Skip to main content

Study Abroad

Many Economics majors study abroad, and they frequently count Economics courses taken abroad toward their Economics major.  Some of the most popular programs among Economics majors are:

  • University College London (UCL), UK
  • Oxford University, UK
  • London School of Economics (LSE), UK
  • University of Seville, Spain
  • University of Paris, France

But Economics majors participate in numerous other programs as well.

Below, you’ll find information about the Study Abroad process, including the rules regarding study abroad courses counting towards the Economics major.

The Study Abroad Process

Step 1: Identify a program that interests you.

Your starting point in identifying a program is the Cornell Abroad Website.  There, you will find information about Study Abroad in general and about specific programs.  As you consider programs, make sure you are following the Study Abroad Guidelines for Arts & Sciences.

Note: The Study Abroad office has put together this document that lists recommended Study Abroad options for Economics students.  This document is a very useful reference, although please keep in mind that it was prepared without much input from the Economics Department.

Step 2: Make your application

Once you identify your program, you’ll generate an application via the Cornell Abroad Website.  Most of the application you’ll complete on your own, but there are two places that require signatures from Economics Department faculty—both places are on the A&S Study Abroad Program & Course Approval Form, Part II.

First, you must see your Economics faculty advisor.  Your faculty advisor will assess how study abroad fits into both your Economics major and your overall academic program.  If he/she agrees that study abroad works well for you, he/she will sign the bottom section of this form.  Important: Your faculty advisor does NOT approve specific courses—see the next paragraph.

Second, if you plan to count Economics courses taken abroad toward the Economics major, you also must see the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) or the Associate DUS. The DUS or Associate DUS—and not your faculty advisor—makes all decisions about whether and how specific Study-Abroad courses can be counted toward the Economics major.

Here is a sample A&S Study Abroad Program & Course Approval Form, Part II, highlighting where you’ll need signatures from Economics Department Faculty.

The general rule is that for a study abroad course to count towards the Economics major it must require as an official prerequisite at least introductory microeconomics and/or introductory macroeconomics.  There are no exceptions to this rule and you are responsible for determining that it is satisfied for any study abroad courses you propose.

Furthermore, for a study abroad course to count towards the Economics major as a 4000-level elective, it must require as an official prerequisite intermediate microeconomics and/or intermediate macroeconomics, or econometrics. Again, there are no exceptions to this rule and you are responsible for determining that study abroad courses you want to count as 4000-level electives satisfy it.   

To provide help in this regard, please see our  Acceptable Study Abroad Courses.  This document gives some guidance regarding the courses at some popular Study Abroad programs that might count toward the Cornell Economics major. 

Step 3: Get accepted, and go study abroad!

Step 4: Return to Cornell, and get Economics courses approved.

When you return to Cornell, you must complete a Request for Approval of Credit Completed Abroad—you can pick up this form from the A&S Advising Office.  On this form, the DUS or Associate DUS must sign to approve any Economics course taken abroad that will count toward the Economics major.  Here is a sample of this form that highlights where the DUS or Associate DUS must sign.

Please note: This process will be put online soon—new instructions will appear here once that transition is made.

Further Information

Where to study: If your goal is to take high-quality Economics classes while studying abroad, then the best options are the top UK institutions of UCL, Oxford, and LSE.  These institutions have excellent Economics departments, with a large number of available Economics courses.  However, we permit students to count Economics courses from a very large number of programs.  Please gather information about the program or programs that most interest you, and then see the DUS or Associate DUS to discuss whether these programs have acceptable Economics courses. 

Core Economics courses: Please remember that your core Economics courses—Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, Statistics and Probability, and Econometrics—cannot be taken abroad—these courses must be taken at Cornell. 

For Economics majors who plan to study abroad, it is strongly recommended that you complete all your core Economics courses before going abroad.  These courses cannot be completed abroad, and failing to complete these courses prior to going abroad will make it difficult to complete the Economics major.  Moreover, having taken all the core courses will increase the range of economics courses you can take when abroad. Any student who would like to go abroad without fulfilling this recommendation must have his/her Economics advisor certify that the student has a concrete and workable plan for how to study abroad and still complete the requirements of the Economics major. 

Please note: to be competitive for some UK programs (such as UCL), you must take all core courses and receive excellent grades. For advice on your competiveness, please see a study abroad advisor. 

Number of courses: Please remember that there are limits on the number Economics courses taken abroad that can count toward the Economics major—see your major requirements for details.

Types of courses to take: Except for the core Economics courses, an Economics course taken abroad can be on virtually any economics topic.  However, we encourage students to take advantage of their study abroad programs by taking Economics courses on topics that are not available at Cornell.

Pre-approval is useful, but not necessary:  If the DUS or Associate DUS pre-approve a course, then we are committing to accept that course toward the economics major (subject to successful completion and subject to the restrictions on the number of courses).  However, it is perfectly fine to decide to take a non-pre-approved course after arriving at your Study Abroad location—and indeed, students frequently decide (or need) to adjust their courses once they arrive.  In that case, you can either email the DUS ( at the start of the semester and ask for a new preapproval, or you can merely wait and ask when you return.

Related Links

Main Office
Department of Economics
404 Uris Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, N.Y. 14853
Phone: (607) 255-4254
Fax: (607) 255-2818