Bachelor of Arts in Economics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Economics is the study of production, distribution, and exchange of goods and services. It investigates such questions as price formation, degree of employment of labor and other resources, efficient use of scarce resour­ces, and the basis and effects of government policies in the economy. Economics also analyzes, compares, and contrasts different economic systems in the world, and studies the international economic relations among countries.

The areas of study in the Department fall into three broad classifications. The first of these, microeconomics, deals with the theoretical and empirical study of the behavior and interrelationships of individual economic agents, such as firms and individuals, and their interaction through markets. Next, macroeconomics examines the large sectors of the economy such as government, business, money and banking, and international trade. It also covers such topics as unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. Finally, econometrics uses statistics to estimate, test, and predict patterns of behavior of the various units and relationships that make up the economy.

The undergraduate economics program is designed to give students a beginning sense of what economists do as well as how they think. After taking the introductory course, ECO 108, students acquire a more thorough background in economic theory by taking ECO 303 and ECO 305 and in statistical methods by taking ECO 320 and 321. The remaining economics courses used to satisfy the major requirements focus on particular aspects of economics (e.g., labor markets, industrial organization, money and banking, economic development, finance) showing how economists analyze the theoretical and empirical issues. Some upper-division courses apply statistical methods, which are taught in the program.

Students with a degree in Economics can pursue graduate studies leading to an M.A. or Ph.D. in Economics, or to a Master of Business Administration degree. The major is also especially useful for students interested in graduate studies in such areas as law, human resources, public policy, and health economics. The majority of graduating Eco­nomics majors who continue their education either go to law school or pursue an M.B.A. A small number of graduates go to graduate school in economics. More than half the graduating seniors go directly into the job market. The great majority find entry-level positions in finance, marketing, sales, and various forms of business analysis and research. Many M.B.A. programs require applicants to have had work experience be­fore applying to their program, so many students enter the job market temporarily and eventually return to school for an advanced degree.

Students are urged to consider enrolling in ECO 488, Internship. Internships provide opportunities for students to integrate work experience into the Econo­mics major by doing related readings, keeping a daily journal, and writing an analytical paper under the supervision of a faculty member. To register for ECO 488, students must have the permission of the internship coordinator in the Department of Economics and the in­ternship manager in the Career Center. For further information, students should contact the Internship Coordinator in the Department.

Requirements For The Major In Economics (ECO)

The major in Economics leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree. All courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.

Completion of the major requires approximately 41-45 credits.

A. A minimum of 11 courses, at least ten of them in economics, distributed as follows:

  1. ECO 108 Introduction to Economics
  2. Intermediate economics courses:
    • ECO 303 Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
    • ECO 305 Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
    • ECO 320 Mathematical Statistics
    • ECO 321 Econometrics
  3. Five additional courses in economics at the 300 level and above, not including ECO 359 or ECO 459. Each of these must be taken for a minimum of three credits.
  4. One additional course, either in economics (not including ECO 359 or ECO 459) or from a list of pre-approved electives in other departments, that carries a minimum of three credits.

Note: No more than two 400-level courses will count toward fulfillment of the major.

B.  MAT 125 Calculus A (or MAT 130/MAT 125). If students do not place into MAT 125  on the basis of the math placement examination,  MAT 123  or MAT 119/MAT 123 is a required course for the major.

  • or  AMS 151  Applied Calculus I
  • or level 5 on the mathematics placement examination
  • or any higher-level calculus course (See Note 2)

C. Upper-Division Writing Requirement:

Students should meet the upper-division writing requirement before the end of the senior year, demonstrating their competence in writing for the discipline by registering for a WRTD certified Economics course, such as ECO 359. Alternatively, students may register for the 0-credit ECO 459 and obtain a satisfactory evaluation of their writing from the faculty instructor of any upper-division ECO course except ECO courses listed in A1 and A2 (above). When the course involves a term paper or other major writing assignments, this work will form the basis of evaluation. When the course involves no major writing assignment, the instructor will assign a special paper for those students in the class who wish to satisfy the writing requirement. In these cases, the number of students who permitted to seek evaluation may be limited. For double majors, students need to fulfill the Economics upper-division writing requirement in addition to their other major upper-division writing requirement.

Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.


  1. Students who need to take MAP 103 will be unable to take ECO 108 in the first semester of the freshman year and will have to adjust their schedule accordingly.
  2. Economics is a quantitative social science. Students planning to use their background in economics for graduate studies or in their careers should take additional courses in mathematics and applied mathematics.
  3. A maximum of four courses in economics taken at other institutions may be applied toward the major.

Independent Research

Students are encouraged to explore advanced subjects in economics through independent research supervised by a faculty member. Typically, an independent research project will emerge after a student has taken an upper-division ECO course that provides a foundation of knowledge and a relationship with a faculty member. The student should formulate the research project in consultation with the supervising faculty member before the start of the semester in which the research is undertaken for credit through ECO 487. The project should culminate in a substantial written paper. Credit is variable and will be awarded on the basis of the University's guideline that one credit should involve about four hours per week of work. Outstanding work will be featured in the annual university undergraduate achievement celebration.


Students are encouraged to explore opportunities for study in the context of an internship in a business, government, social service agency, or union setting.  Note that an internship for credit through ECO 488 is an academic undertaking; it is not the same as involvement in what the employing agency may call an internship.

An ECO 488 internship for credit provides an opportunity for the student to integrate work experience into the Economics major by doing related readings, keeping a daily journal reflecting on the lessons learned at work, and writing an analytical paper under the supervision of an ECO Department faculty member. Essentially, an internship for credit is an independent research project undertaken in the context of a work environment that provides the student with access to data, people, and experience that will make the study of some economic issue possible. Students are encouraged to base the internship study on an upper-division ECO course that has provided basic knowledge and analytic tools appropriate to the work setting. Credit is variable, depending upon the time involved.

To enroll for internship credit in ECO 488, a student must have the approval of a supervising faculty member in the Department of Economics and the permission of the internship manager in the University's Career Center. This will involve acknowledgment and cooperation from the employing agency. Permission must be arranged before the start of the semester in which the student enrolls in ECO 488. The academic component of the internship must be done at the same time as the work component in the business or agency in which the student works.


Honors in Economics

Qualified students can graduate with honors in Economics. As specified below, the requirements include an honors thesis approved by the Department's director of undergraduate studies. Qualified students interested in graduation with honors are urged to enroll in upper-division economics courses that provide them with the opportunity to write research papers which may be submitted for consideration as an honors thesis. For further information, students should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Economics.

Honors in Economics will be awarded to graduating seniors who have achieved the following:

  1. A grade point average of at least 3.25 in the four required courses (A. 1., 2.), with no less than a B in any one of these courses.
  2. A grade point average of at least 3.50 in any four electives in economics at the 300 level.
  3. Six credits in economics at the 400 level.
  4. An honors thesis submitted to the director of undergraduate studies for honors evaluation by the Undergraduate Committee.


What We Look for in a Freshman Applicant

Stony Brook is a highly selective institution, seeking to enroll those students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and academic ability to succeed. Applicants are evaluated on an individual basis. There is no automatic cutoff in the admission process, either in grade point average, rank, or test scores. The Admissions Committee seeks to enroll in the strongest and most diverse class possible.

Successful Applicants Will Typically Have:

  • High school diploma or equivalent (Regents diploma preferred for NY residents)
  • Strong high school academic program that includes:
    • 4 units of English
    • 4 units of social studies
    • 3 units of mathematics (4 units required for engineering and applied sciences)
    • 3 units of science (4 units required for engineering and applied sciences)
    • 2 or 3 units of a foreign language
  • Standardized test scores that indicate the promise of success in a rigorous undergraduate course of study.
  • Students who show evidence of leadership, special talents or interests, and other personal qualities through extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and other non-academic pursuits will receive special consideration.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2020 semester. At this time, space in our class is very limited and we may only be able to offer qualified students a spot on our Wait List.

Last updated Sep 2020

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About the School

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is home to an exceptionally diverse student body of nearly 27,000 high-achieving students — including more than 17,000 undergraduates — fro ... Read More

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is home to an exceptionally diverse student body of nearly 27,000 high-achieving students — including more than 17,000 undergraduates — from nearly all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Our energetic campus is ranked among the top 40 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. Wondering what makes a Stony Brook education unique? Here, you'll learn by doing. Each year, thousands of our students do research or independent projects alongside a faculty member, study abroad, volunteer in the community, intern in nearby New York City, or participate in another form of experiential learning. You'll apply the skills you learn in the classroom to real life, helping to prepare for your future and create a better world. Read less