About Economics

Economics: A Way of Thinking

Economics is often called the study of how to resolve scarcity so as to best satisfy our wants and needs — how to allocate scarce resources, such as money, natural resources, our time, or our energy, among their many competing uses. That's the subject of economics.

Perhaps more important, though, is that economics is a way of thinking. The most important thing you'll get from studying economics is that you'll learn to "think like an economist" — developing skill at identifying the essential elements of a problem, and developing the analytical skills for finding solutions.

This economic way of thinking and analyzing can be applied to a remarkable range of problems, in many different fields: how to make good individual decisions and good business decisions; how to take account of strategic considerations; how to explain human behavior (and even animal behavior!); how to address public policy issues such as unemployment, inflation, pollution, and international trade and politics.

New ways are always being discovered to apply the economic way of thinking: to marriage, divorce, and fertility; to intellectual property and the Internet; to the ecological balance of nature; to just about anything people, animals, firms, and governments do.

Careers in Economics

Consequently, studying economics gives you a superb preparation for many careers in business, law, government, education, and consulting. Graduates with a bachelors degree in economics are sought by financial institutions, by consulting firms, by government agencies, by law schools and business schools, and by business firms of all kinds and all sizes. This is reflected in the salaries that economics graduates command — and not only at the beginning of their careers, but also in growth of income throughout their careers.

Studying Economics

For undergraduates, the University of Arizona's Economics Department offers two majors: a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics, under the auspices of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.) in Business Economics, under the auspices of the Eller College of Management. The courses required for the two majors are similar, while required courses outside the major emphasize other aspects of business (for the B.S. in the Eller College) or other areas in the liberal arts (for the B.A. in the SBS College).

For students who want a first-rate doctoral program, leading to the Ph.D. in economics, the University of Arizona is often the choice. The Arizona program doesn't offer every possible field of doctoral specialization in economics, but is instead intensely focused on a few fields that are central, and in which we excel: industrial organization (the study of market structure and strategy); labor economics; behavioral and experimental economics; economic history; and resource economics. We admit students selectively, in small numbers, to ensure that they enjoy substantial interaction with the faculty throughout their study in the Department.

For more information, please contact us.