Many, if not most, of the nation's and the world's most significant social problems have an economic dimension. Microeconomics provides the tools to analyze the trade-offs that individuals, firms, and governments confront because of limited resources. It considers the choices that are made, the social context in which they take place and the implications for human welfare. Economists apply these tools to study a wide range of controversial public policy questions, including environmental regulation, government restrictions on domestic and international markets, the structure of the legal system and the design of tax policy. Macroeconomics explores the sources of economic growth and the causes of recessions and inflation. Macroeconomic analysis assesses monetary policy, explains the performance of financial markets, and considers international trade and financial links.
The study of economics is an excellent way to acquire problem-solving skills and develop a logical, ordered way of looking at problems. It leads naturally to careers in business, law, and in economics research and consulting.
Economics is a standard pre-business major, because it provides insight into the operation of individual markets for goods and services, financial markets, and the global economic system, and because it provides the quantitative and analytical skills that enable students to succeed in a wide variety of business activities. Many law schools view economics as one of the best undergraduate majors because of its disciplined approach to the analysis of social issues. Some of our economics courses also relate specifically to legal issues. Careers in economics research or consulting require graduate work leading to either an M.A. or (more usually) a Ph.D. Please follow the "Careers & Graduate School" link on the left to learn more about WUSTL Economics majors' and minors' outcomes.
Please watch the video "A Career in Economics...It's Much More Than You Think," presented by the American Economic Association.
The video features four individuals offering insights on how economics can be a tool for solving very human problems and they provide some interesting perspectives on how they chose economics as a career path.
- Marcella Alsan, a physician of infectious disease, discusses why she needed to pursue a degree in economics to improve the lives of her patients.
- Randall Lewis, a research scientist at Google, uses economics and "big data" as tools to improve the functioning of markets.
- Britni Wilcher, a PhD student of economics, offers insight on some misconceptions about economists and factors influencing her career path decision.
- Peter Henry, dean at the NYU Stern School of Business, points to the true nature of economics and the importance of diverse voices informing the field.
If you are unsure if Economics is for you, please arrange an advising appointment with the Department’s Academic Coordinator. (See last menu link, at the left.)