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Course Policies for the Economics Minor

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Intro & Core Micro & Macro

Our suite of Introductory and Core courses in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics—and the rules which accompany them—can be a bit confusing.  We hope this section will help clarify things.

Three Sets of Courses

Econ 1110 & 1120: Introductory Microeconomics & Macroeconomics

These courses are meant to provide a broad introduction to the field of Economics, and to familiarize students with the language of Economics.  These courses are large (350-450 students).  Students from all over the university take these courses for a variety of reasons: as a preparation for the Economics major, as a preparation for other majors at Cornell (AEM, PAM, ILR, and several others), and as merely an elective course.  Both Econ 1110 and 1120 are taught during Cornell’s summer and winter sessions in small setting classes. Students interested in this option should consult Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions.

Econ 3030 & 3040: Core (Intermediate) Microeconomics & Macroeconomics

These courses cover the core economic methodologies of microeconomics and macroeconomics that will be used in advanced economics electives.  These courses require and build upon the material taught in Econ 1110 and Econ 1120, and they also require Math 1110.  Class sizes are typically 75-90 students, and the vast majority are Economics majors.  Econ 3030 and 3040 are sometimes (but not always) taught during Cornell’s summer sessions in small setting classes. Students interested in this option should consult Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions.

Econ 3010 & Econ 3020: Accelerated Microeconomics & Macroeconomics
(Note: Econ 3010 & Econ 3020 will not be taught during academic year 2015-2016)

These courses cover the introductory and core material in a single semester—i.e., Econ 3010 covers the material taught in both Econ 1110 and Econ 3030, and Econ 3020 covers the material taught in both Econ 1120 and Econ 3040 (and both courses require Math 1110).  These courses are designed to serve as an elective course for non-majors who have strong analytical skills and a strong mathematical background (and some of these students end up becoming Economics Majors), and these courses also serve Economics Majors with strong analytical skills and strong mathematical backgrounds who can move more quickly through the material covered in the introductory and intermediate courses, and who can handle a more advanced treatment.

Note: ILR Economics minors should complete their introductory & core courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics as early as possible.  The basic structure of the ILR Economics minor is that you first learn core methodologies in these courses, and then you use these methodologies in your advanced economics electives.  Hence, the earlier you learn the methodologies, the more flexibility you’ll have in taking your advanced economics electives.

Sequencing & Prerequisites

Econ 1110 & Econ 1120 can be taken in either order, and neither has a prerequisite.  They can even be taken at the same time, although you may want to check prelim schedules since they often fall on the same day.  Many students receive placement credit or transfer credit for one or both of these courses (see Policy for Intro Course Credit).

Econ 3030 & Econ 3040 can also be taken in either order.  They also can be taken at the same time, but we recommend taking them sequentially (in either order) so that you are able to devote sufficient attention to each of these courses.  The prerequisites for each course are Econ 1110, Econ 1120, and Math 1110.  It can sometimes be ok to take one of these courses without the other Intro course (i.e., to take Econ 3030 after having taken only Econ 1110 and Math 1110, or to take Econ 3040 after having taken only Econ 1120 and Math 1110), but to do so you must get permission from the instructor of the intermediate course.

Econ 3010 & Econ 3020 must be taken in that order.  The only prerequisite for Econ 3010 is Math 1110, but Econ 3020 requires Econ 3010 (or Econ 3030) as a prerequisite.  In terms of your core courses, it is also fine to combine one of these courses with one of Econ 3030 or Econ 3040—i.e., you could take Econ 3010 & Econ 3040, or you could take Econ 3030 & Econ 3020. The one thing to keep in mind is that Econ 3020 can be taken only after taking either Econ 3010 or Econ 3030.

Credit for Econ 1110 & Econ 1120 and Counting Toward the Minor

There are many ways to get credit for Econ 1110 & Econ 1120, including placement credit (see Policy for Intro Course Credit).  Many students arrive at Cornell with placement credit for Econ 1110 and/or Econ 1120, but wonder whether they ought to forfeit their placement credit and take one or both classes at Cornell.  The answer to this question really depends on your own personal comfort level with your economics knowledge (for more discussion see Information for Incoming Freshman).

If credit for these courses shows up on your Cornell transcript, then you can count them toward your 9 minor courses.

Counting Econ 3010-3040 Toward the Minor

Most students should take Econ 1110, Econ 1120, Econ 3030, and Econ 3040, which together count for 4 of the 9 minor courses.  (This group includes students who receive placement credit for the intro courses).

Some students begin with Econ 3010 & Econ 3020 (without taking intro).  For such students:

Students who receive a B or better should proceed to taking advanced electives, and Econ 3010 & Econ 3020 will count for 2 of the 9 minor courses.  (Note that students who take this route will need to take two additional advanced electives relative to students who take Econ 1110, Econ 1120, Econ 3030, and Econ 3040.)

Students who receive a B- or below can proceed to taking advanced electives, in which case their situation would be as above.  However, we strongly recommend that such students instead continue to Econ 3030 & Econ 3040—because many advanced economics electives apply the core methodologies that you learn in these courses, it is important that you feel comfortable with these methodologies.  If you do so, then Econ 3010, Econ 3020, Econ 3030, and Econ 3040 will together count for 4 of the 9 minor courses.

Occasionally, students jump directly to Econ 3030 & Econ 3040 (without taking intro).  These will count for 2 of the 9 minor courses.  (Note that students who take this route will need to take two additional advanced electives relative to students who take Econ 1110, Econ 1120, Econ 3030, and Econ 3040.)  We strongly discourage students from pursuing this path.  Instead, if you have strong analytical skills and a strong mathematical background, and you want to skip Econ 1110-1120, you should instead consider Econ 3010 & Econ 3020.

Note: There are additional hybrid cases—these follow the principles reflected above.  For instance, a student could take Econ 1110, Econ 3030, and Econ 3020, and these would count for 3 of the 9 minor courses.  Also, please note that you can receive credit for at most two of Econ 1110, Econ 3010, & Econ 3030, and you can receive credit for at most two of Econ 1120, Econ 3020, and Econ 3040.

Core Stats & Econometrics

Two Sequences for Stats & Econometrics

We offer two sequences that cover Statistics & Econometrics:

  • Econ 3110 & Econ 3120
  • Econ 3130 & Econ 3140 (formerly Econ 3190 & Econ 3200)

The two sequences cover roughly the same set of topics, and they use the same statistical computing packages.  However, Econ 3110-3120 will provide a more applied treatment, while Econ 3130-3140 will provide a more advanced/theoretical treatment.  (Note that Econ 3130-3140 requires Math 1120.)  Many students should choose the more applied treatment (Econ 3110-3120).  However, students with stronger mathematical backgrounds, and especially students who plan to pursue graduate study in economics, should take the more advanced/theoretical treatment (Econ 3130-3140).

In terms of advanced electives, either sequence can serve as a prerequisite—i.e., for any advanced elective that requires statistics, either Econ 3110 or Econ 3130 will suffice, and for any advanced elective that requires econometrics, either Econ 3120 or Econ 3140 will suffice.

Three other points to note:

First, all ILR students must complete the ILR Stats Requirement.  While this is typically done by taking ILRST 2100, you can instead satisfy this requirement by taking either Econ 3110 or Econ 3130.  Hence, if you are interested in the ILR Economics minor and you feel comfortable with mathematics, you are welcome to jump straight into Econ 3110 or Econ 3130.  (That said, because these are work-intensive courses, we recommend NOT taking these courses in your freshman fall when you are still adjusting to college life.)

Second, Econ 3130-3140 is taught only as a Fall-Spring sequence—i.e., Econ 3130 is only taught in the Fall, and Econ 3140 is only taught in the Spring.  In contrast, Econ 3110-3120 can be taken Fall-Spring or Spring-Fall—i.e., Econ 3110 is taught in both the Fall and Spring, and Econ 3120 is also taught in both the Fall and Spring.  It is also fine to have a gap between these courses—e.g., you could take Econ 3110 in Fall 2014 and then Econ 3120 in Fall 2015.

Third, it can be ok to switch from one sequence to the other.  If you start with Econ 3130 for your statistics course, it is always ok to switch to Econ 3120 for your econometrics course.  However, if you start with Econ 3110 for you statistics course, in most cases you will not be permitted to switch to Econ 3140 for your econometrics course—because the material taught in Econ 3130 is more advanced than the material taught in Econ 3110, and Econ 3140 assumes knowledge of this more advanced material.  However, switches in this direction can be made for exceptional cases if you get special permission from the instructor of Econ 3140.

The Discontinued Course: Econ 3125 (formerly Econ 3210)

Econ 3125 (formerly Econ 3210) was a course that combined applied statistics and applied econometrics into a single semester.  This course was not very successful because it attempted to cover too much material in a single semester, and thus the two-course sequence Econ 3110-3120 was created to replace this course.

Effective Fall 2014, Econ 3125 has been discontinued—(it will never be taught again).

If you have already taken this course, then it will count as 1 of your 9 minor courses, and satisfies your statistics & econometrics requirement.

For students in the Class of 2016 who have not yet taken econometrics, you are now required to take one of the two-course sequences described above.

Take Statistics & Econometrics Early

Ideally, you should take core statistics & econometrics as early as you reasonably can.  The basic structure of the ILR Economics minor is that you first learn core methodologies, and then you use these methodologies in your advanced economics electives.  Hence, the earlier you learn the methodologies, the more flexibility you’ll have in taking your advanced economics electives.  Moreover, while many advanced economics electives do not require econometrics, empirical research is discussed, and you’ll better understand that research if you have already taken econometrics.

Other Statistics Courses

There are many statistics courses taught at Cornell, and students sometimes ask whether those courses can be used in place of ECON 3110 or ECON 3130.  This section describes our current policies on alternative statistics courses.

Note: We strongly encourage all Econ minors to take ECON 3110 or ECON 3130, and not one of the other statistics courses on campus.  ECON 3110 and ECON 3130 directly prepare you for our econometrics courses in a way that the other statistics courses do not, and they are also much more focused on economics examples.  We typically expect that students would take an alternative statistics course only if they inadvertently took that course before realizing that they wanted to minor in economics.

In fact, there are two separate questions with regard to alternative statistics courses.  The first question is whether an alternative statistics course can serve as a prerequisite for one of our econometrics courses (ECON 3120 or ECON 3140).  The second question is, if an alternative statistics course can serve as a prerequisite for an econometrics course, can it also count toward the Econ minor.

In general, the answer to the second question will be NO.  While the topics in other statistics courses may be similar to the topics in our courses, our courses use many more economics examples.  Hence, we do NOT permit those courses to count toward the Econ minor.  The only exception is if a student takes both MATH 4710 and MATH 4720 (see below).

The answer to the first question varies depending on the level of mathematical rigor in the other statistics courses—in particular, based on our assessment of how well those courses prepare you for our econometrics courses.

With that background, here are our policies for specific courses:

  • MATH 4710 & MATH 4720: If a student takes both MATH 4710 and MATH 4720, this combination of courses can count fully in place of ECON 3130.  Hence, this combination can serve as a prerequisite for either ECON 3120 or ECON 3140, and this combination can be counted as one course toward the Econ minor.
  • MATH 4710: If a student takes MATH 4710 (and not MATH 4720), this course can serve as a prerequisite for either ECON 3120 or ECON 3140, but it cannot be counted toward the Econ minor.
  • STSCI 3080/BTRY 3080/ILRST 3080: This course can serve as a prerequisite for either ECON 3120 or ECON 3140, but it cannot be counted toward the Econ minor.
  • ORIE 3500: This course can serve as a prerequisite for ECON 3120.  It might also serve as a prerequisite for ECON 3140, but only with excellent performance and with explicit special permission from the instructor of ECON 3140.  This course cannot be counted toward the Econ minor.
  • PAM 2101: This course can serve as a prerequisite for ECON 3120 as long as you receive a grade of B or better.  This course cannot serve as a prerequisite for ECON 3140, and it cannot be counted toward the Econ minor.
  • Other courses: None of the courses in the group below can serve as a prerequisite for either ECON 3120 or ECON 3140, and thus none of these courses can be counted toward the Econ minor: PAM 2100, SOC 3010, AEM 2100, STSCI 2100/ILRST 2100

Advanced Electives

After completing your introductory and core courses, your remaining economics courses will consist of a series of advanced Economics electives.  We offer a broad range of electives, and in general ILR Economics minors have the freedom to design a set of courses that best matches their interests.  However, we encourage minors to seek advice from Economics faculty on how to put together a coherent set of electives.

Here is some additional information about advanced Economics electives:

Number of Advanced Electives

The number of advanced electives that you are required to take depends on how you satisfy the introductory and core requirements.  The general rule is that, to complete the ILR Economics Minor, you must take enough advanced Economics electives so that you have taken a total of 9 Econ courses.

The majority of students will satisfy the introductory and core requirements by taking Econ 1110, Econ 1120, Econ 3030, Econ 3040, and one of the two-course sequences on statistics and econometrics.  Such students will need to take 3 advanced Economics electives.

Some students will follow the same path except that they use Econ 3125 (formerly Econ 3210) to satisfy the statistics and econometrics requirement.  Such students will need to take 4 advanced Economics electives.

Finally, some students might take an accelerated route through the introductory and core micro and macro courses, and thus need to take even more advanced Economics electives.  As an extreme example, if a student takes Econ 3010, Econ 3020, and Econ 3125 (formerly Econ 3210), then that student will need to take 6 advanced Economics electives.

ILR Economics Policy Elective

All ILR students must take a course that satisfies the ILR Economics Policy Elective.  Many—but not all—of the courses which satisfy this elective have an ECON number.  If the course you take to satisfy the ILR Economics Policy Elective has an ECON number that is 3150 or larger, then that course can also be counted as 1 of your 9 minor courses (you need not enroll in the ECON number).

Categories of Advanced Economics Electives

The advanced Economics electives are categorized as electives that require core courses vs. electives that do not require core courses --- in other words, they are categorized by whether they require at least one of the core methodology courses in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics.  The course numbers reflect these categories --- courses numbered 3150-3999 do not require any core courses, and courses numbered 4000-4989 require at least one core course.

Courses numbered 4900-4989 are a new set of small seminar courses. These courses require at least one of the core methodology courses in Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Econometrics.  These courses are capped at 25 students and involve a substantial writing component.  

Other Information

Courses taught by other departments can be counted toward the Economics minor only if they are cross-listed with Economics (meaning they have an Econ course number).   In particular, please note that business courses—accounting, marketing, and so forth—cannot be counted toward the Economics minor.

ILR Economics minors can take graduate-level Economics courses, but only with the permission of the instructor and the Economics DUS. Graduate courses generally require a very strong math background—at least through multivariable calculus and in some cases analysis—and a lot more work than a 3000-level or 4000-level Economics course.

Please note that Independent Study courses (Econ 4999) can never be counted toward the ILR Economics minor.