Economics Major: Public Policy and Sustainability Option (B.A.)

The Option in Public Policy and Sustainability (B.A. degree) examines the factors that influence economic, social, and environmental outcomes, such as unemployment, poverty, economic inequality, health disparities, technological innovation, and pollution. Students will develop the institutional knowledge and theoretical perspective to understand the impact that decisions of individuals, firms, communities, and governments have on such outcomes. Students will analyze the impact of specific government policies and potential reforms, theoretically and empirically.

This option is designed for students seeking careers in policy analysis and research positions at government agencies; think tanks such as RAND Corporation, Urban Institute, and Mathematica Policy Research; consulting firms such as Abt Associates; and non-governmental organizations.

Economics Major (B.A.)

B.A. economics majors must complete nine courses in economics plus ADMN 510 Business Statistics with a grade of at least C- (1.67) in each Paul College major course and an average grade of 2.0 or better in major courses.

Freshman Year
ECON 401Principles of Economics (Macro)4
ECON 402Principles of Economics (Micro)4
ECON 501Business and Economic History4
ADMN 403Computing Essentials for Business1
MATH 422Mathematics for Business Applications4
or MATH 424A Calculus for Social Sciences
PAUL 405Freshman Academic Experience I1
PAUL 406Freshman Academic Experience II1
PHIL 431Business Ethics4
Sophomore Year
ADMN 510Business Statistics4
ECON 605Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis4
or ECON 606 Intermediate Microeconomics with Calculus
ECON 611Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis4
Junior and Senior Years
ECON 774Senior Economics Seminar 14
Select four (4) additional ECON electives 216
Total Credits55

ECON 774 Senior Economics Seminar is the capstone course for the B.A. major and satisfies the capstone requirement of the University Discovery Program.


Specific electives for the BA Options must be chosen from an approved list of courses.

Coursework in accounting is recommended but not required. B.A. economics majors may choose to focus their major electives to satisfy the requirements of one of the three options defined by the Department of Economics.

Public Policy and Sustainability Option Requirements

Students must complete at least two required courses and at least three courses total. At least two courses must be ECON courses. (Note: Some courses may have prerequisites that are not part of the option.)

Required courses:
ECON 653Law and Economics4
or ECON 656 Labor Economics
ECON 706Economics of Climate Change4
or EREC 572 Introduction to Natural Resource Economics
Select one of the following:4
Economic History of the United States
Law and Economics 2
Industrial Economics and Business Innovation
Labor Economics 2
Economic Development
Economics of Climate Change 2
Introduction to Natural Resource Economics 1, 2
Land Economics Perspectives: Uses, Policies, and Taxes 1
Community Economics 1
Agricultural and Food Policy 1
Environmental Economics 1
Ecological-Economic Modeling for Decision Making 1
Global Trade and Local Development 1
Health Policy 1
Sustainability in Action 1
Other 600-level or 700-level course, with approval from ECON Dept.
Total Credits12

Satisfies the requirement of the option, but does not count toward the four-elective requirement of the economics B.A. degree.  Some courses may have pre-requisites; students are responsible for checking and meeting pre-requisite requirements.  


 Course may not be used toward the option requirements more than once.

  • Students have core proficiency in  microeconomics. They understand key concepts including opportunity cost, marginal analysis, voluntary exchange, diminishing marginal returns, equilibrium and market structure.
  • Students have core proficiency in macroeconomics. They understand key concepts including GDP, inflation, interest rates, business cycles, exchange rates, financial institutions and fiscal and monetary policy.
  • Students have strong oral communication skills. This includes fundamental skills in preparing and delivering presentations, as well as being able to explain technical material clearly and concisely.
  • Students are able to use economic models to understand real-world issues relevant to business, public policy and society.
  • Students are able to communicate economic concepts clearly in writing. This involves having strong fundamental writing skills as well as being able to explain technical material clearly and concisely.