Course Selection Advice
First-year students should consult the First-year Placement Website at: Canvas
- Introductory Courses
- Intermediate and Econometric Courses
- Students Interested in the Possibility of Pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics
There are three ways to take introductory microeconomics and two ways to take introductory macroeconomics at Yale.
Microeconomics. The three introductory course, Econ 108, 110, and 115, are all similar in substance and offered in both semesters. Econ 115 is an introduction to microeconomics, available to all students and taught in a lecture format. Econ 110 covers similar material in a small-class format limited to first-year students and sophomores. Enrollment in Econ 110 is restricted by lottery. Econ 108 covers similar material but with greater emphasis on quantitative methods and examples. It is intended for students with limited or no experience with calculus. Only those who receive a person placement of Econ 108 or who have permission of the DUS may enter the lottery to attain a place in Econ 108.
Macroeconomics. The two introductory courses, Econ 111 and 116, are similar in substance and offered in both semesters. Econ 116 is taught in lecture format and is available to all students. Econ 111 is similar in spirit to Econ 110. It covers the same topics as 116 but is taught in smaller sections that are limited to first-year students and sophomore and are restricted by lottery. Both macroeconomics courses have a microeconomics prerequisite.
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 first-year students placement website at Canvas contains personal placement recommendations for all first-year students. For non-first-year students, see also the first-year students placement tab at this site.
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. 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 is typically met taking one of Econ 117, 123, 131*, 132* or 136. Students who wish to write a senior essay must take two semesters of econometrics, typically 117 and 123. One option is to take Econ 117 and 123; another option is to take 123 after a course in the Statistics 101-6 series or after Statistics 238. 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.
*Econ 131 and 132 are no longer offered. Please see the New Econometrics Courses page for more information.
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 a two-semester econometrics sequence, either Econ 135 and 136, Econ 131* and Econ 132* 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.