Selection Advice

Freshman should first consult the Freshman-Placement Website at:

Introductory Courses

There are three ways to take introductory microeconomics and two ways to take introductory macroeconomics at Yale.

Microeconomics. The three introductory courses are Econ 108, 110, and 115. Econ 115 is a standard one-semester introduction to microeconomics taught in lecture format in both the fall and spring semesters, and available to all students. Econ 110 covers similar material, taught in a small-class format, and limited to freshmen. Econ 108 also covers similar material but with greater emphasis on quantitative methods and examples. It is intended for students with limited or no experience in calculus. Econ 108 and Econ 110 are taught in fall and spring and enrollment is by personal placement or by permission of the DUS with preference given to freshmen.

Macroeconomics. The two introductory courses are Econ 111 and 116. Econ 116 is a standard one-semester introduction to macroeconomics taught in lecture format in both the fall and spring semesters, and available to all students. Econ 111 covers similar material, taught in a small-class format in both the fall and spring semesters also, however, it is limited to freshmen and sophomore. All students must take a microeconomics course at Yale before taking their first macroeconomics course at Yale.

Acceleration. Most students start with introductory micro and macro but some students will have a strong background in economics and mathematics from high school. The freshman-placement website at Classes*v2 contains personal placement recommendations for all freshmen. For non-freshmen, see also the freshman placement tab at this site.

Intermediate and Econometric Courses

The economics major requires courses in intermediate microeconomics and macroeconomics. There are a variety of ways to meet these requirements, and the best option depends on the students’ background, interests, and future plans. Students are encouraged to fulfill these requirements relatively early in the major; they are required for some of the advanced courses and useful in most. Two of the three core courses are required for seminars.

Intermediate Economics. Most students fulfill this requirement by taking Econ 121 (micro) and 122 (macro), offered in both fall and spring. These courses provide a broad coverage of their respective fields. The pre-requisites for these courses are the introductory courses and fulfilling the math requirement of the major, or equivalent. Econ 125a (micro) and 126b (macro) focus on the more theoretical material in Econ 121 and 122, covering those topics in greater depth. They are intended for students with stronger math background. They also provide opportunities, as do Econ 350a and 351b, for students to get a taste of the kinds of material presented in graduate courses. Econ 125a and 126b require the introductory courses and Math 118 or 120, or equivalent. Students may take Econ 126 without taking Econ 125 and vice versa.

Econometrics. The economics major requires a course in econometrics and can be met by taking Econ 131, 132 or 136. We advise most students to take a second econometrics course especially if they are considering a senior essay. One option is to take Econ 131 and 132: both courses are offered in the fall and the spring. Another option is to take Econ 132 after a course in the Statistics 101-6 series or after Statistics 238. Students with a stronger math background are encouraged to take Econ 135 followed by Econ 136. This sequence covers topics in greater depth. Econ 135 requires Math 118 or 120 and Math 222 or 225. Econ 136 requires Econ 135.

Students Interested in the Possibility of Pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics

Although the requirements of the economics degree at Yale will give you a good foundation for graduate studies, most Ph.D. programs expect students to have taken some additional courses, particularly in statistics and mathematics.

Mathematics. Most graduate schools will expect students to have taken multivariate calculus (for example, Math 120), and a course in linear algebra (for example Math 222, 225, or 230). The mathematics department also provides higher level courses that more than cover this material. A more advanced topic that is useful in graduate study is analysis [covered for example in Math 300 or 301].

Econometrics and Statistics. It is strongly recommended that students take one of the department’s second courses in econometrics, Econ 136 or 132. The math and statistics departments provide a variety of advanced courses in probability, statistics and stochastic processes that are useful in graduate study.

Economic Theory. Although the more mathematical theory courses (Econ 125, 126, 350, and 351) are not required for admission to graduate school, taking one or more of them gives extra preparation and exposes students to the kind of course material they can expect in graduate school.

Senior Essay. The independent research experience involved in writing a senior essay is extremely valuable as preparation for graduate school.