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Department of Economics

Undergraduate Economics

Why Economics?

Students choose to major in economics for two strong reasons. They want deeper understanding of economic phenomena and they enjoy the rigorous reasoning. A weak reason for majoring in economics is for the sake of career. Career prospects are brighter with academic success. Success is more likely when a student chooses a major where the subject matter is interesting and the required skills match a student's abilities.

Choice of undergraduate major has only a modest association with ultimate career. Some of the faculty in this Department majored in physics, mathematics, and engineering as undergraduates. One need not major in economics in order to become a professional economist.

A majority of Vanderbilt's economics majors enter professional schools within a few years of graduation. About two-thirds expect MBAs, and a quarter expect law degrees. Other students find employment in a wide variety of industries. Some also go to medical and dental schools, to graduate study in public policy, religion, and other fields as well as graduate study in economics. Success in the economics major is good preparation for a variety of careers.

Studying economics will develop habits of careful thought, the application of mathematics, and practice in clear writing. Economists engage the world of current affairs. Studying economics includes learning to use statistics and to read critically. Economics majors are interesting people both because of their skills and because they can explain why economic phenomena occur and how economic performance might improve.