PETER B. LUND
WHY SHOULD AN ECONOMICS MAJOR STUDENT SEEK ADVISING FROM THE ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT?
THERE ARE NINE GOOD REASONS: Calandri, Dube, Henry, Kerby, Lund, Polkinghorn, Quade, Sexton, and Yang.
Yes, the Department faculty! Get to know them. They have good academic and career advice for you. But, just as important, theyre interesting people, and you never know what youll find out in talking to them. Besides, as a major student in the Department, you're required to see an advisor at least once a year.
HOWEVER, for your edification between the meetings with your advisor, weve prepared for you the following information and advice about your career as a major in the Department and afterwards.
WHAT TO TAKE AND WHEN
The BA Program has a simple structure:
However, a few pieces of advice and information about it and how best to proceed through your program might help.
The Lower Division Foundation. All lower division courses provide a foundation for the upper division courses. This is evidenced by 1A or 1B or both as prerequisite for most of the upper division courses. While not prerequisite to upper division courses, the MIS 1A, B, C and Stat courses should be taken as early as they can be and, preferably, prior to upper division courses.
The Upper Division Foundation. Three of the required upper division courses provide a foundation for work in the upper division elective courses. These are: Econ 100A, 100B, and 101. They should be taken early in your upper division program. The fourth upper division requirement, Econ 145, should be taken your last or second to last semester, as its a capstone course.
A word of caution: Econ 100A and 100B prove for most students to be among the most difficult in the Department, so its advisable not to take both in the same semester.
Electives. Other than the required courses, there is no further structure to the BA Program, such as areas of concentration. Selection of electives is entirely at your option. Your post-graduation plans may guide your choice of electives. See the sections below concerning post-graduation options. Talking in person with an advisor will help with your selection of electives.
A word of caution: Be sure to read the catalog for course prerequisites and other restrictions on your enrollment in upper division courses.
Major Courses and the GE Program. Be careful to observe the overlap rule between major courses and GE requirements. No upper division Economics course may be used by an Economics major to satisfy GE requirements, whether the course is used to meet major requirements or not. Up to six units of lower division coursework used in the major may be used to satisfy GE requirements.
Minimum Grade Requirements. There are two grade requirements that must be observed in the Econ major: A minimum grade of "C-" in each of the four required upper division courses and a minimum "C" in the major, overall. (Note: with the next University Catalog, the "C-" requirement will be changed to a "C." Those who may choose to graduate under the requirements of the catalog in force at the time of graduation should keep this in mind.) An elective course in which a "D" has been earned is acceptable in the major program.
Two-semester Class Schedule. The adoption by the University of an annual Class Schedule allows for somewhat longer-range planning of course schedules. Be aware, though, that schedule change are made following the publication of the Class Schedule, and changes to the Spring Schedule will be more numerous than those made to the Fall Schedule.
Minor Programs. A minor program in another discipline is well worth considering. Obvious choices are disciplines related academically to Economics: Government, Public Policy and Administration, Math/Stat, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, and Business. However, any minor is a valuable addition to an undergraduate degree program.
Advice for Night Students. The Department schedules courses so that a student may
attend only evening classes and complete the major program within four consecutive
semesters. Each required upper division course is offered at least once a year in the
evening, and from 2 to 4 electives are scheduled during evening time slots. Selection for
night students among elective courses is, obviously, restricted compared to students who
can take courses during both day and night hours. Student time flexibility is important,
as advantage must be taken of courses when they are offered.
COURSE PLANNING NOW FOR POST-GRADUATION SUCCESS
Prospective MA or PhD Economists.
If theres a possibility you may go on to graduate study in economics and you havent done so yet, start talking with faculty members right now. Among other things of value, youll learn that the selection of courses in your undergraduate program needs special guidance.
All the better graduate departments of economics require their students to have strong math and stat preparation. Math 30 and 31 (calculus), Math 35 (linear algebra), and Stat 50 at CSUS are strongly recommended. In addition, Econ 141, Econometrics, is all but a necessity.
Your selection of electives should emphasize the core sub-disciplines of economics: Money and Banking, Government Finance, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Labor Economics, Economic History.
Finally, doing well in your Economics courses and getting to know your instructors so theyll write strong letters of recommendation for you is very important for admission into a good graduate program.
Prospective "Number Crunchers"
Quantitative skills and the ability to collect and analyze data are increasingly prized in the workplace. To strengthen these skills, you are well-advised to consider:
Your prospects for admission into a good MBA program will be enhanced by the addition of a Business Minor to your undergraduate program. Computer utilization skills that go beyond the MIS 1 level are recommended, as well. And a course or two in communications would be very valuable: public speaking, interpersonal communication.
Add an English minor to your undergraduate degree program. Law students and lawyers write, write, write, and must do so clearly and cogently. A government minor is useful, as well.
Prospective High School Teachers
Yes, an Economics major can become a teacher in the secondary schools of California. If you have any thought that you might like to pursue a teaching career, see the Department Chair immediately! The path to the secondary teaching credential is easier the sooner in your college career you plan the coursework that leads to the credential.
The credential for Economics students who wish to become secondary school teachers is the Social Science credential. To access a document which provides details concerning pathways to such a credential, click here: SS Credential (Note: this link is bad but will be corrected soon.) In brief, an Economics major can attain the credential by: (1) taking a set of carefully selected Economics, General Education, and elective courses that provide the necessary social science subject matter preparation, (2) taking and passing three examinations in social science, and (3) competing a program of professional training in teaching skills. The examinations are not required if the coursework taken meets the specific requirements of the Social Science Major Program.
Those Who Dont Know For Sure Whats Next
Talk with an advisor and see whats out there for an Economics major, including
all the above paths and more.
JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
Can You Get a Job With an Economics Degree?
This is an easy question to answer. Just check out what our graduates have done by accessing the alumni page on the Departments Web site. Go to the Career Development Center and check out the employers that interview graduating Economics students. Talk to an Economics advisor. Listed below are some of the job titles for which a degree in Economics is good preparation.
AND MANY OTHERS
If your schedule allows, consider signing up for an Economics internship Econ 195. Its a good way to take a look at the world of work in a area you might be interested in. Academic credit is given, and paid internships may be allowed. Check out the Internship page on the Department Web site for more information.
Career Development Center. Located on the third floor of Lassen Hall.
Department Job Announcement Bulletin Board. Located in the hall outside the Department Office.
Department Alumni. See the Department Chair for connections with alumni.