Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, and governments allocate resources to satisfy their objectives. The study of economics helps students understand markets, firms, financial organizations, and public debate about economic policy, including taxation, government expenditure, trade, globalization, health, and welfare. The concentration in Economics prepares students for graduate study in fields such as business and law, for graduate study leading to teaching and research in economics, and can be a steppingstone to employment in business, finance, non-profit, and government organizations. Students may choose either the standard or the professional track. 

Students are required to begin with ECON 0110, an introductory course that stresses the economic problems of our society, and the vocabulary and principles of economic analysis. Intermediate level courses in microeconomics (ECON 1130), macroeconomics (ECON 1210), and econometrics (ECON 1620) round out the list of foundation courses for the concentration. Economics students must also fulfill a calculus requirement.

The economics department sponsors a number of concentration options. The most popular is the standard economics concentration, described below. Three additional concentration options are administered jointly with other departments and are described separately under their respective titles. They are the concentrations in applied mathematics–economics, in mathematical economics, and in computer science–economics. The first two are especially recommended for students interested in graduate study in economics.

The department offers many of the required courses in an interdepartmental concentration called Business, Entrepreneurship and Organizations (BEO). BEO is jointly run by the departments of economics and sociology, and the school of engineering. BEO has three possible "tracks," of which the business economics track is most closely related to economics. Please contact the BEO administrator for more details, including information about advising in that concentration.

Standard Economics Concentration 

Mathematics Course Requirements: 11
Introductory Calculus, Part II
or a higher-level math course.
Economics Course Requirements:
ECON 0110Principles of Economics 31
ECON 1110Intermediate Microeconomics1
or ECON 1130 Intermediate Microeconomics (Mathematical)
ECON 1210Intermediate Macroeconomics1
ECON 1620Introduction to Econometrics1
ECON 1629Applied Research Methods for Economists1
or ECON 1630 Econometrics I
At least five additional 1000-level Economics courses. 25
Total Credits11

Note that certain advanced economics courses may impose additional mathematical prerequisites. The standard mathematics requirement may be met through Advanced Placement tests, but "placing into" a higher level mathematics course than MATH 0100, without actually taking that higher level course, does not satisfy the requirement. The AP mathematics credit must appear on your Brown transcript.


Note that ECON 1960 (thesis) and ECON 1940 do not count for concentration credit.


If placing out of ECON 0110 with AP or IB test scores, one must take an additional 1000-level course (6 instead of 5).

 All concentrators in economics programs are encouraged to consult their concentration advisors regularly. Economics concentrators who wish to study abroad should consult first with the department transfer credit advisor.


Students who wish to enroll in the honors program in economics should consult the department's undergraduate guide (available on its web site) to obtain a complete description of the requirements. See the description of Capstone Projects there, as well. Courses taken to prepare an honors thesis are in addition to the regular concentration requirements.

Professional Track

The requirements for the professional track include all those of the standard track, as well as the following:

Students must complete two two-to-four month full-time professional experiences, doing work that is related to their concentration programs.  Such work is normally done within an industrial organization, but may also be at a university under the supervision of a faculty member.

On completion of each professional experience, the student must write and upload to ASK a reflective essay about the experience addressing the following prompts, to be approved by the student's concentration advisor:

  • Which courses were put to use in your summer's work?  Which topics, in particular, were important?
  • In retrospect, which courses should you have taken before embarking on your summer experience? What are the topics from these courses that would have helped you over the summer if you had been more familiar with them?
  • Are there topics you should have been familiar with in preparation for your summer experience, but are not taught at Brown?  What are these topics?
  • What did you learn from the experience that probably could not have been picked up from course work?  
  • Is the sort of work you did over the summer something you would like to continue doing once you graduate?  Explain.
  • Would you recommend your summer experience to other Brown students? Explain.