent.)
Economics 120 Principles of Macroeconomics (Economics 110 or the equivalent is a prerequisite for 120)
Economics 251 Price and Allocation Theory
or Economics 252 Macroeconomics
or Economics 253 or 255 Empirical Methods
Students in the classes of 2007 and 2008 may satisfy their empirical methods major requirement with either Economics 253 or 255, or Statistics 201 and 346. (The statistical methods course should be taken before any course numbered 400 or above.)
Students in the class of 2009 and succeeding classes must complete Economics 255 or the equivalent to satisfy their empirical methods major requirement. Please note that Statistics 101 or 201 is a prerequisite from Economics 255. Students in the class of 2009 or later who are considering majoring in economics are thus strongly encouraged to take Statistics 101 or 201 early in their college careers. Students may take the combination of Statistics 201 and 346 instead of Economics 255. Economics 253 can not be substituted for Economics 255.
Note that Economics 251, 252, and the Empirical Methods course can be taken in any order. In most cases all three of these courses are prerequisites for Economics Senior Seminars, at least one of which is required for the major. Senior seminars are typically taken during senior year (or in some cases during the spring of junior year). Students are thus strongly encouraged to complete these three core courses by the end of junior year at the latest.
Students must complete four Economics electives, of which at least two must be selected from advanced electives numbered 350 to 394 (or from the CDE courses offered), and one of which must be selected from electives numbered 450-475. (Note: With permission of the Chair of the Department of Economics, students may substitute an extra 450+ elective for a 350-394 elective. However, in admitting students to these courses, the department will give preference to students who have not yet taken a course numbered 450-475.)