The Economics Major (A&S Students)

Requirements

These requirements apply to 4-year students who matriculated at Cornell AFTER June 1, 2017, and to some transfer students (see Requirements for Transfer Students below). If you matriculated prior to June 1, 2017, please contact econdus@cornell.edu with questions.

Admission to the Major

Before applying for admission to the Economics Major, students must complete ECON 1110 and ECON 1120 (or equivalents) with grades of B- or better, and MATH 1110 (or equivalent) with a grade of C or better.

  • Due to university policies enacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, for courses taken in Spring 2020 ONLY, a grade in ECON 1110, 1120, and MATH 1110 of S or a grade that would have been equivalent to S (C- or better) meets the requirements for entry into the major.

After completing these courses, you are ready to declare the major (see Declaring the Major below).

We have prepared this worksheet to help declared majors check off the requirements of the Economics major. Save a copy of the worksheet on your desktop in order to use the fillable fields fully.

Basic Requirements

Twelve courses listed by the Department of Economics, or approved by the student’s major advisor, all with grades of C– or better. S/U grade option is not allowed. (Due to policies enacted by the university in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, economics courses taken S/U and for which an "S" is received during Spring 2020 ONLY will count toward the major.) These twelve courses must satisfy the above and following requirements:

(1) Except for ECON 1110 and ECON 1120, all courses must be at the 3000-level or higher.

(2) All students must take four core economics courses, one each in:

  • Microeconomics: ECON 3030
  • Macroeconomics: ECON 3040
  • Statistics: ECON 3110 or ECON 3130.
  • Econometrics: ECON 3120 or ECON 3140.

(3) All students must take at least three courses at the 4000-level.  

Note: Courses numbered 4900-4989 are seminar courses, which have a writing component and a smaller number of enrollees. The Economics Department recommends taking at least one of the 4000-level seminar courses.

(4) ECON 4990-4991, which is the two-semester honors sequence, can count as one course toward the twelve-course requirement. ECON 4999 cannot be counted toward the twelve-course requirement.

Additional Requirements

(A) ECON 1110 or ECON 1120 will count toward the 12 Economics courses required for the major only if the student receives official Cornell credit on their transcript for the course. This can be done by taking these courses at Cornell, receiving transfer credit for these courses, or receiving AP, GCE, or IB credit. (see the department's Policy for Intro Course Credit).

(B) Courses taken to fulfill Requirement (2) MUST be taken at Cornell*.  Majors are strongly advised to complete these courses as soon as possible as they provide foundations for many of the more specialized courses.

(C) For students who take Economics courses at a Cornell-sanctioned Study Abroad or at another university (e.g., during summer session):

(i) At least 8 of your 3000-level or higher Economics Major courses must be taken at Cornell*.  The only exception is if you participate in a Cornell-sanctioned two-semester Study Abroad program, in which case at least 6 of your 3000-level or higher Economics Major courses must be taken at Cornell*.

(ii) In addition, you can take at most 2 non-Study-Abroad courses at another university (and you still must satisfy (i)).

(iii) To obtain Economics Major credit for courses taken away from Cornell (including Study Abroad), you must get approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Economics courses taken through Cornell Winter Session, Cornell Summer Session, or Cornell in Washington count as being taken at Cornell.  Economics courses taken in a Cornell-sanctioned Study Abroad program or at another university, do NOT count as being taken at Cornell. 

(D) For students who transfer into Cornell with advanced standing:

(i) For requirements (B) and (C) above, Economics courses taken at your prior institution previous to your enrollment at Cornell and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies to count toward the Cornell Economics Major will count as being taken at Cornell.

(ii) In addition, at least 4 of your 3000-level or higher Economics Major courses must be taken during Cornell regular sessions, Cornell Winter Session, Cornell Summer Session, or Cornell in Washington.  Please note that Economics courses taken at your prior institution do not count toward this requirement.

(iii) Upon arriving at Cornell, transfer students should immediately set up a meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss which classes taken at your previous institution(s) can count toward your Economics Major at Cornell. Please make sure you bring copies of your transcript(s) and course syllabi to this meeting to facilitate a determination of how courses you have taken translate to economics courses at Cornell.

Policies regarding specific courses appear under Course Policies.

Requirements for Transfer Students

Transfer students are subject to the same requirements as non-transfer students. The only difference is that some of the classes they have taken at their previous institutions may count towards their Cornell requirements.

Placement Credit:

If you are using placement credit for ECON 1110, ECON 1120, or MATH 1110, the placement credit must appear on your Cornell transcript before applying to the major. 

Transfer Credit:

When you are admitted to the College, transfer students are given preliminary transfer credit equivalencies for courses taken at other institutions (usually designated by 1000E or 2000E on College of Arts and Sciences student transcripts).  This preliminary evaluation displays how your transfer credit fulfills any College requirements. For questions and information relating to satisfying general College of Arts & Sciences requirements, we suggest that transfer students also meet with an Arts & Sciences advisor.  All economics and math (calculus) transfer credit must be evaluated by the relevant department before applying to the major. 

Economics Credit:

Please send the following to econdus@cornell.edu: (1) an email that identifies the institution you are transferring from and the course(s) for which you are seeking Economics credit. Let the DUS know whether you've already sent your official transcript from your previous institution to A&S Student Services. Do not send transcripts through email as this is not a secure method of transfer for grades. You may also request a Zoom meeting with the DUS if you'd like to discuss anything.  (2) detailed course syllabus including contact hours, credit hours, prerequisites, course description, and basis for evaluation (assignments, tests, etc.). The syllabus must be attached as a PDF or Word file; links or screenshots will not be evaluated. (2) A PDF version of the A&S Transfer Credit form; please make sure you've completed all student portions. If the DUS approves your course for Economics credit, he or she will sign the form and send it back to you. You may then send it to A&S Student Services at as-studentserv@cornell.edu. It is the expectation of the DUS that these instructions are followed carefully; any request that deviates from this format will not be considered until the request is submitted properly.

Math Credit (MATH 1110 Calculus):

To have math credit evaluated, please submit a request on the Math Department's transfer credit website.  Wait until your MATH 1110 credit appears on your transcript, before applying to the major. Students who have taken another calculus course such as MATH 1910 Calculus for Engineers will still need to receive credit for MATH 1110 in order to be admitted to the Economics major. As an alternative to taking MATH 1110, students may opt to take the Mathematics Department Placement Exam for MATH 1110. The exam is offered twice each academic year, during fall and spring orientation with no make-up exams. For details, see https://math.cornell.edu/ap#cornell-placement-exams.

ECON 1110 and ECON 1120 Credit Policy:

The Economics Department does not grant credit for either ECON 1110 or ECON 1120 for a single semester “Principles of Economics” course that covers both introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics. There are no exceptions to this rule.  If you have taken such a course, you will need to take both ECON 1110 and ECON 1120 before you can declare the major.  Thus, if you intend to transfer to Cornell and major in economics, do not take such a course.  Look for semester-long introductory courses focusing on either microeconomics or macroeconomics.

Declaring the Economics Major

Before applying for admission to the Economics Major, students must complete ECON 1110 and ECON 1120 (or equivalents) with grades of B- or better, and MATH 1110 (or equivalent with a grade of C or better.

Due to university policies enacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, for courses taken in Spring 2020 ONLY, a grade in ECON 1110, 1120, and MATH 1110 of S or a grade that would have been equivalent to S (C- or better) meets the requirements for entry into the major.

Credits for ECON 1110, ECON 1120 and Math 1110 must be shown on your Cornell University Transcript.  There are no exceptions to these rules. Once these requirements are met, students should complete our online form by clicking the link below:

Application for Admission to the Economics Major 

Once we receive your application, you will be contacted about 7-10 days later to confirm your acceptance into the major and to let you know the name of your Economics Major Advisor. We will have access to your Cornell transcript, so there is no need to send a copy to us.

On your Application for Admission to the Economics Major, you are asked to list your preferences for your Economics Major Advisor.  For guidance in making this choice, please see the list below of available advisors along with their fields of interest.

We will do our best to meet your preferences.  However, we also need to spread advisees relatively evenly across department faculty, and thus we cannot promise that you will get one of your top choices.

Potential Advisors for Economics Majors (Fall 2021)

Advisor Fields
Barseghyan, Levon Macro, Applied Micro
Barwick, Panle Jia Applied Micro, Industrial Organization
Battaglini, Marco Economic Theory, Public, Political
Belot, Michele Applied Economics, Behavioral Economics
Coate, Stephen Applied Micro, Public, Political
Denti, Tommaso Decision Theory, Economic Theory, Game Theory
Easley, David Economic Theory, Micro, Finance 
Huckfeldt, Christopher Macro, Labor
Lovenheim, Michael Economics of Education, Public Finance, Labor Economics
McKee, Doug Applied Micro, Econometrics
Molinari, Francesca Econometrics
Nimark, Kristoffer Macro
O'Donoghue, Ted Applied Micro, Behavioral 
Patacchini, Eleonora Econometrics, Labor
Stoye, Joerg Econometrics 
Taschereau-Dumouchel, Mathieu  Macroeconomics 
Wissink, Jennifer Applied Micro, Public

Advising and Declaring

When you declare an Economics major, you will be assigned an advisor who is a member of the Economics Department.  Your relationship with your advisor is very important and we recommend that you meet regularly with your advisor --- at least once per semester.  This is your chance to develop a long-term relationship with a faculty member, who is there to provide advice, support, and potentially letters of recommendation.

You can meet with your advisor to map out a set of courses for your major and to discuss other courses at Cornell (although since Economics faculty advise only Economics majors, our knowledge of non-economics courses is limited).  You can also see your advisor to discuss career planning or to discuss any issues that you are currently dealing with. 

Your faculty advisor will not always have the answers you seek, but when they do not, they should be able to help you find someone appropriate to contact.  For more details on the advisor-advisee relationship, see the bottom section of this page.

When to Declare the Major

You are eligible to declare an Economics major once you have completed ECON 1110, ECON 1120, and MATH 1110 (or equivalents). For the formal procedure and grade thresholds, see Declaring the Major

However, there is no need to rush this decision, and you need not declare the major as soon as you are eligible.  Although some students declare as early as the second semester of their freshman year or the first semester of their sophomore year, more typically, students declare at the end of their sophomore year --- often after taking one or more intermediate core courses in addition to ECON 1110, ECON 1120, and MATH 1110.  Indeed, an advantage of delaying declaring your major is that it permits you to keep communicating with your freshman advisor, who might better be able to guide you through other A&S requirements than your Economics advisor.

Before declaring the major, you are welcome to speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Undergraduate Experience Coordinator to get general advice about the Economics major.  In addition, you are welcome to seek advice from the instructors of your Economics courses.

Please note that Arts College rules require you to declare at least one major—and process all the paperwork—by the end of your sophomore year (which really means by the end of sophomore summer).  If you are declaring Economics as a second major, it is perfectly fine to do so in later semesters.

Choosing Your Advisor

When you are admitted to the major, you will be assigned an Economics advisor.  On the Major Application Form, you will have the opportunity to list your top three choices for an advisor.  We suggest that you list faculty members with whom you have already developed a relationship, faculty from whom you have taken courses, or faculty who work in a field that interests you. On the Declaring the Major page, you’ll find a list of available advisors along with their research interests. 

We will do our best to meet your preferences; however, we also need to spread advisees relatively evenly across department faculty, and thus we cannot promise that you will get one of your top choices.

Please note: Faculty members of the Economics Department come from many different colleges at Cornell (Arts & Sciences, the ILR School, CALS, CHE, etc). Economics majors from the College of Arts & Sciences must have an advisor whose primary appointment is in the College of Arts & Sciences, and thus there are many faculty who teach Economics courses who are ineligible to be your advisor.  Again, for a list of possible advisors, see the Declaring the Major page.  Of course, you should feel welcome to get advice from any faculty member at Cornell, even if they are not your official advisor.

Changing Your Advisor

It is possible to change your advisor.  To do so, please email the Director of Undergraduate Studies (econdus@cornell.edu) with (i) a short explanation for why you would like to change your advisor, and (ii) your preferences for a new advisor.  Much as for new majors, we cannot guarantee that you will receive your top choice, so please list at least your top three choices.

Arrangements with Specific Faculty:

As discussed above, because we need to spread advisees relatively evenly across department faculty, we cannot promise that you will get one of your top choices for an advisor.  However, occasionally, a faculty member who already has a full set of advisees will agree to take on an additional advisee when it is a student with whom they have already established a relationship.  If a specific faculty member agrees to take you on as an advisee, please have that faculty member send an email to the Director of Undergraduate Studies stating that they will accept you as their advisee.

Details of the Advisor-Advisee Relationship

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind as you develop your relationship with your advisor.

Faculty Role

  • Your faculty advisor will be available to meet with you, within reason. You should expect to be able to email him/her and set up an appointment, and to schedule an appointment within a reasonable timeframe, but you should not expect him/her to be in the office all the time, nor should you expect him/her to be able to meet if you stop by unannounced outside of office hours.
  • Please keep in mind that many problems are better solved in person than over email. If you email your advisor with a question and s/he counters with a proposal to meet, it is because s/he knows an actual meeting will be more productive and efficient.
  • If your faculty advisor does not know the answer to one of your questions, you can expect him/her to refer you to someone who can supply that answer. Most frequently, you can expect to be referred to the A&S Office of Advising in KG17 Klarman Hall or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Student Role

  • Make regular appointments with your faculty advisor to discuss your progress, and contact your faculty advisor when questions or problems arise.
  • Prepare for meetings with your faculty advisor: have a list of questions prepared and/or (if your meeting is about pre-enroll) prepare a list of desired and alternative courses, as well as your rationale for taking each.
  • Be considerate of your faculty advisor: schedule appointments and keep them; arrive promptly.
  • Know the degree requirements and other relevant academic policies and procedures. Try using this worksheet to help you check off the requirements of the Economics major. 
  • Plan for your future and keep track of the planning. Check DUST at least once a term to keep track of your college requirements. Similarly, contact A&S Career Development to plan with them for your future. They can critique your resume, talk with you about possible careers, and help you with internships.
  • Seek help when you need it. If you are starting to fall behind or need some other kind of academic help, see your faculty advisor --- sooner rather than later.

Policy for Intro Course Credit

Official Cornell credit for Econ 1110 and/or Econ 1120 can be obtained in the following ways:

  1. Take these courses at Cornell, including Cornell Winter Session or Cornell Summer Session (online versions are acceptable).  If taken in this way, credit will automatically show up on your Cornell transcript. Note: Econ 1110 and Econ 1120 can be used to declare the major and count toward the 12 major courses only with a grade of B- or better for students who matriculated at Cornell after June 1, 2017.
  2. Receive placement credit by (i) receiving a score of 5 or better on the associated AP Exam (AP Microeconomics for Econ 1110, AP Macroeconomics for Econ 1120), (ii) receiving a score of A on the GCE "A" Level Examination in Economics (yields credit for both Econ 1110 and Econ 1120), and (iii) receiving a score of 6 or 7 on the IB Higher-Level Examination in Economics (yields credit for both Econ 1110 and Econ 1120).  If taken in this way, credit will show up on your Cornell transcript only after appropriate paperwork is submitted to the Arts & Sciences Academic Advising Office. Note that students planning further study in Economics are urged to forego the credits for at least one of the AP courses and take ECON 1110 or ECON 1120 in order to evaluate their prior preparation.
  3. Take equivalent courses at another college or university (including during the summer) and transfer the credit to Cornell.  If taken this way, the Director of Undergraduate Studies must approve the course as being equivalent to the respective course at Cornell.  We recommend that you seek such approval prior to taking the course --- to do so, please send an email to econdus@cornell.edu and include the institution at which the course will be taken, the course number, and a detailed syllabus that includes number of credits, contact hours, prerequisites, readings, assignments, etc.  After taking the course, credit will show up on your Cornell transcript only after you complete the Application for Credit from Another Institution (see http://as.cornell.edu/transferring-credits). Note: The Economics Department does not grant credit for either ECON 1110 or ECON 1120 for a single semester “Principles of Economics” course that covers both introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics. There are no exceptions to this rule.  If you have taken such a course, you will need to take both ECON 1110 and ECON 1120 before you can declare the major. 

Placement Credit for Math 1110

For admission to the Economics major, credit for MATH 1110 must appear on your Cornell transcript. There are many ways to get credit for MATH 1110, including placement credit via AP examinations, International Baccalaureate (IB),  French Baccalaureate, and GCE A-Level Exams. See the Department of Mathematics' Advanced Placement for Calculus page for more details.

Honors & Independent Study

Learn more about honors and independent study for economics majors.

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