Program Information for Current and Prospective Students

Are you a prospective student looking into Economics:- either thinking about taking it as a major or interested in what Economics actually involves and what Economists do? Perhaps you are a prospective student thinking about graduate studies in Economics? Or are you a current student looking to find information about courses and your degree? Below, you will find information about Econ here at Whitewater:- what Economics is all about and what Economists do. You may want to check out the message from our department chair, Professor Jeff Heinrich. Also, please visit our working paper archives to see what kind of projects our faculty are currently working on, as well as our undergraduate research page to see what kind of projects students like yourselves have worked on.

Below you'll find some things that will hopefully answer any questions you may have. If there's something thats not listed there, feel free to contact us at: 

What is Economics?

Wondering what Economics is all about? Economics is a social science that studies the interactions of individuals, firms, and governments. Economists investigate social questions and problems that emerge, which range from a variety of issues such as efficiency, resource allocation, inflation, unemployment, optimal policy, growth, discrimination, pollution, and poverty amongst others.  In investigating these kinds of problems, an economist typically does many of the following activities:

  1. Research and analyze issues and problems
  2. Conduct surveys and collect data
  3. Analyze data using mathematical models and statistical techniques, often using advanced computational techniques
  4. Prepare reports, tables, and charts that present research results
  5. Interpret and forecast market trends
  6. Advise businesses, governments, and individuals on market conditions
  7. Design policies or make recommendations for solving economic problems

Students that would like to become more involved can participate in Economics Society. To find out more information, visit their Facebook page


Why Major in Economics?

So why Major in Economics? Here are two simple reasons why:

  1. Good paying jobs! According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 the median salary for an economist was $101,050.
  2. Economics teaches valuable skills and problem solving techniques that are highly valued in business, government, and not-for-profit organizations.

Unlike specialized degrees (for example like an accounting or an engineering degree), Economics is a general degree that teaches problem-solving techniques and economic principles that can be applied in variety of jobs directly after graduation. Economics majors learn important business skills and training in Economics provides an opportunity to think analytically and critically in order to solve complex problems. At the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, an Economics degree allows our graduates to improve and develop the following set of skills:

  • Analytical and Critical Thinking skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Quantitative and Statistical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Economic Literacy

These are the kinds of skills that are sought after in a variety of fields, not just in Economics. Given recent economic events, businesses and organizations across many industries are increasingly relying on economic analysis and quantitative methods, to analyze and forecast business sales and other market conditions.

The Department of Economics offers the following undergraduate degrees:

  • BBA in the College of Business and Economics
  • BA or BS in the College of Letters and Sciences
  • BS in the College of Education


What Kind of Jobs Can I Get With An Economics Degree?

The analytical and quantiative skills of economics majors are what make them so valuable in the job market. A degree in Economics can lead to careers in both the private and public sectors, including a variety of analyst positions as well as careers in banking, sales, forecasting, urban planning, public policy, consulting, and research. For example, some of our graduates have gone on to work at public institutions like the U.S. Department of Defense and the FDIC, whilst others have gone on to work at private institutions like Wells Fargo Financial and the Midwest Stock Exchange. Some have even gone on to work in international organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In the private sector, business economists analyze data and provide information that managers use to make decisions. Many corporate CEOs have risen to their positions through the economics division. (For example, John Menard, Jr. of Menard's and Sam Walton of Walmart majored in economics). Most departments in federal, state, and local governments have agencies established to perform economic research and analysis. In addition, there are positions in nonprofit and other organizations in which economists conduct research and implement programs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fraction of Economists in 2010 employed in the following industries were:

  • Federal Government (excluding postal service): 32%
  • State Government (excluding education and hospitals): 13%
  • Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services: 13%
  • Scientific Research and Development Services: 8%
  • Local Government (excluding education and hospitals): 7%

Approximately 52% of economists were employed in government. To get a better sense of current jobs being offered, we recommend that you examine the website: which may help to give you a better sense of current economist positions being advertised.

Economics is also an excellent springboard for those students wishing to pursue an MBA degree or Law degree, as well as many other advanced graduate degrees that require quantitative and analytical training.

When is the Right Time to Take ECON 200 Level Courses?

After reading all this, hopefully you are interested in learning more about when to start taking courses in economics.We recommend that you read the following note that was prepared by the department. Below we provide links to the degrees we offer here at UW-Whitewater and course listings.