This analysis can focus on the use of money, production for profit, gender relations, consumer decisions, sources of unemployment, the causes of poverty or the conservation of the environment. At its core, it is about making choices both at the individual level and as a society. Economics also has a clearly defined method based on individual decision-making (Microeconomics) or on the characteristics of economies as a whole (Macroeconomics).
Economics is a dynamic field full of debates. Our understanding of how the economy operates and how individuals make decisions within this economic framework is constantly evolving. Economists do not shy away from controversy. Indeed, they are generally in the middle of most politically and socially charged debates. Economists often disagree with each other, making the field exciting and dynamic. Continual opportunities for discovery exist within Economics.
Why Study Economics
In our society, the economy has grown to dominate many aspects of life and infiltrates most others. The study of Economics, first and foremost, helps people understand the world around them.
Economics has a tremendous ability to improve a student's analytical capabilities. Students are not given a series of unconnected facts to memorize but a clear method for solving problems. The well-trained economist becomes a problem solver able to meet new challenges as they come along. This is the aspect of Economics which most appeals to a liberal education and will serve the student when he/she leaves school.
Economics forms an important link between more traditional liberal arts disciplines and professional programs. Students can enjoy the best of both tracks. As a traditional liberal arts discipline, the study of Economics routinely exposes students to a vast array of ideas from powerful thinkers. An Economics student is trained to analyze the central ideas of democracy, freedom, culture, and happiness. In addition, Economics forms an important linkage to professional programs by providing students with a series of recognizable skills and tools important to all professional programs. A student of the economy will understand the institutions within which businesses, public policy and the law all operate.
What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?
The Economics Major at Western State Colorado University offers surprising depth and research training for such a small college. The Economics program strives to develop knowledge, skills and abilities for our students that will serve them in the ever-changing world of the 21st Century. The curriculum is focused on critical thinking and problem solving as a path to knowledge and understanding. Written and spoken communication, analytical thinking and creativity are integrated in courses at all levels. Students graduating with an Economics degree will normally have already participated in a major research project combining statistical analysis, economic reasoning and study design and implementation.
The Economics program awards a Bachelor of Arts degree and offers two formal tracks based on students needs and interests. In addition, the faculty have developed a number of less formal arrangements to meet the needs of non-traditional interests:
- The Standard Major requires 33 semester hours in Economics and an academic minor in another discipline.
- The Secondary Teacher Certification Emphasis requires 66 credits and prepares students for the State of Colorado License in Social Science Education.
Economics study at Western is focused on a practical and applied understanding of the world around us. Courses contain theoretical content but are geared toward understanding real issues and current problems. Historical analysis is used to place current events within a context.
The Capstone Experience
The Senior Capstone has been enormously successful. During their senior year, Economics majors are engaged in real world consulting for local private businesses or government agencies. Here they integrate and apply the knowledge they have attained from their previous course work to the resolution of a particular policy issue. Students are responsible for all aspects of project design, implementation and analyses. The result is usually a document filling a need for the local economy and provides the student with concrete evidence of their proficiency.
The Economics Minor
The Economics program also provides a minor consisting of 18 semester hours which provides a basic understanding of the field.
Graduates with an Economics degree from Western have done extremely well. Economists find employment in all areas of the public and private sectors. Economics training at Western provides excellent background for the following:
- Graduate School
- Law School
- Business School
- Public Administration
- The Government Sector
- The Private Sector
- College or High School Teaching