Before entering the department, students must complete, on a graded basis, prerequisite courses in introductory microeconomics, introductory macroeconomics, statistics and multivariable calculus. Please read the requirements below carefully. Freshmen and sophomores considering Economics as a major are also encouraged to attend our Open House in September and April, respectively.
To enter the department, a student must complete the prerequisite courses ECO 100, ECO 101, ECO 202 (or equivalent), and MAT 175 (or equivalent) by the end of sophomore year and earn a letter grade of C or better in each course.
Substitutions for the statistics prerequisite
To satisfy the statistics pre-requisite, ECO 202 can be substituted with (a) ORF 245 or (b) POL 345 in combination with POL 346. POL 345 alone will not count as a substitute for ECO 202. PSY 251, WWS 200 and SOC 301 will also not count as a substitute.
Also note that the statistics pre-requisite cannot be satisfied with a summer course taken after the student has begun studies at Princeton except in highly unusual circumstances approved by the Executive Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Smita Brunnermeier.
Substitutions for the math prerequisite
MAT 201 or EGR 156 can be used as a substitute for MAT 175 for entry into the department. It is highly recommended that students who wish to take math-track econometrics (ECO 312), upper level finance certificate courses (such as ECO 462, ECO 465 and ECO 466), or pursue graduate studies in economics and finance take MAT 201 and MAT 202 instead of one semester of MAT 175 or EGR 156. Both MAT 201 and MAT 202 should be taken for a letter grade by this subset of students.
Spring 2020 Exception: Due to COVID-19 related disruptions, prospective majors from the Classes of 2022 and 2023 were allowed to P/D/F prerequisite courses taken in Spring 2020. Prerequisite courses must be taken on a graded basis in all other semesters.
AP, IB, and British A-level exemptions
A prerequisite course exemption can be granted to students who earned a 5 or more on the relevant Advanced Placement (AP) exam, a 7 on the relevant higher-level International Baccalaureate (IB) exam, or a grade of A on the relevant British A-level exam.
Students who scored 5 on the AP Microeconomics exam can place out of ECO 100. Students who scored 5 on the AP Macroeconomics exam can be exempted from ECO 101. Students who scored 5 on the AP statistics exam can be exempted from ECO 202 but will not receive a unit of credit for the purpose of Advanced Standing. Exemption from ECO 100 and ECO 101 will also be accorded to students who pass the relevant British A-levels with a grade of A, and to those who earn a 7 on the higher-level International Baccalaureate exam.
The Department will permit freshmen exempted from ECO 100, ECO 101, and/or ECO 202 to enroll in ECO 310, 311, or 312 if approved by the instructor for the course. To be approved, students must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of multivariable calculus and vector and matrix algebra. For the latter, students should speak to Mathematics Department Placement Officer Professor Ana Menezes to certify that they regard your previous knowledge of mathematics as equivalent to completion of MAT 175, MAT 201-202, or better.
Pre-approval of summer courses
The Economics Department only pre-approves transfer credit for either an ECO 100 (Introductory Microeconomics) or a ECO 101 (Introductory Macroeconomics) equivalent summer course offered by an accredited university. We do not approve transfer credit for ECO 202 (Statistics) or for any 300 or higher level economics course.
For pre-approval of mathematics summer courses, students should ask the Mathematics Department by contacting the Mathematics Department Placement Officer, Professor Ana Menezes. If the Mathematics Department approves of a course as equivalent to MAT 175, they should email certification of the decision to the Economics Undergraduate Program Manager Christina Lipsky.
To have a summer course considered for pre-approval, students should submit the full course syllabus, including information about the textbook, a week-by-week plan of topics and chapters, the number of hours per week and the number of weeks of instruction, and grading criteria. A short paragraph like that in our Undergraduate Announcement is not enough. The syllabus must be submitted as an attachment to the approval request form. We will not accept links to an online syllabus.
If the syllabus for the coming summer session is not yet available, we can give preliminary approval based on the syllabus for last year’s summer session, to be confirmed if the actual syllabus for this summer proves to be essentially equivalent. But please note: A syllabus for an academic year semester course is not acceptable as presumptive evidence of what will be covered in a summer course. Summer versions often cover less material and at a lower level than academic year courses.
For an introductory microeconomics course, indifference curve analysis, externalities, and public goods are important topics. For macroeconomics, simultaneous equilibrium in markets for goods and money and long run growth are important topics. For both, coverage of international aspects is important. Summer courses often skip these topics or skimp on them for want of time, so check carefully in advance.
Finally, know that the statistics pre-requirement cannot be satisfied with summer courses taken after you have begun your studies at Princeton, except in very unusual circumstances approved by the Executive Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Smita Brunnermeier.
COVID Exception: The university will consider a pre-approved, online ECO 100 or ECO 101 equivalent course taken in Summer’20, Spring’21, or Summer’21 for transfer credit. In order to be eligible, the course must be offered by an accredited, four-year institution and be taught by an instructor with a PhD in the relevant field. The course must include a minimum of 30 hours of pre-recorded or live instruction and also include regular, live office hours. Assignments and exams must be varied (eg. include numerical problems, graphs, short essays, etc., not just computer graded T/F and Multiple Choice questions).