Bachelor of Economics & Business


Program Description

Economics & Business (E.C.B.)

The department of economics and business combines two distinct yet related disciplines within the same major: Economics courses explore the choices people make when faced with scarcity, and the rules, laws, and customs governing those choices. Economic reasoning is applicable to many areas of human choices including law, the environment, and personal decision making. Business courses focus on economic decision making within firms. All organizations undertake strategies with limited resources, limited information, and shifting market conditions. Our business program emphasizes how managers make decisions, particularly financial decisions, in the face of such complexity. We believe that a liberal arts approach provides a deep understanding of modern economics and business.


The E.C.B. program cultivates analytical and quantitative approaches to solving economic problems. Our interdisciplinary curriculum offers a rigorous program in economic theory, applied economics and finance. Cornell’s distinctive One Course At A Time calendar allows us to deepen students’ understanding of economic problems through experiential learning.


Many of our alumni have moved directly into careers in business and government. Some have started their own firms. Others have found the E.C.B. major to be ideal preparation for graduate studies in business or law. We regularly place students in top-rated Ph.D. programs in economics.


To achieve our goals, our department partners closely with the Berry Center for Economics, Business, and Public Policy and the Career Engagement Center. The Berry Center provides many exceptional benefits to our students, including support for internships, off-campus courses, distinguished visitors, research projects, and post-graduate planning. The Career Engagement Center provides innovative and purposeful career development opportunities for Cornell College students, including the Cornell Fellows Program which provides high-level opportunities at companies and organizations throughout the world.

Academic Support

In Cornell’s E.C.B. program, you will be challenged and enabled to succeed. Through the dedicated members of the Economics Honors Society, the department provides tutoring services for all of our introductory level classes. The department also works closely with Cornell’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which offers customized guidance on writing and quantitative skills.


The economics and business major reflects a three-part educational model. First, we provide a solid foundation in economic and finance theory that trains students to "think like economists." Whether your path leads you straight to the workplace or to graduate studies, our rigorous and coherent economic framework builds the skills necessary to address complex economic problems and interpret the many facts that influence decisions. Second, we complement our strength in economic theory with a wide range of application-intensive courses. From 200-level courses onwards, you will see economic logic applied to contexts as diverse as environmental protection, professional sports, U.S. history, investments, and the banking sector. Our applied courses provide a solid grounding in techniques for analyzing data and testing economic models. Finally, because of our distinctive block calendar, Cornell students have the opportunity to experience aspects of economic and business life that are outside the reach of most undergraduates. We make our textbooks come alive by meeting the people, visiting the places, and directly observing the processes being studied. In addition to taking students off campus, we regularly host business leaders, best-selling authors, and scholars in our classrooms. We believe that economic lessons learned through first-hand experience will last a lifetime.

Course selection within the E.C.B. major

The E.C.B. department offers nearly thirty distinct courses spanning a wide range of sub-fields within the broad areas of economics and business. The academic catalogue describes each course in the department and outlines the specific E.C.B. major requirements. Students are encouraged to select courses that align with their long-term interests. Students who are interested in economic theory, public policy, and the application of economics to many diverse settings are encouraged to select courses in the economics track. Students who have a strong interest in economics applied to managerial and financial decisions are encouraged to pursue courses in the business track. The tracks are purely advisory in nature. The two tracks help students develop a coherent academic program best suited to their intellectual interests and career aspirations.

Course selection for the business minor

For students interested in combining their business interests with a primary major in another field, the E.C.B. department offers the business minor. The business minor is a structured alternative to the E.C.B. major. Students adopting the business minor will continue to benefit from the three foundations of our curricular model: rigorous theory, real-world applications, and experiential learning. At the same time, the business minor contains enough flexibility for students to pursue a major other than E.C.B.

E.C.B. as a part of a double or individualized major

Some students may wish to combine the E.C.B. major with other majors. Students committed to public policy may wish to double major in E.C.B. and politics. Those with an interest in environmental careers may consider an environmental studies and E.C.B. double major. Combining E.C.B. with mathematics or computer science is highly recommended for students pursuing graduate programs in economics, actuarial science and other fields. To obtain a double major, a student must satisfy all of the requirements for both academic departments. Cornell’s Bachelor of Special Studies degree makes it possible to customize your interests in economics and business with interests across multiple academic departments. The department will assist students in selecting interdisciplinary programs for special purposes.

Last updated February 2018

About the School

You’re inspired by learning in all the many ways and places it occurs. You do your best when you are immersed in a subject, engaged and absorbed. You love a challenge, and you thrive on adventure. So ... Read More

You’re inspired by learning in all the many ways and places it occurs. You do your best when you are immersed in a subject, engaged and absorbed. You love a challenge, and you thrive on adventure. So why settle for a conventional approach to learning when it comes to your college education? Read less