Economics Major

Economics is defined as the study of how people choose to use their scarce resources in an attempt to satisfy their unlimited wants. In other words, we have unlimited possibilities in life to do whatever we want, but we are limited by the resources we have to do these things.

Economics builds scientific models to explain why people behave the way they do. And economists use these models, in conjunction with their observations of the world, to analyze and explain why things happen the way they do.

Economics is about solving problems. Even more, economics is about finding the truth, even if the truth may go counter to what you, and most people, may intuitively believe. From The Wealth of Nations to Freakonomics, the writings of economists have had a major impact on social thought and the decisions of policy makers.

Students majoring in Economics should have good analytical skills along with good writing skills. Economic graduates find employment in banking, finance, retail, government, planning, and forecasting. Also, Economics is a perfect preparation for Law School.

Top Student Research is recognized annually by our Adam Smith Prizes. These prizes are awarded to the top two research papers submitted each year. Beginning in 2010, this award is funded by alumnus John Haines.  First prize is $2000 and second prize is $1000.

The Economics Department hosts the Joseph Lucia Memorial Lecture each year. Past speakers include several Nobel Laureates such as James Tobin, James Buchanan, and Joseph Stiglitz. Since 2003, this event has been funded by alumnus William Stewart.

One strength of the Economics degree is the wide variety of topics students can study –Public Finance, Industrial Organization, International Trade and Game Theory to name just a few of our upper division electives. In addition, students interested in graduate study, are strongly encouraged to take Econometrics, Mathematical Economics, and Advanced Macroeconomics.

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences majoring in Economics receive the Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Adam Smith Prize Winners

View the 2011 Adam Smith Prize winners:

2014 Adam Smith Contest Announcement:
In the spring of 2012, the Department of Economics and Statistics will once again conduct the student research paper competition known as the Adam Smith Contest.  To be eligible, papers must have been written by Villanova Economics majors or minors in the class of 2013, 2014 or 2015 in conjunction with Villanova coursework and may address any topic in economics.   Entries up to 10,000 words are acceptable.  The deadline for paper submission is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 31, 2014.  Submissions should be emailed to  Finalists will present their papers at a luncheon on Friday, April 11, 2014.  Finalists will be judged on both written content and oral presentation.  Winners will be announced after presentations end.  First- and second-place winners will be recognized with cash awards of $2000 and $1000, respectively; honorable mention awards (if any) will be $500 each.   The Adam Smith Contest is funded by a gift from John Haines (A&S ’79).

Required Courses

ECO 1001 - Intro to Micro
ECO 1002 - Intro to Macro
MAT 1430  - Business Statistics  -OR-  MAT 1235 - Intro Statistics II
ECO 2101
- Macro-Econ Theory
ECO 2102 - Micro-Econ Theory
ECO 3132 - Research Methods in Economics
ECO 4132 - Seminar in Economics

One semester of calculus (which is taken as part of the core requirements)

Four economics elective courses numbered 3000 or higher

For the minor: Eco 1001,1002, 2101,2102 plus 2 courses numbered 3000 or higher.

Why major in Economics?

Don't just take our word for it that Economics is a great major, see what others have to say:

-- The American Economic Association Undergraduate Guide

-- Economics: The Gut Major

-- The Rise of the Economics Major

And if salary is a consideration, see what has to say.

Top majors are invited to join Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society in Economics.