First Year Program - Economics Skip Navigation

Economics (ECON)

Chair: R. Turner

The objective of the Department of Economics is the development of students’ understanding of economics as the social science that deals with production, consumption, and market exchange activities with an emphasis on enhancing problem solving, deductive reasoning, and quantitative skills.  Students may major in economics, mathematical economics, or environmental economics.  

Interested students should plan to take ECON 151 in the first year, however, students can still stay on track if it's taken after the first year. In order to declare a major or minor, students must have already completed either ECON 251 or ECON 252 with a grade of C or better. ECON 151 is the prerequisite for ECON 251 and ECON 252. Majors advance through a core of analytical courses and choose among a series of options in theoretical and applied economics. Students with an interest in graduate work leading to careers in such fields as economics, law, business, or public administration are asked to discuss these objectives early in their college careers in order to plan an appropriate program in economics. While not an undergraduate business or professional school, the department provides essential background for a variety of career interests.

As a basic theory course, ECON 151 stresses problem-solving and deductive-reasoning skills essential to a successful major in the field. It is the first course for all potential majors unless they enter with AP or transfer credit. In the last instance, the department chair must be contacted as early as possible.

Because the introductory course is in great demand, students may not secure a seat in their first semester. Students do not have to take this course during their first year in order to become an economics major, but prospective majors should aim to complete 151, 251, 252, and statistics by the end of sophomore year, especially if they plan to study abroad during their junior year.

Introduction to Statistics (MATH 105 or CORE 143S) is a prerequisite for ECON 375 and for the economics major. Other statistics courses (such as MATH 316) may be substituted for MATH 105 or CORE 143S subject to departmental approval. Students are strongly encouraged to take calculus: MATH 161, 162, and 163 (Calculus I, II, and III) are especially helpful. A good mathematics background makes advanced work in economics at Colgate more accessible and more interesting. Students with a strong interest in mathematics should consider the major in mathematical economics.

Advanced Placement

Colgate course credit for ECON 151 is awarded to students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on both the AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics exams. Credit is not awarded if only one exam is taken or if a score of 3 or lower is received on one exam.


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ECON 105, Principles of Accounting
A study of the fundamental principles underlying financial accounting and reporting. Emphasis is on analysis, interpretation, and understanding of accounting information, and how such information influences management decision-making. Recommended as a tool course, this course does not count toward the major, minor, or Area of Inquiry requirements.

ECON 151, Introduction to Economics
A general introduction to the subject matter and analytical tools of economics including micro- and macroeconomic theory.