Undergraduate Program


Ebonya Washington portrait
So glad you are interested in learning more about majoring in economics at Yale. Reasonably given its name, many people think economics is the study of the economy including recessions and inflation and perhaps stocks and bonds as well. While macroeconomics and finance are important parts of the field, economics in general and at Yale is a much broader field. 
Are you interested in understanding….
  • How a charity should design its appeals to raise more money?
  • What interventions help poor people to attain more prosperous outcomes? 
  • How national health reform is affecting the nation’s health and wealth?
  • How international trade affects the environment? 
  • Why there are gender and racial wage gaps?
Then come explore economics at Yale.  We have professors teaching and researching these topics and more, in settings from 18th century Europe to  present day Ghana to trying to predict the future impacts of policies in the United States.  Students have the opportunity to explore research first hand while working with a professor, in either our summer or academic year programs. Economics majors may explore a subject of their own choosing in a senior thesis. In the past, thesis writers have investigated topics as diverse as an analysis of the behavior of black jack players, the impact of charters schools on student performance and the effect of crime on urban residential patterns. Examples of thesis papers nominated can be found on the prize page
This diversity of topics to study at Yale is followed by an array of post-college opportunities for the economics major.  Economics majors work at government agencies such as the Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Labor Statistics or a local mayor’s office; for non-profits that focus on topics from the arts to poverty alleviation; for research or think tanks such as the Urban Institute or The Heritage Foundation. And of course many economics majors work in economic consulting or investment banking. Economics majors may also continue with their schooling to obtain a PhD in economics in order to pursue a career in academic research. 
Finally let me address the misconception that a student has to be a math whiz just to begin to study economics. Untrue. Our introductory microeconomics classes have no math prerequisites (and in fact have no prerequisites at all) so that all Yale students have the opportunity to come and find out what economics is about. 
So please look around our website. I suggest you start with the video below in which students explain why they major in economics at Yale. On the site, we also have resources for those who would like to understand more about what economists do, for those who are sure they want to major in economics and need to familiarize themselves with the course requirements and for those who want to explore courses beyond the major in order to be competitive applicants for an economics PhD. Any questions or issues you wish to discuss? Please visit me in office hours

Why Choose Yale Economics?

6 Biggest Lies About Majoring in Economics
by Craig Palsson, Ph.D. 2017