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Course Selection Advice

First-year students should consult the First-year Placement Website at Canvas, which contains personal placement recommendationsMost students start with introductory micro and macro but some students will have a strong background in economics and mathematics from high school and may skip some introductory courses

Current and prospective Economics and Math-Economics majors should discuss their course selection with a college advisor. The economics advisors for each college of residence can be found in the advisor webpage.

More detailed course-specific information can be gathered by speaking directly with the course professor, in addition to consulting Yale Course Search and the economics course description and course schedule websites. All professors teaching economics courses hold office hourto answer questions about these courses. 

Following is some general advice regarding core courses and advanced courses.

Core Courses

The economics major requires courses in intermediate microeconomics, intermediate macroeconomics and econometrics. 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. The ONEXYS program can help students to prepare for the mathematical rigor of Econ 121. 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. Economics majors must take an econometrics course in the Yale economics department. This requirement can be met only by Econ 117, 123 or 136.  Students who wish to write a senior essay must take two semesters of econometrics, typically 117 and 123. Students with a stronger math background may take Econ 135 followed by Econ 136. Econ 135 requires Math 118 or 120 and Math 222 or 225. Econ 136 requires Econ 135.

Students Interested in 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 226). 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 255 and 256).

Econometrics and Statistics. It is strongly recommended that students take a two-semester econometrics sequence, either Econ 135 and 136, or Econ 117 and Econ 123. 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.