Working in the Williams Econ Dept

Here’s some information on what it is like to work in the Williams College Economics Department, and various sources of support and funding that are available to help you succeed as a teacher and researcher:


  • Our standard teaching load in Economics at Williams College is two courses per semester. Economics senior faculty also teach a Winter Study course every other year. All junior faculty and most senior faculty in Economics are offered the opportunity to teach a double-prep of a core course (intro micro or macro, intermediate micro or macro, or econometrics), so a typical teaching load would be two sections of the same core required course in one semester, and two electives in the other.
  • Economics faculty who are interested in development and public policy often get the opportunity to teach one (or possibly two) of their courses to masters students from Center for Development Economics (CDE), or to a mix of CDE and undergraduate students.
  • Economics faculty interested in public policy and an interdisciplinary combination of economics and political science have an opportunity to teach courses in our Political Economy Program.
  • Williams faculty also have the opportunity to periodically teach an Oxford-style tutorial as one of their four courses.
  • We offer a rich curriculum including upper level seminars where students engage with real economic research, and that often involve students doing original empirical research projects.
  • We have great students, and a larger share of our undergraduate students go on to get a PhD in economics than any other college or university (see here for more info).

Research environment

  • As of July of 2023, the IDEAS ranking of the research productivity of all US economics departments ranked the Williams College 49th overall, well above all other liberal arts college economics departments, and above many well-regarded research universities. A 2016 study found that the Williams College economics department ranked first in terms of citations to its research among economics departments at all liberal arts colleges, with more than twice as many citations as the second-ranked department. (See here for more info).
  • The Williams Economics Department has an extensive research seminar series, with a rich array of outside speakers, many opportunities to present one’s own research at various stages, and opportunities to invite the people you want to hear, meet, and/or collaborate with.

Generous leave policy

  • After 3 years of teaching, tenure-line assistant professors at Williams College are provided two semesters of paid professional leave before the tenure decision. The College pays 75% of salary during the two semesters of leave, but is committed to topping that up to 100% pay if outside funding is not available to fill the gap. In addition, assistant professors can also request permission to take a third semester of unpaid leave on top of that. In our Economics department, assistant professors have generally had great success at getting these requests approved, and finding funding for the third semester from external grants, fellowships, and visiting positions. Further information is available here, and in the Faculty Handbook, Section II-O.
  • For tenured faculty at Williams, for every three years of teaching, one accrues one paid semester of sabbatical, and one is typically allowed to take up to three additional semesters of unpaid leave on top of that. Further information is available here, and in the Faculty Handbook, Section II-O.
  • Economists hired with tenure at Williams are granted a full year of professional leave at full pay after their third full year of teaching at Williams.

Support for professional development, mentoring, etc.

  • Williams College’s professional development program First3.
  • Evidence-based support for teaching through the newly established Rice Center for Teaching.
  • Career development and mentoring through the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.
  • The Williams College Networks Program offers lots more information on opportunities for mentoring and research and teaching support at all stages of your career at Williams.
  • Williams Economics faculty offer plenty of informal mentoring and collaboration to newer colleagues for both teaching and research.
  • First-year tenure-track assistant professors also get assigned a mentor from another department.

Funding to support research

  • Williams College offers many sources of funding to support research. Some examples include:
    • The Class of 1957 Summer Research Program, which offers funding for undergraduates to work as summer research assistants to faculty in the social sciences and humanities at Williams.
    • A standard budget for research expenses and conference travel, plus an opportunity to apply for a generous start-up research fund package.
    • Many competitive grants to support research, research-related travel, etc. (See here for details).