The Economics Major – FAQs

The following questions give brief answers to get you started. Many of the following questions are more fully answered in the “Requirements” section of this website.

Academic advising on economics classes to be taken during junior year and senior year will be done by  Professor Smita Brunnermeier.   Queries regarding the Political Economy Certificate should be directed to Professor Silvia Weyerbrock and questions about the Finance Certificate should be directed to Professor David Schoenherr.  Professor Ilyana Kuziemko will coordinate the senior thesis and Professor Kelly Noonan will coordinate the Junior Independent Work.

There are intellectual reasons as well as bottom-line reasons.  Intellectually, economics offers a unique combination of social concerns – study of issues such as employment and growth, inflation, globalization, health, and poverty – and scientific methods – rigorous theoretical and statistical analysis.  In bottom-line terms, although Economics at Princeton is regarded and taught as part of a liberal-arts education, not as a preparation for a specific vocation, it does provide an especially relevant background for careers in business and government and graduate study in economics, public policy, business administration, and law.  Finally, the economics major is particularly easy to combine with the finance certificate – the core courses of one can be used as departmental electives in the other.

One of the best ways to decide whether a particular major is a good fit for you is to look at the variety and depth of independent research conducted by its undergraduate students. We encourage you to browse over some of the research conducted by our seniors in recent years. The full set of senior theses submitted to the Department of Economics from 1927-present are archived at Princeton University’s Mudd Library:

Here are some suggested sequences:

Basic sequence, following the less-math track

Basic sequence, following the more-math track

Faster more-math track sequence

Students with stronger backgrounds can follow various accelerated and advanced sequences.  For example, many of you have already completed one or more core courses in your sophomore year.

You should have planned well ahead and taken the appropriate core courses of the economics major during your sophomore year. We approve core courses taken elsewhere only in very exceptional circumstances, and only if they are of comparable standards and taken at institutions of comparable quality. We will not allow you to postpone core courses to the senior year.

Update March 23, 2020: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the Office of International Programs for guidance on when it is safe to travel again. The ECO department will only review pre-approval requests for course credit transfer the semester before you travel.

Other than in study-abroad programs taken over the course of a full academic semester or year, economics courses taken at other universities may not be used to fulfill Economics Department requirements.  An economics course taken at another university may be pre-approved by the Departmental Representative to serve as an Economics prerequisite, or to remedy a course deficiency in meeting university requirements of re-admission for non-ECO students on leave of absence. Furthermore, we only pre-approve transfer credit for summer courses equivalents of ECO 100 and ECO 101 regardless of whether they are taken domestically or abroad.

Due to COVID-19 related concerns, advising for will occur remotely for the remainder of Spring 2020. Please read our undergraduate website carefully. If you have unanswered questions, you may contact the following for virtual advising.

Our Undergraduate Program Administrator, Christina Lipsky, should be able to answer most of your questions pertaining to pre-requisites and rules and can direct you to the appropriate faculty or staff for the rest.

In addition, Prof. Smita Brunnermeier can advise you on course selection, cognates, missing pre-requisites, summer course pre-approval and study abroad. Please sign up for an appointment on if you would like to meet with her.

The Internship Milestone Credit is available to ECO students who have declared their major to record a summer internship experience on their transcript and receive academic credit for it. In order to be eligible, the internship must be least six weeks in length and the work must be directly related to economics. Please review Frequently Asked Questions for details before contacting the department.

An ECO major who is interested in applying for this milestone credit should complete the Registrar’s application form and e-mail it to our Undergraduate Program Manager, Christina Lipsky, along with (1) proof of meeting pre-requisites to enter the ECO department, (2) internship offer letter, and (3) job description.